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Slow Kitchens, Asheville, and a Two-Day Meeting

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By sakhan, on June 28, 2012

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend NCACC’s Board of Directors meeting in Asheville. The board consists of about 43 members, including the Executive Committee, NACO Directors, at-large directors, district directors, and committee representatives.  During the meeting, the board hears presentations from staff, as well as updates from committee representatives. The FY 2012-2013 budget was also presented and voted on by the board. I had the opportunity to present the County Management Fellowship program to the board and to get some of their input regarding the program. Luckily, the board approved the fellowship in the budget so it seems my work has not gone to waste.

A few reflections on the weekend:

  1. The dynamic between staff and the board is very interesting. Staff must be certain to do their job and provide the necessary resources to the Board, but cannot overstep their boundaries in anyway. In an organization like NCACC, where many of the members have strong political leanings, this can often be much easier said than done.  The staff is very careful to walk that line between advising and coercing the Board to adopt their perspectives. Often times, the staff notices a trend or feel amongst the Board, but must be sure to not let this cloud their judgment in their duties as employees.  My guess is that this is no easy task.
  2. Budgeting seems to be a lot simpler when you can budget for a surplus. This probably isn’t a huge surprise, but really, things flow so much smoother when you can say, “Ok, we’re budgeting for revenues to exceed expenditures by $1 million,” I won’t go into why or why not this would or would not work in government, but for the sake of NCACC, it makes providing some of these programs much more manageable when you can budget for a surplus.
  3. The NCACC Annual Conference is going to be fantastic. This isn’t a shameless plug, I promise. Seriously. The conference was presented to the Board (to be held August 16th-19th in Wake County), and I find myself wanting to attend (note- this is significant because I’m not actually required to attend). I realize that this may just be a reflection of my dorkiness, but I’d like to think that the conference planning committee has also done a fantastic job of finding topics that are of interest not only to county officials, but also to the youth (me!).  Hopefully I’ll get a chance to attend at least part of the conference.
  4. Asheville is beautiful. I know, this doesn’t have much to do with work, but it really is a beautiful city. I had the chance to go Downtown for lunch (at a restaurant that took a measly 2 hours to serve us lunch…leading our group to term the new phrase “slow kitchen”), and I really enjoyed the area. It’s a little sad that having lived in North Carolina my entire life, I seldom take the time to go and visit some of these places.  Good thing for NCACC! I’ll be back there again this weekend.

As I mentioned, I will be back in Asheville this Friday to catch part of the NC City/County Manager’s Conference. I plan to meet with some county managers and assistant managers in a focus group regarding the fellowship. I’m also hoping to attend some of the sessions and get the opportunity to meet some of the managers from around the state…and maybe to head back to that slow kitchen once more before I leave Asheville.

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