Pictured above is the 2018 Missouri Association of Counties Executive Board, front row: Past-President, Wendy Norwald, Warren County; President, Becky Schofield, Dallas County; 1st Vice-President, Clint Tracy, Cape Girardeau County; and 3rd Vice-President, Susette Taylor, Atchison County. Back row:  2nd Vice-President, Phil Rogers, Andrew County and Treasurer, Steve Hobbs, Audrain County.  (Submitted photo)

The Missouri Association of Counties (MAC) held its 46th Annual Conference and Expo November 19-21, 2017, at Tan-Tar-A Resort in Camden County (Osage Beach), Mo. More than 700 people, including county elected officials, sponsors and exhibitors, attended the three-day conference, which featured informational training and networking sessions on topics designed to enhance local government. Atchison County officials attending were: Presiding Commissioner Curtis Livengood, South District Commissioner Richard Burke, Clerk Susette Taylor, Assessor Lori Jones, and Recorder Eliza Beasing.
“County government plays a vital role in the lives of all Missourians,” said Missouri Association of Counties Executive Director Dick Burke. “This educational conference is an excellent opportunity for our membership to be informed about current issues, as well as to share ideas and learn best practices when developing public policy to ensure that Missouri’s county governments are effective and efficient.”
The annual conference also serves as a time for MAC members to elect officers and board members, and establish legislative priorities for the upcoming year.
The opening session of the annual conference featured Ed Smart, father of Elizabeth Smart, who was abducted in 2002 and returned home nine months later. Smart shared his story, and described the trauma their family endured and how they tried to minimize the effects on their other children. He also talked about how his family dealt with law enforcement and the media, while holding on to hope and learning to rely on the strength of family.
Next the Immediate Past President Bryan Desloge of the National Association of Counties (NACO) gave an overview on the federal policy agenda that NACO is advocating for in Washington D.C. Founded in 1935, NACO brings county officials together to advocate with a collective voice on national policy.
Missouri Department of Corrections Director Anne Precythe spoke next about the Justice Reinvestment Initiative in Missouri. In June, Gov. Eric Greitens formed the Justice Reinvestment Task Force by executive order to look at ways to improve Missouri’s criminal justice system by reducing its prison population, lowering recidivism and finding a solution to the ongoing issues related to county jail reimbursements. As chair of the task force, Precythe spoke about the work being done by the task force and why this initiative is so important for Missouri.
Following the morning’s general sessions, two rounds of educational breakout sessions were scheduled, which included:
• Missouri Sunshine Law: The Need to Know Open Meetings and Social Media;
•    Missouri’s Marijuana Initiative;
• Don’t Take the Bait! Why People Fall for Phishing Attacks;
• For Self-Funded Health Plans, Slash Employee and Employer Prescription Drug Cost! Zero Dollar Co-Pays;
• The PACE Program
• The Minefield of Nepotism; Understanding Key Elements of an Investment Program;
• Update on Illicit Drug Use in the U.S. and Missouri – Are We Making Progress?
• Polypropylene Storm Sewer Pipe: The Future is Here;
• The Ultimate in County Government Guide to Funding Capital Facilities Projects; and Revising Missouri’s Prevailing Wage Law.
Afternoon breakout sessions continued from 1:15 to 2:00 p.m. and included:
• ERF Update; The Stepping Up Initiative: Reducing Mental Illness in Jails;
• Implementing and Funding Improvements to Historical Courthouses, Facilities and Infrastructure; Challenges in Health Care, ACA Update and Alternative Funding for Missouri Public Entities; and County Legal Issues.
Monday evening the annual awards banquet and installation of new offices was held. The 2018 Missouri Association of Counties Executive Board was sworn in as follows: Past-President, Wendy Norwald, Warren County; President, Becky Schofield, Dallas County; 1st Vice-President, Clint Tracy, Cape Girardeau County; 2nd Vice-President, Phil Rogers, Andrew County; 3rd Vice-President, Susette Taylor, Atchison County; and Treasurer, Steve Hobbs, Audrain County.
On Tuesday, Rep. Kevin Corlew, R-Kansas City, who chairs the 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force, and Rep. Jeff Messenger, R-Republic, who chairs the House Policy Development Caucus, spoke about the work they have been doing in trying to find a solution to funding Missouri’s transportation system.
The conference wrapped up after Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, and Daniel Landon, senior vice president of government relations for the Missouri Hospital Association, spoke about the need for a strong prescription drug monitoring program.
Clerk Taylor is honored to represent, not only the Clerk’s, but provide a voice for 3rd Class Counties on the Executive Board of the Missouri Association of Counties.