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On November 30th, newly elected and veteran commissioners from all corners of West Virginia gathered at the Bridgeport Best Western for CCAWV’s 2016 Basic Training.  Every election year, we offer this three day training as a primer, or refresher, for all county commissioners. The many responsibilities of being a commissioner can be daunting. With this training, we strive to prepare new commissioners for the many duties that await them when they are sworn in. 

This year’s training began with a welcome by Harrison County Commissioner and CCAWV Board Member Ron Watson.  CCAWV President Nancy Cartmill followed, telling new commissioners what they could expect when they are sworn into office.  CCAWV Executive Director Vivian Parsons took some time to explain the purposes and benefits of membership in our organization. After lunch, we delved a bit deeper.  Derek Knopp of the West Virginia Ethics Commission explained the Open Meetings Act.  Kelly Nix of the WVU Extension Service was up next to lighten things up with her interactive REAL Colors presentation.  It gave participants not only a deeper understanding of their own strengths, but how they can better work well with others.  Tim McCormick was up next to detail the many benefits of NACo membership, and parliamentarian and WV Delegate Roger Hanshaw closed the day with a lively and detailed explanation of parliamentary procedure.

The next day was equally immersive. The day started with an explanation of county finances by Ora Ash of the WV State Auditor’s Office. William A. “Willie” Parker was up next with an interactive exercise in the Uniform Budget Process, which took the process of creating a balanced budget from the theoretical to the practical.  After lunch, Mark Jeffries from Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC explained the intricacies of hiring, firing, and other personnel issues.  Steve Rawlings of WVCoRP followed by discussing some of the facets of risk management. Jim Copenhaver and Paul Bump of the Harrison County Emergency Services were up next to explain the role of emergency management personnel in the counties.  Dave Barton of the Shenandoah Valley Group rounded out the day by discussing insurance issues, and the unknown future of the Affordable Care Act. Friday morning, the last day of the training, began with an explanation of the Board of Equalization and featuring a representative from all of the other elected officials in the courthouse.  

Ernie Dennison of Nicholas County explained the role of the assessor. Harrison County Sheriff Al Marano was on hand to speak about the sheriff’s duties. Betsy Castle of Preston County spoke on behalf of the Circuit Clerks, and Cindy Rowan of Lewis County explained the job of the County Clerk.

It was a long couple of days filled with a dizzying amount of information.  CCAWV would like to thank everyone who attended and all of our amazing presenters. We look forward to seeing everyone at our Legislative Conference in February!

On November 30th, newly elected and veteran commissioners from all corners of West Virginia gathered at the Bridgeport Best Western for CCAWV’s 2016 Basic Training.  Every election year, we offer this three day training as a primer, or refresher, for all county commissioners. The many responsibilities of being a commissioner can be daunting. With this training, we strive to prepare new commissioners for the many duties that await them when they are sworn in. 

This year’s training began with a welcome by Harrison County Commissioner and CCAWV Board Member Ron Watson.  CCAWV President Nancy Cartmill followed, telling new commissioners what they could expect when they are sworn into office.  CCAWV Executive Director Vivian Parsons took some time to explain the purposes and benefits of membership in our organization. After lunch, we delved a bit deeper.  Derek Knopp of the West Virginia Ethics Commission explained the Open Meetings Act.  Kelly Nix of the WVU Extension Service was up next to lighten things up with her interactive REAL Colors presentation.  It gave participants not only a deeper understanding of their own strengths, but how they can better work well with others.  Tim McCormick was up next to detail the many benefits of NACo membership, and parliamentarian and WV Delegate Roger Hanshaw closed the day with a lively and detailed explanation of parliamentary procedure.

The next day was equally immersive. The day started with an explanation of county finances by Ora Ash of the WV State Auditor’s Office. William A. “Willie” Parker was up next with an interactive exercise in the Uniform Budget Process, which took the process of creating a balanced budget from the theoretical to the practical.  After lunch, Mark Jeffries from Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC explained the intricacies of hiring, firing, and other personnel issues.  Steve Rawlings of WVCoRP followed by discussing some of the facets of risk management. Jim Copenhaver and Paul Bump of the Harrison County Emergency Services were up next to explain the role of emergency management personnel in the counties.  Dave Barton of the Shenandoah Valley Group rounded out the day by discussing insurance issues, and the unknown future of the Affordable Care Act. Friday morning, the last day of the training, began with an explanation of the Board of Equalization and featuring a representative from all of the other elected officials in the courthouse.  

Ernie Dennison of Nicholas County explained the role of the assessor. Harrison County Sheriff Al Marano was on hand to speak about the sheriff’s duties. Betsy Castle of Preston County spoke on behalf of the Circuit Clerks, and Cindy Rowan of Lewis County explained the job of the County Clerk.

