By David Liebler.

Rural county supervisors and county administrators came together in Tehama County recently to participate in one of CSAC’s regional meetings. We chose Tehama County as a location since it’s centrally located for most of our rural members. Sure, it still took CAO Phil Smith-Hanes more than four hours to drive over from Humboldt County and Mono County Supervisor Larry Johnston broke the trip up over two days — but that’s California for you. For others, it was just a quick jaunt up or down I-5. No matter the distance, they came because they wanted to hear the latest information on issues of importance to rural counties.

It’s a priority of CSAC to get out to our 58 counties as much as possible. Often this takes the form of individual meetings or presentations at Board of Supervisors meetings. These regional meetings enhance our member engagement by providing forums for discussion of key issues, a venue for networking among colleagues, and the opportunity to enhance our public-private partnerships. The presentations and dialogue of each meeting can be tailored to focus on specific regional issues. As we know, one size doesn’t necessarily fit all.

That’s exactly what happened in Tehama County Thursday. The day kicked off with productive discussion focusing on “innovative strategies for AB 109 growth funding” led by Tehama County’s Sheriff Dave Hencratt, Chief Probation Officer Richard Muench and CSAC staff. From there, the discussion turned to county information technology and finally, a county administrator-led dialogue regarding top issues facing county officials. The discussion was geared for the rural county representatives in attendance.

But as with all CSAC-hosted meetings, networking and the sharing of ideas play an incredibly valuable role. Colleagues from different parts of the state are able to reconnect. Tuolumne Supervisor Randy Hanvelt and Tehama Supervisor Dennis Garton – who first met during the CSAC New Supervisors Institute in 2010 – took the opportunity to get caught up.  New friendships are also forged, new bonds created; first-term Lake County Supervisor Jim Steele shared stories with Trinity County Supervisor Judy Morris about growing up in her county.

CSAC hopes to plan more regional meetings in 2015. Since we want to maximize their value for our supervisors and senior executives, the locations and dates will be driven by the key issues. It was a good day in Tehama County, just like it was in San Bernardino in January. Next up is something a bit closer to our home: the CSAC Legislative Conference in Sacramento in late May. We look forward to seeing you in Sacramento — and perhaps at a regional meeting near you.