108th Annual NCACC Conference Recap



Photo courtesy of NCACC

The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) hosted its annual conference in Greenville, NC, August 20-23, 2015.

The annual conference culminated in the swearing in of President Glenn Webb, along with the seating of 2015-2016 President Elect, First Vice President, Second Vice President, and Past President.

Glenn Webb, Chairman of the Pitt County Board of Commissioners, currently serving his second term as Commissioner, was sworn in as President of the NCACC for the 2015-2016 term. “I’m proud to be a county commissioner because we have built the most responsive and stable governments in this state. We play by the rules even though many times they are stacked against us,” says Webb.

“That success is because we work hard and we work together. We have to do our job with compromise, ingenuity and backbones made of iron. We do not have the luxury of distance from our constituents, and moreover we don’t seek it.”[1] To learn more about President Webb, click here for our exclusive interview after being chosen as the NCACC President-Elect in 2014.

The 2015-2016 Executive Board was essentially a shuffling of the 2014-2015 Executive Board. Former First Vice President Fred McClure of Davidson County was seated as President-Elect, former Second Vice President Brenda Howerton of Durham County was seated as First Vice President, and outgoing President Ronnie Beale of Macon County was officially seated as Past President. Surry County Vice Chairman Larry Phillips was elected as Second Vice President, defeating Marty Cooke of Brunswick County and Charles Messer of Henderson County.

As the only new member of the Executive Board, Larry Phillips brings in experience on the NCACC Economic Development and Government Efficiency Taskforces, and lifelong ties to the mountains of western North Carolina. He was recognized by Time Magazine for his work and leadership to improve adult literacy and continuing education within Surry County.[2]

Featured Presentations

Keynote Speaker David Mead opened the conference on Friday with his presentation on Start With Why. Mead works with leaders to help create an environment where employees show up to work because they want to, not because they have to, as they are inspired to contribute to something bigger than themselves. He helps individuals look at their careers and organizations from the viewpoint of “Why,” the higher cause or purpose of their involvement, then to think, act, and communicate in a way that brings their “Why” to life.[3]

To coincide with the release of a report of NCACC’s Mental Health Engagement Task Force, Jim Blackburn was asked to address the conference on Saturday, August 22nd. Blackburn rose to fame as the prosecuting attorney for the murder trial of Dr. Jeffrey R. MacDonald in the early 1970s. Through this fame and fortune, Blackburn inwardly suffered from depression, his drive to win at any cost ending his legal career and leading him to several ethical misdeeds that landed him in state prison for 3 years. Blackburn shared his story by bringing to light the very real and complicated issues of mental illness and depression. “Where there is adversity, there are also opportunities and the chance to begin all over again. For me, it took, and takes, hope, faith, humor, friendship and a willingness not to ever give up.[4]”


Additional information and links to the workshops listed below can be found on the 2015 Annual Conference Presentations page of the NCACC Website.

  • LELA Pre-Conference Seminar: Real Colors with Dan Clark
  • Preparing North Carolina to Respond to the Avian Flu Crisis
  • Civic Health: Connections at the Heart of an Innovative Community
  • Mental Health Crisis Intervention and Prevention: State Efforts and Local Models
  • Lessons from Losses: What Commissioners Should Know
  • Urbanization & Migration in North Carolina: Practical Applications for Demographic Data
  • Mental Health Service Gaps: Where Are They and How Do We Close Them?
  • NC History Lesson, Part I: The Effect of Indian Wars and Indian Removals of 1585-1835
  • Rooted in Leadership: Connecting Agriculture to Economic Development
  • NC History Lesson, Part II: North Carolina’s ‘People of Color,’ 1835-1954
  • Models for Local Infrastructure Financing
  • Innovations and Best Practices in Regional Collaboration
  • ‘Aye’ for Answers! The 311 on Election Law Changes and Preparing for 2016
  • ‘Stepping Up’ to Reduce the Number of Mental Ill in Jails
  • The A-F of School Accountability Grades[5]

[1] “Pitt County Commission to lead Association,” NCACC News Releases, http://ncacc.org/index.aspx?nid=453
[2] https://www.facebook.com/CommissionerPhillips/info?tab=page_info
[3] Conference Program
[4] http://blackburnseminars.com/keynote-speaker
[5] Conference Program

107th Annual NCACC Conference Recap


Last month, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) hosted their 107th annual conference in Buncombe County.

