Georgia County Government - May/June 2012 - (Page 19)
By Beth Brown
Annual Conference Provides Timely Updates and Informative Sessions 2012 Annual Meeting Highlights
General Sessions Focus on Education and Criminal Justice Reform
On Monday morning, county commissioners participated in two general sessions: “Focusing on the Educational Assets in Your Community” and “Making Criminal Justice Reform Work.” Georgia School Superintendent Dr. John Barge opened the education session by providing an overview of many of the changes that schools are currently implementing, including the career pathways initiative, Georgia’s “No Child Left Behind” waiver, and the Race to the Top program successes. “When it comes to economic development, the quality of education in the local area trumps everything,” said Dr. Barge. “We need county officials to help change the conversation.” By providing insight into some the frequently touted statistics, Dr. Barge explained the progress that Georgia is making. While there is still room for improvement, he said the public education system in Georgia is “better than what people think.” Georgia School Boards Association Executive Director Sis Henry also got the group’s attention by listing all of the changes that school systems have implemented by decade. She stressed that like counties, school boards are dealing with the impact of declining tax digests, infrastructure challenges, increasing benefits costs and other issues. She also outlined changes such as increasing class sizes and shortening the school year that are underway in some districts. Lastly, she encouraged county commissioners to work together with school board members to create innovative partnerships to help improve the schools and the community. Dr. Lamar Veatch closed the session by explaining the changing face of the local library system as a technology and educational resource for both youth and adults. The criminal justice general session provided an overview of House Bill 1176, 2012 ANNUAL CONFERENCE continued on page 27
MAY/JUNE 2012 www.accg.org
CCG President and Oconee County Chairman Melvin Davis introduced keynote speaker Coach Herman Boone before a ballroom full of county officials to open the 2012 Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) annual conference. Over the course of the weekend, more than 1,250 county officials and exhibitors, representing 139 counties, participated in training programs, general sessions and much more at the Savannah Civic Center in Chatham County.
Throughout the presentation, Boone stressed that dreams have no expiration date. He told stories of his father and the way his influence shaped his character. Boone also challenged county officials to create an atmosphere with a positive approach to team. “Celebrate the differences for the benefit of making a team, even when it’s not popular,” he said. “Build a team from individuals and create a team committed to teamwork.”
County Buyers Mart Draws Hundreds
County officials explored the annual County Buyers Mart on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. More than 160 booths were featured on the arena floor, on the porch and in the parking area of the Savannah Civic Center. County commissioners and staff were able to speak to vendors that do business with counties and explore opportunities for future business. Georgia United Credit Union and Coast2Coast Rx Discount Card made their debut on “preferred partners row” and joined other ACCG Preferred Partners, including Gas South, Verizon, Dell, Enterprise and others.
Coach Boone Entertains and Educates with Stories of Leadership
Coach Boone, whose life was profiled in the movie “Remember the Titans,” told stories of how he worked to bring a high school football team together during integration in the early 1970s. He stressed the importance of strong leadership, setting goals and working together as a team. “People think the Titans were about football,” Boone said. “What we really were about was setting goals and having the courage to show the world that we could overcome diversity.”
Expanded Legislative Briefings Offer Insight into Actions of 2012 General Assembly
The ACCG policy staff provided two detailed briefing sessions on legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2012 that will impact counties. The first session offered a general overview and covered many bills that passed this year including changes to SPLOST reporting, 911 fee collections, elections law and other issues. The second legislative briefing session included a comprehensive overview of the open meetings and open records legislation and the tax reform legislation. ACCG will provide more implementation details on these legislative issues as part of the June regional membership services meetings. For more information on the dates and locations of these meetings, please go to: www.accg.org.
Herman Boone, whose life was profiled in the movie “Remember the Titans,” spoke of the value of good leadership and the importance of setting aside differences during the opening general session.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - May/June 2012
An Inside Look at Criminal Justice Reform
Taylor County: Strongly Rooted in an Agricultural Economy with Expectations for Growth
ACCG Annual Meeting Highlights
How Counties Can Stay on Top with an Uncertainty in Federal Funding
A More Level Playing Field for the 2012 LOST Renegotiations
Counties & the Law: Road Acquisition and Abandonment
Preferred Partner News: Georgia United Credit Union Now Welcomes County Employees
Preferred Partner News: How M2M Technology is Poising Local Government for Growth
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers
Georgia County Government - May/June 2012