August 30-September 2, 2011
Northeast District Meeting
September 16, 2011
Southeast District Meeting
September 22, 2011
Central District Meeting
September 15, 2011
Jail as Part of County Government
University of Nebraska - Kearney
September 27-29, 2011
Panhandle District Meeting
September 28, 2011
West Central District Meeting
September 29, 2011
Register of Deeds Workshop
October 12, 2011
October 13, 2011
NWCA Fall Training
October 25-26, 2011
NACO Annual Conference
December 14-16, 2011
Associate & Sustaining Members
NACO Associate and Sustaining Members enable NACO to enhance its continuing education programs for county officials across the state. Visit NACO's complete associate and sustaining membership list here
Happy 30th Anniversary
The IBM Personal Computer (PC) went on sale 30 years ago today, August 11, 1981.
The base model IBM 5150 featured an Intel 8088 processor, 16k RAM, no disk drives, no hard disk and no monitor and was prices at $1,600. A higher end version with 64k RAM, a 5.25 floppy drive and a CGA monitor sold for $3,000.
Education Foundation Memorial Program
A gift to NACO's Education Foundation ensures that the children of county officials and county employees are eligible to apply for scholarships to continue their education at Nebraska's higher learning institutions. Whatever their passion - history, art, music, science, education, sports - the NACO Education Foundation will provide them an opportunity to fund their education beyond the K-12 level. Memorial gifts to NACO's Education Foundation are tax exempt and a lasting legacy in honor of your loved one's commitment to educating the children of Nebraska's county officials and employees. For more information about how to make a memorial gift, please contact Jon Edwards
/ 402-434-5660 ext. 227.
|Douglas County Commissioner Chris Rodgers Elected NACo First Vice President
PORTLAND, ORE. - The membership of the National Association of Counties (NACo) elected Douglas County Commissioner Chris Rodgers NACo First Vice President during the association's 76th Annual Conference and Exposition in Multnomah County/Portland, Ore. The position puts him in line to become NACo President in July 2012.
"I am deeply honored to help lead this great organization," Rodgers said. "Counties across the country are facing many difficult challenges and it's only through a strong national organization such as NACo that we can make our voice heard in Washington, D.C."
First elected as Douglas County Commissioner in 2004 and reelected in 2008, Rodgers has been active in NACo since 2005. He was first elected as a NACo officer in July 2010 and has served the nation's counties as vice chair of the Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee in 2006-07 and as a member of NACo's Large Urban County Caucus (LUCC) Steering Committee.
In Douglas County, Rodgers' priorities include improving the local public health system, strengthening community corrections programs, and reforming the juvenile justice system. He is immediate past chair of the Board of Commissioners and served as chair of its Child and Youth Services Committee. He is a member of the Douglas County Board of Health and the appointed county commissioner representative on the Nebraska Juvenile Justice Coalition. He previously served as an assistant to Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey and an elected member of the Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors.
In addition to his public service positions, Rodgers works as a consultant with Avenue Scholars Foundation, senior community service associate at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and director of its Transformation Project.
Rodgers will serve on NACo's 2011-12 Executive Committee with President Lenny Eliason, Athens County, Ohio; Second Vice President Linda Langston, Linn County, Iowa, and Immediate Past President Glen Whitley, Tarrant County, Texas.
More information about the 2011 Annual Conference in Portland is available at www.naco.org.
|A Word From Your National Association Representative
Lee Klein, National Association of Counties Representative
I recently returned from the National Association of Counties annual conference which was held in Portland, Oregon. The economy and budgets were the most talked about items. Probably about the same as we do at home. I attended subcommittee and committee meetings for the Transportation Steering Committee. At the Board of Directors Meetings, there were no real large issues at this time. NACo is holding dues at a frozen level again. As everyone looks at the numbers it is tougher for associations to prove their worth and we are working hard to do that. Lenny Eliason from Ohio was elected as President for this year. Next year our own Chris Rodgers will follow and in the next year Linda Langston from Iowa will follow him.
