Twice a year, the National Association of Counties (NACo) solicits ideas for workshops for its annual Legislative Conference in March and the Annual Conference in July. The sessions must be relevant to county elected officials. As an affiliate of NACo, we are offered the opportunity to submit proposals.
For as long as I have been active with NACIO (almost a decade now!), our organization has almost always had at least one workshop - and sometimes two, or even three - at every NACo conference. As it turns out, county elected officials are very interested in all aspects of media relations, from the rise of social media to basic tips on how to handle tricky situations. Past NACIO sessions have included outside presenters on how to read body language, how to improve listening skills and Media Relations 101.
I am proud to report that NACIO's workshops are almost always among the highest-rated at the NACo conference. These sessions are a great way for NACIO members to share their expertise with county officials from across the nation. Equally important, they are a testament to the value that a Public Information Officer can bring to a county government.
This year, NACo just announced its workshop selections for the 2013 Legislative Conference, which will be held March 2-6, 2013, at the Washington, D.C., Hilton Hotel (the infamous hotel where John Hinkley attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan). Once again, NACIO's submission has been accepted.
This year we are going to offer a training session on how to deal with public records requests and the value of transparency. How a local government responds to public records requests shows a lot about that jurisdiction's committee to transparency, and this session will help local officials understand how transparency can build trust within the community.
Panelists for the session include Wendy Manita-Holmes, the Director of Public Affairs for Douglas County, Colo., and newly elected NACIO Second Vice President Lori Hudson of Hillsborough County, Fla. Participating in a workshop is a great way for NACIO members to get more involved with the organization and also to share your professional expertise, and I am very excited to have two such great panelists lined up for the session.
NACo will soon be soliciting ideas for their annual conference, which will be held July 19-222 in Fort Worth (Tarrant County), Texas. When the announcement is made, I will share the information on the NACIO listserv. In the meantime, be thinking of ideas you might have for a workshop,and if you can make it to Texas for the conference, we would love to have you as a presenter.