Catawba County, N.C. – August 23-25, 2018, hundreds of county commissioners, officials, and staff convened in Catawba County, Hickory N.C. for the 111th North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) Annual Conference. Moore County Commissioner Louis Gregory participated in the conference, which is the year’s premier event for counties. The conference provides a forum to conduct official Association business and offers educational and networking opportunities for commissioners and county staff. The theme for the conference was “Reimagine Your County’s Possibilities,” to encourage counties to spark change and work toward imaginative solutions to common issues and challenges.
Commissioner Gregory said he was “pleased to have been given the opportunity to attend this meeting,” which he found enjoyable and productive as commissioners from most of North Carolina’s 100 counties worked on matters of mutual concern, and discussed solutions to today’s challenges.
Noran Sanford, founder of GrowingChange, kicked off the event with a keynote speech about his organization in Scotland County. GrowingChange empowers at-risk youth through an innovative community based project to transform decommissioned prison facilities into sustainable farming and recreational sites. Nationally acclaimed author and journalist Sam Quinones also addressed attendees to discuss his book, Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic. He described how counties have long been at the forefront of a challenging process to rebuild communities that have been impacted by the opioid crisis.
During the Business Session of the conference, Larry Phillips, Surry County Commissioner ascended to the role of President of the NCACC, and commissioners voted to elect Kevin Austin, Yadkin County Commissioner to serve as President Elect and Ronnie Smith, Martin County Commissioner to serve as First Vice President. NCACC elected Frank Williams, Brunswick County Commissioner, to serve as the Association’s next Second Vice President, and Brenda Howerton, Durham County Commissioner became Past President.
Several counties were recognized by the Local Government Federal Credit Union and N.C. Cooperative Extension Service for establishing innovative partnerships that improve services to citizens. In addition, NCACC honored several individuals for their achievements in support of counties.
As part of the conference, NCACC teamed up with 4-H Youth Development (a service of NC Cooperative Extension) and Boys & Girls Clubs of North Carolina to sponsor YouthVoice for the ninth consecutive year. YouthVoice brings together youth delegates ages 14-19 and county officials to promote dialogue between current county leaders and the next generation of leaders. It also helps educate youth delegates on the county’s role in their community and the complex art of governing.