Some of you have your budgets done for this year and many are works in progress at this time. It is easy to remember our State Senators saying that they weren't going to raise taxes while cutting funds for counties. I know that you are doing a much better job than our folks in Washington D.C. are doing. (At this time everything there is at an impasse.)
Remember when we had statesmen instead of politicians? Thank all you brave county officials who understand budgeting honesty.
Editor's Note: Legal Line is a feature that will periodically appear in E-Line. This edition has been prepared by Elaine Menzel, a member of the NACO legal staff. Legal Line is not intended to serve as legal advice. Rather, it is published to alert readers to court decisions and legal or advisory matters important to county government. For a specific opinion on how the information contained in this article or that which will be discussed in future issues relates to your county, consult your county attorney or your personal counsel.
The Role of County Boards in Government
Nebraska county business is conducted by elected and appointed officials. Understanding the role and responsibilities of the different officials is beneficial to those working in and around county government. Each of the ninety-three counties has its own governmental structure and each of the functions of the county offices is instrumental to the county having a cohesive and efficient government. Intermittently, Legal Line will focus on the various county elected and appointed officials and a few of their statutory authorities and responsibilities. Additionally, where applicable, it will be noted that certain offices are ex officio, combined, etc.
Counties in Nebraska are governmental subdivisions authorized by the Constitution of the State of Nebraska. Art. IX, Section 4 of the Nebraska Constitution provides in part: "The Legislature shall provide by law for the election of such county and township officers as may be necessary[.]" The county exists entirely for the performance of state functions as those functions are established by laws enacted by the Legislature. Thus the Legislature has enacted a variety of statutes which create county officers and enumerate their duties.
The powers of the county are exercised by a county board. Section 23-103. County boards are comprised of either commissioners (Sections 23-150 and 32-528) or supervisors (Sections 23-268 and 32-529) under the township organization of government. There are currently 67 counties organized as a commissioner form of government and the remaining 26 counties have a township form of government.
County board members must be registered voters and residents of their respective districts. Section 23-150. Board members are elected to staggered four year terms on a partisan ballot. Section 32-528. Commissioners' boards are comprised of three, five or seven members. Sections 23-148, 23-149 and 23-151. Counties having more than 300,000 inhabitants (Douglas County) are statutorily required to have a seven member board of commissioners. Section 23-151. In counties with less than 300,000 inhabitants, registered voters may elect to maintain seven county board members if they choose to discontinue township organization. Sections 23-148, 23-292 to 23-299. Alternatively, registered voters may choose to have three or five member boards in counties not under township organization. Section 23-149.
County boards have authority and are responsible for a multitude of items, including but not limited to the following:
·Take and have the care and custody of all the real and personal property owned by the county. Section 23-105.
·File and require each county officer to file annual inventory statements. Section 23-105.
·Manage county funds and businesses. Section 23-106.
·Make all orders respecting property of the county, to keep the county buildings insured, and to sell property and purchase property. Section 23-107.
·Lay out, alter, or discontinue any road running through the county. Section 23-108.
·Examine and settle all accounts against the county and accounts concerning receipts and expenditures of the county. Section 23-109.
·Vacate any city or village plat not a part of an incorporated city or village within the county on the petition of two-thirds of the owners. Section 23-110.
·Settle by compromise, or by accepting less than the face amount of any claim, judgment, or demand in favor of the county. Section 23-112.
·Annually levy and collect taxes authorized by law for county purposes. Section 23-119.
·Acquire, purchase, construct, renovate, remodel, furnish, equip, add to, improve, or provide a suitable courthouse, jail, and other county buildings. Section 23-120.
·Expend money for care and maintenance of abandoned cemeteries. Section 12-805.
·Create a planning commission. Section 23-114.
Make, adopt, amend, extend, and implement a county comprehensive development plan and adopt a zoning resolution, which shall have the force and effect of law. Section 23-114.
·Revise, alter, increase, or decrease general county budget documents. Section 23-908.
·Carry out all other duties imposed by law. Section 23-113.03.
