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46th AAC conference highlights approaching issues, challenges

Our 46th annual AAC Conference recently concluded in Little Rock at the Marriot and State House Convention Center where almost 700 county officials and employees gathered to celebrate county government successes and to brainstorm about our com- mon challenges. August is riddled with a hectic couple of weeks for AAC staff who plan and execute the conference every year. I can’t say enough about the staff’s work and passion they bring to all our AAC events, but especially with our annual conference. As outgo- ing president, I thank you all for what you do for the county family of Arkansas every day. Tere were several highlights during our annual meeting this


year, and the breakout session topics really help outline what is new and what is on the minds of AAC stakeholders. We enjoy a very unique view of state and county government from our respective offices and I am always encouraged by all the conversa- tions seeded in making things better and more efficient for our counties and constituents. I certainly appreciate the time spent honoring my tenure as

AAC president and am grateful for the friendships and accom- plishments we have under our belt in my 15 years as AAC board of director president. However, I’m not done quite yet, and this is not my farewell column. You’ll have to wait until the fall edition of County Lines to read my parting thoughts. Obviously, our gubernatorial forum with Mike Ross and Asa

Hutchinson was a wonderful grand finale to our conference. We are grateful for both candidates’ willingness to spend time with county officials. Te forum went off without a hitch and allowed the candidates and county officials to document their respective platforms and to shine light on the challenges facing county gov- ernment. We also gleaned some insight on the candidates’ ideas of how they would govern and how they would approach the adversity before our great state. Te questions posed from various county officials were all on topics that are very important to us — stagnant county turn back funds, jail overcrowding, state inmate reimbursement rates, 911 services and election reform. We encourage continued conversations on these issues and the continued search for stable solutions whoever wins the governor’s seat for the next four years. City, County and Local Committees in the Arkansas House

and Senate also met throughout our conference, and we are thankful for their service and for their fellowship with various county officials and staff. Teir attendance not only exposes them to the details of our world and us to theirs but it also aids in building our working relationships for future joint projects. We look forward to working extensively with this committee in the


he latest chapter of county government is annually redefined and shared with the stakeholders of the Association of Arkansas Counties, state agencies and legislators every summer at our annual conference.

90th Arkansas General Assembly. Members of the Local 911 Systems

Blue Ribbon Committee also attend- ed our conference and we expect this body to help lead the way in finding increased funding for 911 services, addressing the discrepancy between wireless and landline components and devising plans to manage the in- creased burden for Next Generation 911 communications. If you like tackling challenges head on, it is certainly a good time to be involved with state and county government. Our breakout sessions were numerous and varied. We present- ed topics that ranged from retirement to employment practices and from leadership to wellness trends. We even hosted our first wellness walk bright and early Tursday morning on the banks of the Arkansas River. Check out our Facebook page for images of the walk and all the other events at conference. AAC Risk Management Fund’s new partnership with Guard- ian RFID was explained at conference as well. Tis project is a breath of fresh air for our member counties and their jails. We’re enthusiastic about its impact on jail administration efficiencies and documentation. Guardian RFID inmate-tracking system will be implemented in all 46 member counties within a year as an added benefit to our program. Tis product is the only one in the world to utilize radio frequency identification exclusively in inmate tracking services. It will give jailors and deputies real-time data on activities in the jails and add a digital documentation trail that will serve inmates and staffers well.

All member associations officially submitted their respective legislative packages for consideration by the AAC legislative com- mittee and ultimately the board of directors during our annual meeting. Te leg committee and board will soon dive into the submissions and define our legislative package for the next session this fall. Tank you to all our attendees, vendors, sponsors and legislators for making AAC’s annual conference a success.

President’s Perspective

Hon. Mike Jacobs AAC Board President; Johnson County Judge

Te Honorable Mike Jacobs

Johnson County Judge / AAC Board President 9

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