County Commission | The Magazine August 2018 - Page 32

NEWS YOU CAN USE Want to put together a “go-to” notebook for a new commissioner? Find sample documents and checklists for “must-have” info online: • May 2018 presentation to county administrators from ACCA General Counsel Morgan Arrington • The table of contents for a county highway department notebook • A complete copy of a county EMA notebook standing around the gas pumps, and one of the commissioners said, ‘You know what? I had no idea it was this involved. I wish every citizen could know this.’” New commissioners have been very receptive, Champion said, and have appreciated having a reference manual to better equip them to respond to questions from constituents. The go-to notebook approach works well for other areas of county operations, too. EMA Director Phyllis Little in Cullman County does something similar – but has taken it a step further. She periodically provides 32 | COUNTY COMMISSION commissioners with updated pages, which creates another opportunity to share important information. When addressing county administrators on this topic in May, ACCA General Counsel Morgan Arrington opened the conversation with the following quote from Sonya Parker: “Almost everyone will make a good first impression, but only a few will make a good lasting impression.” Her presentation (available at www.alabamacounties.org/ gotonotebook) includes detailed bullet points to help administrators cover all the bases. Sprinkled throughout the slides are helpful “Pro On the Web: www.alabamacounties.org/gotonotebook Tips” to maximize usefulness. New commissioners will take the oath of office in mid-November, which means there is still time to initiate this project or update resources used in previous years. An informal survey indicates that the notebook – paired with face-to- face briefings and tours – is a very popular approach to orientation for new commissioners, but it is by no means the only one. Some use a Powerpoint presentation instead of the three-ring binder, and there’s a good argument for an electronic version that could be saved to a tablet or other device. n