Members of the 5-5-5 Committee at NCACC’s Annual Conference in 2021

Wake County, N.C. – The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners’ (NCACC) committee of county leaders on national opioid settlement funds joins 48 other North Carolina county programs that won a 2022 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award. The NACo Achievement Awards is a non-competitive awards program that recognizes innovative county government programs.

The NCACC won a health category award for its 5-5-5 Committee, a specially appointed opioid settlement working group created to develop a statewide plan to effectively use funds coming to North Carolina from national opioid settlements. The 5-5-5 Committee consists of five county commissioners, five county managers, and five county attorneys from across the state including: 

  • Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Buncombe County Commissioner
  • Johnnie Carswell, Burke County Commissioner
  • Sally Greene, Orange County Commissioner
  • Reece Pyrtle, Rockingham County Commissioner (former)
  • Ronnie Smith, Martin County Commissioner 
  • Chris Coudriet, New Hanover County Manager
  • Dena Diorio, Mecklenburg County Manager
  • Becky Garland, Graham County Manager (former)
  • Zee Lamb, Nash County Manager (retired)
  • Bobby Outten, Dare County Manager
  • Ron Aycock, Special Counsel, Person County
  • Debra Bechtel, Special Counsel, Catawba County Attorney 
  • Misty Leland, Moore County Attorney
  • Mark Payne, Guilford County Attorney (retired)
  • Gordon Watkins, Forsyth County Attorney

NCACC Executive Director Kevin Leonard commented on the honor, “We are so appreciative of the incredible dedication shown by the county commissioners, managers, and attorneys on the 5-5-5 Committee. Along with the North Carolina Attorney General’s office, they worked diligently to design an agreement that ensures national opioid litigation settlement proceeds are distributed in a way that maximizes funds flowing to North Carolina communities on the front lines of the opioid epidemic. This is an exciting and transformational time in North Carolina, and the NCACC is grateful to be able to support all 100 counties.” 

The NCACC was joined by other North Carolina award winners, such as Catawba County’s Hmong Keeb Kwm: The Hmong Heritage Project, which won “Best In Category” in Arts, Culture and Historic Preservation. The Catawba County Library worked with the Hmong community, the Historical Association and Digital Heritage NC to collect, curate, and preserve a digital collection of the twentieth-century history of Hmong migration and community-building within the region.

Union County’s 2050 Comprehensive Plan also won “Best In Category” in Planning. Union County has experienced explosive growth in recent years and, at times, was the fastest-growing county in North Carolina and among the country’s fastest. To prepare for future growth, the Union County Board of Commissioners developed a 30-year plan with the help of diverse residents, business leaders, non-profit organizations, and other stakeholders to plot the county’s course.

For more information about North Carolina’s 2022 NACo Achievement Award winners, please visit Achievement Awards Program Search (