The county board may also organize itself into other boards with special responsibilities. For example, the county board may also serve as the County Board of Equalization. Wolf v. Grubbs, 17 Neb. App. 292, 759 N.W. 2d 499 (2010).
The services provided by county government are key to individual's lives; therefore, the actions of county government through county board members, as well as other county officials, merit further awareness by individuals in their everyday lives.
Legislation to Take Effect August 27
Legislation that does not have an emergency clause or specific effective date will take effect three calendar months after the after the adjournment of the session at which it passed. See Nebraska Const. Article III, section 27. In 2011, the effective date for a majority of the legislation is 12:01 a.m., August 27, 2011. For additional information on legislation passed during the 2011 legislative session, see the 2011 Nebraska Association of County Officials' Legislative Report or the Nebraska Legislature's website.
REMINDER - Governing bodies, such as county boards, must post a current copy of the Open Meetings Act (the Act) in their meeting rooms. Certain legislative changes to the Act took effect 5/27/2011. Additionally, other changes to the Act take effect 8/27/2011. See the discussion in the July 29 NACO E-line or earlier correspondence to each of the county clerks for more information about the changes to the Act.
|Jail as Part of County Government Training
Public safety doesn't happen in a vacuum. It requires collaboration and thoughtful, well-informed discussion about key issues: who or what a public safety program is for, how funds in the program will be used, and how local governments and elected officials can support public safety efforts. To discuss those issues when they involve the local jail requires dialogue among stakeholders, including the county commissioner/supervisor, sheriff, and jail administrator. The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) tackles such discussions during its Jail as Part of County Government training, which is now being offered in Nebraska.
NIC's free training is an opportunity for teams of three (consisting of the county commissioner/supervisor, sheriff, and jail administrator) to learn about key issues facing jails today. Topics such as staffing, jail administration, and unique funding needs will be covered. All of these lead to ensuring that jail operations are conducted in a safe, secure, humane, and legal manner.
The training will last three days and will be held at the University of Nebraska in Kearney this September 27-29, 2011. Takeaways from the training include:
·Educating participants about the role of the jail, its operations, and its resource needs
·Exploring the county's civil liability in operating a jail
·Helping county commissioners/supervisors, state sheriffs, and jail administrators better understand each other's responsibilities and challenges
·Building collaboration among jurisdictional team members in addressing jail issues.
For additional information, view the program description and agenda, or visit NIC online at www.nicic.gov.
Annual Conference numbers for the Friday General Session and luncheon have steadily decreased for several years now. Subsequently, NACO has decided to change the format for Friday somewhat. As stated in the July 15 issue of E-Line, instead of a formal luncheon, a silent auction and box luncheon will be held. We have decided to forego the General Session speaker on Friday morning so that attendees can get an earlier start for home, if they choose.
Soon NACO will be requesting that each county provide an item or items for the silent auction. NACO recommends that each county solicit donations from vendors in their respective county. It is hoped that all 93 Nebraska Counties will be represented.
Exhibitors & Vendors
County officials who know of vendors that may be interested in participating as an exhibitor in NACO's Annual Conference are asked to suggest they contact the NACO office for details about the conference.
Each year the popularity of NACO's exhibition area continues to increase. If you know of possible exhibitors, please suggest to them that they contact the NACO office for further information.
Officials attending the NACO Annual Conference are reminded that continuous shuttle bus service to and from the conference site and contracted hotels will be provided all three days of the conference. The finalized schedule for shuttle service will be published in the conference program.
Readers are encouraged to refer to the July 15 issue
of E-Line for information regarding hotel accommodations for the conference. Contracted hotels, reservation phone numbers and reservation policies are listed in this issue of E-Line. NACO will send an e-mail to all county clerks prior to the date for making reservations. Please do not contact any of the contracted hotels prior to this date, as reservations will not be accepted.
The site for the annual conference will be the Younes Event Center. This is a new structure built on the premises of several hotels. The structure is made up entirely of meeting space. As a result, there is no "host hotel" for the conference. The event center will allow NACO to house many more exhibitors and the meeting space will be adequate.
|County Official of the Year
Fillmore County Assessor Joan Ackland, 2010 County Official of the Year
Do you know of an elected or appointed county official who you feel serves as the embodiment of a true dedicated public official? If so, nominate that individual for the annual County Official of the Year Award.
