The Annual Convention of the Utah Association of Counties has come and gone for another year, but we wanted to provide a review of the highlights.
While it’s impossible for UAC staff to sit in on all affiliate sessions the entire three days, we hope your sessions were valuable and give you a foundation for future success as county officials.
We kicked things off Wednesday with nine breakout sessions, this year the County Attorneys started on Wednesday, providing their members with training in areas of public relations. The session was led by Justin Hoyle, public information officer for Salt Lake Unified Police Department and Jill Parker, public information officer for Bear River Health Department.
The UAC Board of Directors held their quarterly meeting, approving the 2018 budget but also talking about some additional policy and plans for the coming year. Linda Langston, National Association of Counties (NACO) director of strategic relations, was an honored guest who provided a report from NACo, and also later in the Thursday morning General Session, regarding sales tax and public land issues NACo is advancing.
Thursday morning’s General Session was very well received with reports from Langston, UAC President Mark Whitney, and UAC CEO Adam Trupp, prior to keynote speaker Cara Brookins. Brookins was riveting in her address, talking about her experience of leaving situations of domestic violence with her four children in Arkansas. But she also inspired attendees that they can accomplish anything, sharing how she and her children chose to build a home nearly entirely on their own with the help of YouTube video tutorials as a means of healing from the trauma that afflicted them.
President Whitney encouraged attendees who had not done so to adopt a resolution against domestic violence, which was his initiative as president. He also praised Utah County Commissioners for their efforts not only passing a resolution, but setting up additional town hall meetings and several other efforts to address.
Trupp presented the membership with a State of the Association address, talking about some of UAC’s accomplishments from the past year, but also looking head at 2018. He mentioned the addition of staff members Bryan Rodgers, legislative specialist, and Fatima Liagat, administrative assistant, who are excited and ready to launch into providing UAC with important functions of legislative and administrative support.
Both Thursday afternoon and Friday morning was a continuation of affiliate breakout sessions, covering a wide spectrum of topics, discussions, and speakers. Meanwhile, attendees had the opportunity to hear from and vote for candidates for UAC second vice president, Salt Lake County Attorney Sim Gill and Weber County Clerk/Auditor Ricky Hatch, as well as a single candidate for UAC secretary, Weber County Commissioner James Ebert.
The results were shared at the Closing Banquet Friday night. The new UAC Executive Officers are Iron County Assessor Cindy Bulloch as president, Washington County Commissioner Victor Iverson as first vice president, Weber County Clerk/Auditor Ricky Hatch as second vice president, and Weber County Commissioner James Ebert as secretary, with Beaver County Commissioner Mark Whitney serving as past-president.
Incoming president Cindy Bulloch expressed appreciation for the incoming and outgoing officers and shared that her initiative as president will be to focus on civility in public service. She recognized that while most public officials are exemplary in their relations with one another, there is a growing trend away from that which she views as harmful to excellence in governance.
The evening concluded with entertainment from county western singer Eric Dodge, who with only four hours’ notice was able to put on an amazing show. Sadly, UAC-scheduled entertainment and renowned blues crooner Taylor Hicks came down with the flu and was unable to perform.
Overall, the Annual Convention was another huge success and provided members with a forum to share and discuss critical issues, best practices, and renew professional acquaintances.
Next up will be UAC’s County Officials Day at the Legislature, February 8 at the Capitol. Then, April 24-26 will the UAC Management Conference at the Dixie Center in St. George. Mark your calendars and watch for further announcements about both events as we draw closer.