It was a long couple of days filled with a dizzying amount of information.  CCAWV would like to thank everyone who attended and all of our amazing presenters. We look forward to seeing everyone at our Legislative Conference in February!

The National Association of Counties (NACo) sponsored a County Research Day at their headquarters in Washington, D.C.  CCAWV decided to attend as we look to expand our research capabilities. If any group has expertise on conducting successful, wide-reaching research projects, it’s NACo’s research team.  Led by Dr. Emilia Istrate, they have compiled the exhaustively comprehensive NACo County Explorer tool (http://explorer.naco.org/). With data points on everything from PILT funding to demographic details to economic information and much, much more, the County Explorer is an incredibly valuable resource.  And we wanted to learn how they did it.

The day began with members of participating county organizations sharing ideas and challenges they faced in their states. This open exchange of ideas and insights was very helpful as we learned what our counterparts across the country were doing. After lunch with NACo’s always engaging Executive Director, Matt Chase, the research team took over. First up, we heard from Natalie Ortiz, a Senior Research Analyst, on the in-depth, months-long process the research team follows for every report and survey they produce. Next, we heard from Daniel Handy and Jonathan Harris, both Research Associates, on how NACo collects information for the County Explorer tool. Pooling both qualitative and quantitative data from multiple sources, and then organizing that information is a massive undertaking. Dr. Istrate closed out the day by explaining how to determine what types of research products work best for different types of audiences, and how to market your final product.

It was a very informative day, and we returned to West Virginia with a lot of new ideas. We look forward to rolling out some cool county research tools of our own very soon!

Election Day 2016…it’s almost here and what an election! 

A new President of the United States, a new Governor for the State, and a new Senate President as well! 

That’s some major leadership change…Trump or Hillary, Justice or Cole, and Senate President, well that will depend on whether the majority in the Senate remains Republican or switches to Democrat. 

November 8, 2016, will determine the future for our state in many ways and will help chart the course for CCAWV’s legislative strategies in the upcoming session.  Our CCAWV Legislative Committee will meet in November, following Election Day, to formulate our plans.

Local county leadership will also be decided in a big way….every constitutional office in the courthouse is on the ballot in 2016.  There are several retirements coming and the May primary resulted in more change. 

With a total of 57 county commission seats up for grabs; 12 incumbents won their primary in May and have no opposition in the general, 16 incumbents retired, 10 incumbents lost in the primary and 19 incumbent elections will be determined on November 8th.  

With at least a 46% turnover, the CCAWV Basic Training Program for newly elected County Commissioners is
EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! 

It is scheduled for November 30-December 2, 2016 at the Best

On September 18, 2017, members of the CCAWV Board and Legislative Committee gathered at Mardi Gras Casino in Cross Lanes, WV.  One of the primary goals of this meeting is to establish the 2017 Legislative Agenda for the association.  This year, the legislative committee has its work cut out, with a large number of legislative nominations from across the state to review.  Sunday’s entire meeting was devoted to reviewing and discussing these. CCAWV adopts nonpartisan issues that, we hope, will benefit some or all of the counties and hurt none. 

As Board and Legislative Committee members settled into the meeting room, Commissioner Kent Carper of Kanawha County provided a warm welcome to his county. Then the work began. The group reviewed forty-three nominated issues.  Many of these reflected problems counties face year after year – generating revenue, fighting to keep jail costs down, seeking legislative solutions to ongoing problems such as dilapidated buildings – and there was much discussion about strategies that have either worked or failed in the past.  Complicating the process of narrowing down our lengthy list to five key priorities was the fact that November’s election, regardless of the outcome, will bring a slew of new faces to the Capitol.  A new Governor, a new Senate President, and a House and Senate that could easily be either a Republican or Democrat majority spells uncertainty for everyone. 

As such, the group decided to keep our focus on nonpartisan, actionable priorities that will translate into tangible benefits for the citizens of West Virginia.

The next morning, the group began bright and early.  The Legislative Committee reported its recommendations to the Board, which voted to approve the agenda.  Jimmy Gianato, Director of the WV Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, was able to join the group and provide an update on the long-term recovery process following the summer’s historic floods.  Vivian Parsons, CCAWV Executive Director, updated the group on what had been an extremely busy summer for the CCAWV staff. After receiving reports from CCAWV’s representatives to various boards, the group took a well-deserved lunch break as the meeting adjourned. 

We’d like to thank Kanawha County for being a wonderful host county! And a big thank you to all of our Board and Legislative Committee members who take time from their busy schedules to attend our meetings. We look forward to an exciting 2017 legislative session!

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