The Nebraska Association of County Officials will present its highest honor to one county official at the conclusion of the December 16th NACO Business Meeting.
The County Official of the Year Award was created as a means of honoring one individual each year for his or her leadership abilities, high standard of public service and outstanding contributions made to the medium of county government and that person's community.
The official nomination form can be found here or on NACO's website. To nominate someone you know, print the form, complete it and return it to the NACO office by November 11. Also, include any supplemental materials you feel would provide additional insight into why this person is deserving of the award. Supporting material may include testimonial letters from peers or other printed matter that highlight his or her record of service.
Each of the 2011 nominees will be introduced and recognized during the course of the conference. At the conclusion of the NACO Business Meeting, the announcement will be made as to who has been chosen by a special selection committee.
The 2011 recipient will join an elite list of county officials who have previously received this award and will receive a handsomely engraved plaque befitting of this prestigious honor.
|Walk For Your Life Challenge 2011
|Six hundred and thirty six participants from 32 counties and NACO have logged nearly 49,000 miles through the end of July in this year's Walk For Your Life Challenge, which ends on September 30. A complete summary has been sent to the contact person for each participating county. |
|News from NACo
Online game will let students 'run their own county'
This fall, students in schools across the country will be able to learn about county government through an online game and curriculum that NACo created in partnership with iCivics, Inc.
The game, "Counties Work," will educate students, grades 6 through 12, about the important role and functions of county government by letting them run their own county. A curriculum and webquest has also been developed to assist teachers with preparing lessons on county government.
While playing the game, a student will be a county official responsible for providing services, dealing with citizen requests, setting and raising revenues, and working within a budget. Along the way, students will learn about the various services provided by county departments while having to make tough decisions.
Created under the leadership of NACo President Glen Whitley and his initiative "County Government Works," the online game is just one of the many projects that will serve as a long-lasting benefit to assist counties in raising public awareness of county government.
"This is a great opportunity for students to better understand the programs and services that counties provide," Whitley said. "We need to get students to play the game. I encourage county officials to contact teachers, principals and school superintendents in your county to let them know the game is available at www.naco.org/CountiesWork."
iCivics is a web-based education project designed to teach students civics and inspire them to be active participants in our democracy. iCivics was the vision of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who was concerned that students are not getting the information and tools they need for civic participation and that civics teachers need better materials and support.
The county game is the only game on the iCivics website focused on local government. Other games cover the U.S. Constitution, the courts and the federal government - the President, Congress and the Supreme Court. iCivics has representatives in every state to promote the games and curricula to teachers and educators.
NACo created "Counties Work" through the financial support from CVS/Caremark, NACo's partner on the Prescription Discount Card Program. NACo paid for half of the cost of the project.
Written by Tom Goodman, Public Affairs Director, NACo, firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Counties Work" Flyer
iCivics State Coordinator Contacts
|NACo Web-based Education
Using Hazard Mitigation Funding Opportunities to Strengthen Your Community
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
1:00 PM - 2:15 PM CDT
The Hazard Mitigation Assistance programs provide funding for your eligible mitigation activities that reduce disaster losses and protect life and property from future disaster damages. Join this webinar to learn how your county can use it Hazard Mitigation Plan to apply for funds to strengthen the community against further disasters. This is a NACo Members Only webinar. You must log in to the Member Center to register.
Leveraging Public-Private Partnerships to Promote County Health
Thursday, September 22, 2011
1:00 PM - 2:15 PM CDT
In today's challenging economic climate, public-private community partnerships can be particularly effective in helping enhance county health and wellness initiatives. Participate in this webinar to learn about examples of cooperative opportunities with the private sector that can increase the capacity of your local health promotion efforts and how your county can capitalize on these types of collaborations. Register here.
For more information on these and other upcoming or previous webinars, visit the NACo Web-based Education page.