As is custom, the newly elected NCACC officers were announced, and both outgoing members of the Board of Directors & award-winners were recognized for their achievements, during the President’s Reception & Banquet held on Saturday, August 16th.

In case you missed it, listed below are the new Board members, information on key sessions, and a recap of all conference workshops that were offered this year.

Meet your 2014-2015 NCACC Leaders:

President: Ronnie Beale was sworn in as the 98th NCACC President after serving the last 8 years as commissioner for Macon County. Beale’s platform for the upcoming year will hold various initiatives. One goal, at the top of the priority list, will be centered on mental health care reform in NC. Beale plans to create a state-wide task force that will research and report on a long-term plan to help those in need of mental health services.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” said Beale of his mission to create change. “Our goal is to come up with solutions that allow patients to get treatment quicker and extend services when needed.” See NCACC President sets Legislative Agenda for 2014-2015 to learn more about Beale’s objectives for the upcoming year.

President Elect: NCACC elected Glenn Webb of Pitt County as their President Elect. Webb, currently serving his first term as Commissioner, has continued to rise through the ranks of the Association’s Executive Board over the last four years. Take a look at this article to learn what Webb had to say about his new position and the NCACC’s target focus for this fiscal year, as well as his views on their greatest accomplishments over the last few years.

First Vice President: Fred McClure, Davidson County commissioner, is a Veteran of the United States Air Force, U.S. Navy, and National Guard. He was elected as NCACC’s 1st Vice President after serving his now fifth term as commissioner for Davidson County.

Second Vice President: Brenda Howerton, Vice-Chairman of the Durham County Board of Commissioners since 2012, has served as a Durham County commissioner the last 6 years. Howerton was elected as NCACC 2nd Vice President after serving as Vice-Chair for the NCACC Intergovernmental Relations committee. She is the first Durham County commissioner to be elected for statewide senior leadership.

At-Large-Directors: The following commissioners were appointed by President Beale to each serve 1 year terms as at- large-directors, to help achieve balance on the Board: Kenneth Edge of Cumberland County, Tony Cozart of Granville County, Gloria Whisenhunt of Forsyth County, and Edwin Booth of Beaufort County.

Featured Presentations:

The conference also included a number of different speakers, presentations, and workshops to participate in and learn from.

No Barriers – Only Solutions: This year’s keynote speaker was Neal Peterson, award winning author of No Barriers, Only Solutions and adventurer whose documentary was featured on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). During the Conference’s opening session, Peterson shared how he realizes success through innovation, balancing risks against return, and being adaptable. Watch Peterson’s speech here.

Fighting Teen Driving Fatalities: Saturday morning’s Conference-Wide Youth Involvement Breakfast featured a presentation by Johnston County (JoCo) Teen Drivers and their methods for managing teen driving safely. In 2007, Johnston County was ranked at #1 in the state for teen fatalities with 11 teens losing their lives that year. That year, the JoCo Teen Drivers program was created to target risk factors such as driving at night, speeding, distracted driving, seatbelt usage, and alcohol.  As a solution to these issues, the program worked to involve teens, improve county roadways, provide better training, and initiate campaigns to promote their cause. In 2013, the program was rated as a success after tracking the decline of the county’s teen fatality to 6th in the state for teen fatalities.

Building and Repairing Trust through Communication: Dr. Vincent Covello, founder and Director of the Center for Risk Communication, explained the art and science behind communicating effectively. As an expert in crisis, conflict, change, and risk communications, Covello spoke to attendees on methods of building and amending trust through communication.

10 Fundamental Workshops:

Additional information and links to the workshops listed below can be found on the 2014 Annual Conference Presentations page of the NCACC Website.

  1. Lela Pre-Conference Seminar: Collaborating for Successful Economic Development
  2. 2-in 1: A How- To Guide to Governing in a Consolidated Human Services Model
  3.  Innovations in County Government:6 Communities Receive the RWJF Culture of Health Prize
  4. Recap What You Sow: Agriculture’s Reversal of Fortune in Western NC
  5.  Don’t Miss the (Freight) Train!Taking Advantage of Rail
  6. The ABCs of Contracting with P3s
  7. Strategically Thinking about Economic Development Plans and Policies
  8. Network of Care: Using the Internet to Connect People with Health and Social Services
  9. Governmental Immunity and County Officials: What If I am Sued?
  10. Running the Numbers: Demystifying Regional Economic and Social Data Analysis


NCACC Website. “2014 Annual Conference Presentations”. http://www.ncacc.org/index.aspx?nid=444