July 2017

NACE Remains Active on NACo Transportation Committee

By George Webb, PE
      NACE Representative to NACo Board of Directors

The National Association of Counties (NACo) Annual Conference and Exposition was held in Columbus, Ohio, on July 21-24. On the last day, President Bryan Desloge gave way to the new President, Commissioner Roy Charles Brooks (yes he uses all three names) of Tarrant County, Texas. Supervisor Greg Cox of San Diego County, Calif., was installed as First Vice President, while Commissioner Mary Ann Borgeson of Douglas County, Neb., ran unopposed for the Second Vice President position.

President Brooks announced his new appointments for the steering committees. Transportation has a new Chair as Judge Gary Moore of Boone County, Ky., was appointed. Judge Moore had previously served on the Transportation Committee and most recently chaired the Environment, Energy & Land Use Steering Committee.

NACE’s good friend and supporter, Commissioner Peter McLaughlin of Hennepin County, Minn., was recognized for his service and thanked by all the Transportation Committee members as he chaired his last meeting prior to the start of the Conference.

Our two NACE members were reappointed to their respective leadership positions on the Transportation Steering Committee. Richie Beyer, Elmore County, Ala., and Dan Fedderly, Wis. County Highway Association, will continue as Vice-Chairs for the next year. In addition, Richie is now the NACE representative on the NACo Board of Directors, starting his two-year term at the July 2017 meeting.

After his appointment, Judge Moore was approached by two NACE Past Presidents to briefly discuss NACE’s role on the Transportation Steering Committee. He certainly knows who and what NACE is and mentioned that he was very supportive of the NACE 2017 annual meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio. His Boone County is immediately adjacent to Cincinnati and is home to the airport that serves the area. He also offered that he sent his County Engineer to the NACE meeting. He recognizes that NACE plays an important role in the committee and looks forward to working with all of us over the next year.

The Transportation Steering Committee is staffed by Kevan Stone. Kevan previously served as Policy Advisor for U.S. Congressman and former House Transportation Committee Chair John L. Mica. He knows the lobbying process and key players on the Congressional committees and has been a valuable addition to the NACo team.

Several NACE-drafted and supported resolutions were accepted by the Transportation Steering Committee and ultimately were adopted by the NACo membership.

Richie Beyer led the discussion on a Resolution in Support of Eliminating Regulatory Impediments for Effective Delivery of Federal Aid Projects. Scott McGolpin, Santa Barbara County, Calif., and the NACE Western Region Vice President led the discussion on a Resolution in Support of Direct Funding to Local Governments for the Improvement and Maintenance of Local Roads in America within the Proposed Infrastructure Spending Bill. Scott even had to “explain / defend” the resolution to another NACo Committee and was able to garner their support for the resolution. As far as we know, the Scott and Richie-led resolution was the first NACo resolution that specifically mentioned NACE.

A big change that has been in the works for the last four years was finally approved at the meeting. The weighted voting process had not been changed since 1991. With significant population increases, for years the larger counties had a much larger percentage of votes. The new process “rebalances” the votes.

Each NACo president has a major focus or initiative. President Brooks announced that his initiative would focus on combating childhood poverty. He showed statistics that indicated that, in the US, one in five children live in poverty. The exact plan for NACo’s role in the initiative will be forthcoming in the next few months. The exact title of the initiative: Serving the Underserved: Counties Addressing Poverty.

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