ACCG Lifelong Learning Academy


Friday, April 17, 2015

Core Classes

COUNTY GOVERNMENT FINANCE

Commissioners are the overseers of county finances. In fulfilling this oversight responsibility, commissioners should be familiar with the audited financial statements and the annual budget. This course provides county commissioners with a rudimentary understanding of county government finance and some tools that will enable them to better fulfill their financial decision-making and policy adoption responsibilities. The ability to navigate through and understand county financial documents will be emphasized. Through class discussions, lab exercises, and presentations, participants will review the Cycle of Financial Management, Fund Accounting, the Annual Audited Financial Statements, and Budget Law, Process, Structure & Navigation. County Government Finance is one of the core courses in the Certified County Commissioner track.

Instructors: John Culpepper, Consultant, Carl Vinson Institute of Government; Jim Pehrson, Cobb County Finance Director

County Government law

You may not realize it but there is almost always a legal impact to the decisions that commissioners make. This core course is a broad overview that explores what a county is, how counties fit within the legal hierarchy of U.S. government, and the legal context of commissioner powers and duties. It looks at the legal roles and relationships between the board of commissioners and constitutional officers, and the legal foundations of the tools and agreements commissioners have for carrying out the affairs of the county. Participants will explore open meetings and records, public ethics, and where the line is between legal and illegal and how to stay on the right side of that line. There are eight other core courses that will help you with a foundational understanding of your role as county commissioner. These include: County Government 101, County Government Finance, Human Resources, Ethics, Property Appraisal and Taxation, Economic Development, Public Health and Safety, and the Leadership Institute.

Instructors: Ken Jarrard, Attorney, Jarrard & Davis LLP

Economic Development

Economic development is a central theme for all communities – large, medium, and small, and urban, suburban, and rural. In this core course county commissioners will explore county government’s role in economic development, understand the roles of private and non-profit entities, learn about strategies, tools, and best practices, identify their community’s assets, understand the economic development process and key components of an economic development plan, understand how their county fits into a larger economic region, identify regional partners, and practice using some basic tools and approaches that they can use to help their county develop its own economic development plan.

Instructors: Jennifer Nelson, Public Service Assistant, Carl Vinson Institute of Government; Rob Gordon, Director, UGA Archway Partnership

Specialty Track Classes

INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENTS AND PUBLIC PARTNERSHIPS

As a county commissioner you decide what quality services to offer citizens based on the resources available. Intergovernmental agreements and private partnerships oftentimes offer the opportunity to more wisely use those scarce county resources while providing services you could not offer alone. In this advanced specialty track course, participants will come to better understand and recognize the county commissioner’s policy-making role with regard to intergovernmental agreements and private partnerships. During this six hour session, participants will increase their knowledge regarding intergovernmental agreements and private partnerships in order to maximize cost efficiencies and effectiveness in the delivery of services and experience the “good and the bad” through actual examples. The other courses in the Revenue and Finance Specialty Track are Budgeting for Long-term Fiscal Sustainability, Debt Financing, Developing Financial Policies, Efficiencies in County Finance, Federal and State Budgeting, Tax and Revenue Policy, and The County Audit Process.

Instructors: Larry Ramsey, Attorney, Jarrard and Davis LLP; Angela Davis, Attorney, Jarrard and Davis LLP

MANAGEMENT AND HUMAN RESOURCES RESPONSIBILITIES

This course examines the roles and responsibilities of the County Commissioner necessary to be an effective steward of the single largest portion of their organization’s operating budget…human resources. Recruiting and retaining talented employees is essential to the effective delivery of government services. In light of this, this course explores the County Commissioner’s policy-making role and its contribution to making their organization an employer of choice, and not an employer of last resort.

Instructor: Dan Roach, Public Service Assistant, Carl Vinson Institute of Government

Managing Meetings

As county commissioners, much of your time is spent in meetings working to make decisions. Effective, productive meetings are important to getting the business of the county done. Participants will learn ways to make meetings run smoothly, efficiently and in a manner that minimizes unnecessary conflict and affirms the tenets of representative government and meaningful public participation in local decision-making. Upon completion of the class, participants will have a basic knowledge of parliamentary procedure, techniques to plan effectively for meetings in advance, strategies for conducting successful meetings, the roles and responsibilities of the meeting participants, and methods for dealing with conflicts and disruptive behavior in meetings.

Instructors: Langford Holbrook, Public Service Associate, Carl Vinson Institute of Government and Walt McBride, Senior Public Service Associate, Carl Vinson Institute of Government

Regional Cooperation

Few challenges that counties face lie solely within the purview of any one governing body, let alone within the purview of any single county. Key issues that affect quality and quantity of life ─economic development, jobs, transportation, public health, safety, air and water quality ─pay little attention to jurisdictions or sectors. Local government leaders must have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to work across jurisdictional and sectoral boundaries successfully. This class will address key principles, strategies, and best practices that can help make regional cooperation a reality. This advanced course is in the Intergovernmental Relations Specialty Track. The other courses in this specialty track include: City-County Relations, Conflict Resolution, Constitutional Officers, Crisis Management, Federal and State Relations, Negotiation and Mediation, and Working with School Boards, Authorities, and other Partners.

