CSAC’s 115th Annual Meeting is now behind us, and by our observations, it was a highly successful conference. We hope you agree that it was a meeting of substance and a worthwhile investment on your part. And while our Annual Meeting is now in the past, the work accomplished has prepared us for the challenging year ahead.

During the conference’s three days, we were able to complete an ambitious agenda. Our five policy committees and Board of Directors discussed reform principles that will help guide us through the maze of reform dialogue that will dominate 2010. Our Board also adopted the framework for a communications and legislative strategy in preparation for the inevitable fiscal attacks stemming from another significant state budget deficit.

Our general sessions, while featuring vastly different speakers, had a common underlining message: We must all be involved and take responsibility. Keynote speakers Chuck Wall, Lisa Ling and Michael Blake brought this message to us through the eyes of a man of kindness, a renowned journalist and a White House official.

CSAC membership elected our leadership for the new year. With President Tony Oliveira of Kings County, First Vice President John Tavaglione of Riverside County, Second Vice President Mike McGowan of Yolo County and Immediate Past President Gary Wyatt of Imperial County leading the way, our association will have the strong, experienced leadership needed to lead us during these increasingly difficult times.

Conference attendees also had an opportunity to tour our sold-out Exhibit Hall, which, once again, was a huge success. We would like to warmly thank our sponsors and exhibitors for helping make our Annual Meeting a reality and showing how the public and private sectors can work together.

Our Annual Meeting was a time to work, plan, network and yes, even smile, as we looked ahead to what will be one of the most challenging years California counties have ever faced. We rolled up our sleeves, kicked up our heels and prepared for 2010.

I want to personally thank everyone who attended and participated in our Annual Meeting. For those who were unable to attend, don’t worry; there is plenty of work for all of us to accomplish in 2010. And we will turn to you for assistance. Working together, we can make a difference. Working together, our voice will be heard. In the coming year, we will need to be unified more than ever.

As our 2009 President Gary Wyatt noted in his opening remarks, “In the toughest, most difficult times, we must remember why we chose to accept the leadership mantel. And then we must lead. California has many difficult days ahead. As county leaders, we don’t always get to choose the battle or issue, but we do get to choose how we will respond … We will maintain the focus. We will make the right choices. We will lead.”

Paul McIntosh
Executive Director
California State Association of Counties