A Year of People, Places and Perspectives
NOT ONLY IS People. Places. Perspectives. the theme of the 2018 ACCG Annual Conference, but it serves as the overarching theme of my year spent as your association president. When I assumed the role of ACCG president in April 2017, I had a very broad understanding of people (county commissioners) from various places (Georgia’s counties) that help ACCG operate from the perspective in which it does: advancing Georgia’s counties.
People and Places.
Serving as president was a duty bestowed upon me by my peers and I am very grateful for such an opportunity. I’ve heard from my predecessors that one of the many great joys of serving as president is the opportunity to travel the state with the association staff. Hitting the road with the staff was an experience that allowed me to connect with the people who work behind the scenes to ensure our association maintains its status as one of the top county associations in the nation. It was a rewarding experience to see that we have such a dedicated team ready and willing to assist us in our official roles as county leaders. It was during my travels with the staff that I was able to visit parts of our great state that I had never been. I discovered some of our many local treasures—the things which provide our communities with their unique identities.
In addition to connecting with the ACCG staff, I was able to further my connections with my peers in local government. Those peers include Georgia’s county elected and appointed officials, our counterparts at the Georgia Municipal Association, colleagues throughout the country as members of the National Association of Counties, and many more. I was able to develop friendships with like-minded individuals who share the same passion for public service, ones who dedicate their careers to improving their local communities. All of the individuals within those groups of people constitute the strength of local government and contribute greatly to its success. My interactions with each of them broadened my perspective of local government as a whole which, in turn, has allowed me to become a better county official.
As we all know and have heard numerous times, governing is a collective undertaking and takes conscious, sincere efforts of all involved. Having met so many new individuals who share the same passion for public service, I now better understand the need for collaboration which helps us address local government challenges in Georgia and beyond. The perspective in which I view things has changed due to my interactions with people from various places. My renewed perspective has molded me into a better leader and will allow me to be of greater service to my constituents as I continue my journey as county chairman. I can now offer improved and alternative solutions to local challenges—solutions that will continue to showcase county government as key player in the overall success of our state and nation. My perspective of the role of ACCG president has also changed. I have a greater appreciation for and better understanding of the journey. Yes, it is true that the president is the face of the association, but it is also true that as the leader you have a responsibility to be the voice for the entire ACCG membership. You must ensure that the voices of all counties—no matter how big or small, rural or urban—are considered. You also have the responsibility to make sure that the decisions made are beneficial to all.
As my tenure as president comes to an end, I reflect on the valuable life lessons and friendships either created or furthered during the past year. I am very grateful and fortunate to have been allowed to lead Georgia’s county association. Thank you all for entrusting me to lead our organization and to represent Georgia’s county commissioners. I will forever value the relationships with the people from the various places who helped change my perspective.