The Idaho Association of Counties (IAC) hosted its 2022 Annual Conference at the Boise Centre from September 26 to September 28. County elected officials and county staff from all parts of Idaho gathered in Downtown Boise to participate in the three-day conference. The event featured interactive workshops with presentations from subject-matter experts on topics impacting counties, such as preventing cybersecurity attacks, the state of worker’s compensation, financing county facilities, social media and the first amendment, and many more. Keynote speakers Governor Brad Little and Francis Benjamin, WSU’s Political Interaction Lab Director, also addressed IAC’s membership and took questions during Monday’s and Tuesday’s general sessions, respectively.
County elected officials and county staff also had time to meet with their committees, affiliates, and members of counties from similar population sizes to discuss relevant issues. In addition to meeting in smaller groups, IAC’s full membership discussed and voted on IAC’s legislative priorities for the upcoming legislative session. Sixteen resolutions were advanced. “IAC’s Annual Conference provides the perfect opportunity for the membership to come together and have meaningful discussions about the issues impacting counties and constituents,” said IAC Executive Director Seth Grigg. “Attending our conferences and participating in the legislative discourse is one important way to ensure your county has a voice and that it is heard.”
The conference also provided updates on important topics such as the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program and the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act (SRS), as well as updates from Jonathan Shuffield, the National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislative Director – Public Lands for the Western Interstate Region (WIR).
IAC’s installation of IAC’s 2022-2023 executive board officers also took place during the conference. Chris Goetz, Clearwater County Sheriff, took his position as Immediate Past President, while Dotti Owens, Ada County Coroner, accepted her new role of IAC President. Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Vic Pearson was installed as the First Vice President. Blaine County Treasurer John David Davidson would have been sworn in as Second Vice President, but unfortunately he was unable to attend the conference due to illness. He will be installed at a later time.
“It was an honor to serve this organization as its president, and I am looking forward to seeing the great things Dotti will accomplish as IAC’s new president,” said Goetz.
IAC also held its 2022 annual awards presentation where distinguished officials from various affiliate associations were recognized by peers for their dedication and significant contributions to their counties. The Mills-Adler Award is named in honor of two distinguished county elected officials: the late Darwin Mills, Lincoln County Sheriff, and the late Betty Adler, Payette County Treasurer. Both exemplified the qualities all county elected officials strive for.
Recipients of the Mills-Adler Award for 2022 were:
– Carrie May, Clark County Assessor
– Kim Muir, Madison County Clerk
– Vaughn Rasmussen, Bear Lake County Commissioner (not present)
– Lucky Bourn, Minidoka County Coroner
– Keisha Oxendine, Shoshone County Prosecuting Attorney
– Richie Skiles, Latah County Sheriff
– Mark Hansen, Bonneville County Treasurer
The second distinction presented at the conference was the H. Sydney Duncombe Award, which is IAC’s highest honor given to individuals that have greatly contributed to furthering county government through development and education in Idaho. The award was created in 1988 in honor of the late Dr. H. Sydney Duncombe, who taught and trained numerous county officials in their roles and responsibilities.
The recipient of the H. Sydney Duncombe Award for Excellence in County Government is Keisha Oxendine, First District Magistrate Judge.
“Keisha is a leader. She was an effective prosecutor, and I trusted her inherently to handle conflict cases. She was always professional and kind in her interactions, and she provided excellent representation for her constituents. It was no surprise that she was chosen to be a Magistrate Judge based on her work for Shoshone County,” said Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney Barry McHugh.
In addition to the ceremonies, workshops, and presentations, IAC held fundraisers which included live and silent auctions, as well as the First Annual Cornhole Tournament to raise money for IAC’s Scholarship Fund. The tournament was held during Monday night’s reception, which was accompanied by live music from local Idaho band Soul Serene. The tournament unexpectedly wrapped up Monday night, with winners Brion Poston and GovPros Co-Founder Rick Sena being announced at Tuesday’s general session. They were honored with custom sashes and a trophy by IAC Policy Advisor Kelli Brassfield, who organized the cornhole tournament.
The IAC Scholarship Fund was created in 1996 to assist the children of county employees and the children and grandchildren of county elected officials with the increasing cost of college tuition. Between the cornhole tournament, the live auction of an IAC-branded YETI cooler, and the silent auction of the custom-made cornhole boards donated by Brion Poston and Tom Alexander, a preliminary total of $6,463.10 was raised! “This scholarship wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of Idahoans, including our county elected officials and county staff, and our Corporate Partners,” said Brassfield. “We’re grateful to everyone who participated and helped make our fundraising efforts successful and fun!” Learn more about the IAC Scholarship Fund, the 2022 recipients, and how you can support the fund or apply for it here.
In addition to the robust educational opportunities, the conference hosted a full house of exhibitors, event sponsors and IAC Corporate Partners like ICRMP, GemPlan, Blue Cross of Idaho, Western States Cat, and SIF – Idaho Workers’ Compensation. Networking breaks were scheduled into the agenda so that attendees would have ample time to connect with exhibitors, and a virtual scavenger hunt was used as a fun incentive to help IAC members learn about the various exhibitors and their organizations. Conference attendees who completed their trivia questions after meeting with all of the exhibitors were entered to win prizes.
“Our conference exhibitors, sponsors, and Corporate Partners make a tremendous impact on the success of our events and on accomplishing IAC’s mission,” said IAC Communications and Marketing Manager Jessica Roth. “We can’t express enough how much we value their support.” Organizations and businesses who are interested in joining IAC’s Corporate Partner Program can learn more on IAC’s website or by emailing Jessica Roth.
This was IAC’s second annual conference to take place in-person after a hiatus during the pandemic. IAC’s Executive Director believes that gathering as a group makes a powerful impact. “It’s inspiring to see our full membership come together — it demonstrates the strength we have as an organization to make important decisions and truly represent the interests of Idaho’s counties and their constituents,” said Grigg. “I’m looking forward to gathering again in February for our Midwinter Legislative Conference.”
To see the full photo album from the conference and download pictures, visit our flickr page.