Instructor: Phil Boyle, Public Service Associate, Carl Vinson Institute of Government

Monday, April 20, 2015

Core Classes

Ethics

Public servants are required to make decisions that will affect fellow citizens in a variety of ways. As trustees of the people, elected officials should make every effort to create an atmosphere of public trust. Because public policy decisions may require thinking and acting differently from private/personal decisions, it is important that county commissioners understand and examine their legal, moral, and ethical public sector obligations. This core course will describe key principles of public sector ethics and will examine the range of consequences for public servants when ethical decision-making is in question including public perception/appearance, liability, and impropriety. There are eight other core courses and these are: County Government 101, County Government Law, Human Resources, Leadership Institute, Ethics, Public Health and Safety, County Government Finance, Property Appraisal and Taxation, and Economic Development.

Instructor: Walt McBride, Senior Public Service Associate, Carl Vinson Institute of Government

Human Resources

For any county commissioner, it can be overwhelming to think about the complexity, scope, and scale of county operations. Departments ranging from animal control to parks and recreation to wastewater treatment have many facilities, processes, procedures, and equipment that must be managed effectively and efficiently. With its wide range of operations, county employees are the single most important resource to reach the goal of successful service. Human Resources is a six-hour core course that will offer a broad overview of human resources that goes beyond describing employment and labor laws. The course will explore the importance of valuing employees and doing so through decisions, policies, and practices that advance the spirit and intent of existing law. Through facilitated discussion and interactive activities, participants will consider county government human resources through varying perspectives, gain an understanding of how public and private sector employment differ, and better appreciate the link between valuing employees and operational efficiency and effectiveness. There are eight other cores courses and these are: County Government 101, County Government Law, Leadership Institute, Ethics, Public Health and Safety, County Government Finance, Property Appraisal and Taxation, and Economic Development.

Instructor: Dan Roach, Public Service Assistant, Carl Vinson Institute of Government

Public health and Safety

In the core course Public Health and Safety, participants will examine the importance of commissioners’ engagement in public health and safety issues and their collaboration with public health and safety officials in terms of resource allocation and partnerships. Class activities will explore mandated public health services and the impact those responsibilities have on counties and their budgets. Broad-ranging public safety issues that will be considered in the course go beyond law enforcement to emergency medical services, 911, and fire services as well as the court’s role in these areas and how that system works. Class interactions, case studies, and presentations will put into perspective the significance that dealing effectively with public health and safety issues has in building strong communities in Georgia. Complementing the core course Public Health and Safety are eight associated specialty track courses including Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, Citizen Public Safety Initiatives, County Law Enforcement, Emergency Management, Family and Children’s Services, Fire, EMS, and 911, Public Safety Policies and Practices that Strengthen Communities, and The Courts and the Criminal Justice System.

Instructors: Dave Wills, Government Relations Manager, ACCG: David N. Westfall, District 2 Public Health Director; Scott Johnson, Columbia County Manager

Specialty Track Classes

CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICERS

Constitutional Officers…who are they? What do they do? How do you engage and collaborate with these officials in a manner such that both the board of commissioners and the constitutional officers can most effectively serve county citizens? This course is designed to assist you in understanding the law defining the relationship between constitutional officers and county commissioners, to include areas of the law that are clear and others that are less so. In addition, there will be a focus on budgeting for constitutional officers, personnel and human resources, procurement, and facilities management. Participants in this course will be exposed to best practices for collaboration, receive guidance on conflict management, learn tools for avoiding litigation, tips for reaching consensus, and otherwise learn ways to interact with constitutional officers positively, productively and responsibly. This advanced course is offered in the Intergovernmental Relations Specialty track. The other courses in this track are Conflict Resolution, Negotiation & Mediation, Crisis Management, City-County Relations, Regional Cooperation, Working with School Boards, Authorities, and Other Partners, and Federal and State Relations.

Instructor: Ken Jarrard, Attorney, Jarrard and Davis LLP

FEDERAL AND STATE BUDGETING

The budget is one of the most important work products produced by a county in Georgia. A local government budget includes funding received from federal and state governments. This six-hour course unlocks the mystery of the federal and state budgeting process as it relates to county finances and county financial planning. In this advanced specialty track course, participants will come to better understand and recognize the county commissioner’s policy-making role with regards to federal and state budgeting. This will be accomplished through self- assessment, classroom sharing, and presentations by experts. The other courses in the revenue and finance specialty track are budgeting for long-term fiscal sustainability, debt financing, developing financial policies, efficiencies in county finance, intergovernmental agreements/public private partnerships, tax and revenue policy, and the county audit process.

Instructor: John Culpepper, Consultant, Carl Vinson Institute of Government

IMPROVING ORGANIZATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS

The budget is one of the most important work products produced by a county in Georgia. A local government budget includes funding received from federal and state governments. This six-hour course unlocks the mystery of the federal and state budgeting process as it relates to county finances and county financial planning. In this advanced specialty track course, participants will come to better understand and recognize the county commissioner’s policy-making role with regards to federal and state budgeting. This will be accomplished through self- assessment, classroom sharing, and presentations by experts. The other courses in the revenue and finance specialty track are budgeting for long-term fiscal sustainability, debt financing, developing financial policies, efficiencies in county finance, intergovernmental agreements/public private partnerships, tax and revenue policy, and the county audit process.

Instructor: Phil Boyle, Public Service Associate, Carl Vinson Institute of Government