2016 Summer Conference Recap

I want to extend a HUGE thank you on behalf of the NCLGBA Board to those who attended last week’s 2016 NCLGBA Summer Conference at the Shell Island Resort in Wrightsville Beach, NC. We had over 150 attendees join us for 3 days of professional development, networking, and catching up with friends and colleagues from around the state. I hope everyone enjoyed their time at conference as much as I did.

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Before I provide a brief recap, I want to once again thank our sponsors for their contributions to making conference a success. Thank you Cigna, Tyler Technologies, Local Government Federal Credit Union, MGT of America, and Davenport & Company. Your support is much appreciated!

Mayor Bill Blair of Wrightsville Beach welcomed the attendees on Wednesday afternoon and we were off and running. Things kicked off with a session on shared vision from Dr. Willow Jacobson from the UNC School of Government. Having had the privilege of seeing her speak before, I was ecstatic that we were able to have her open up the conference. In pure Willow Jacobson fashion, we were writing issues we are currently facing on paper plates and trying to rank values from a top 10 to a top 5 down to a top 3. Cutting down those rankings was a challenge in itself.

Following a delightful snack including ice cream sandwiches, we continued the discussion on shared vision before splitting between cities and counties for the respective legislative updates. I can’t speak for the county update, but Chris Nida from the North Carolina League of Municipalities did a great job explaining the legislation that passed and issues that came up during the General Assembly session that could impact municipalities. Chris also provided information on legislation that didn’t pass. I always appreciate this as it’s always a possibility to return in future legislative sessions.

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The day concluded with a light reception and attendees got to put those drink tickets to use. After running short on food last year, as your conference co-chair, I was sure to not let that happen again. It was great to catch up with folks and meet some of the first-time attendees.

Thursday started with a continental breakfast and absolutely delicious omelet station to fuel up for the day. Cleveland County Manager Jeff Richardson started the day with a dynamic, interesting, energetic session on growing your leadership capacity as a local government professional. We don’t have to have manager in our titles to be leaders in our organizations and communities. Looking at the evaluations, it seems many want Mr. Richardson to come to every conference! We also heard about hiring and retaining employees in the public sector, as well as a little about the Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) organization from Kirsten Wyatt, Kent Wyatt, and Ben Kittelson. Work culture is changing and government has changes it can make to attract those to its profession.

Following the general sessions came the concurrent session portion of the agenda. I heard from several attendees how it was difficult to choose which session to attend which speaks to the strength, in my opinion, of the program and the great work done by the Planning Committee. Dr. Bill Rivenbark’s session on landing the best and brightest was timed perfectly as we have a vacancy coming up in Winston-Salem. Great to hear what others are doing and if there are things we can do to make our organization more attractive to future budget professionals and of course, future budget conference attendees.

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We wrapped things up on Friday with a full breakfast and then learned about the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina from their CEO, Chris Chung. Chris provided some background on the work of the organization and then answered questions. While not a direct budget area, economic development definitely plays an important role in our communities and who doesn’t love that property tax growth it brings! We concluded the program with the economic update from Dr. Michael Walden. Dr. Walden provided a solid update on the national and more importantly to us, the local North Carolina economy. Hearing the “economic thrillers” he’s written with his wife like Fiscal Fiasco and Macro Mayhem got me wondering what type of “budget thrillers” budget professionals could write and title. So far all I’ve got are Interim Budget Insanity, Performance Management Pandemonium, and Capital Improvement Plan Catastrophe. They’re a work in progress though.

It was a great time at conference and again, thank you to our sponsors, attendees, and speakers. Speaker presentations can be found here: http://nclgba.org/wordpress/resource-archive/2016-summer-conference-materials/

Our next conference will be held on December 7th through December 9th at the Omni Hotel in Charlotte, NC. Be on the lookout for announcements about the Planning Committee meeting on the NCLGBA listserv, as well as conference registration information later this fall.

Stephen Hawryluk
NCLGBA 2nd Vice President