Highlights from LGC’s 70th Annual Conference

AnnMarie French

Some 520 local officials and staff from cities, towns, counties and schools across the state gathered at the Radisson Hotel Manchester on November 16 and 17 to participate in the New Hampshire Local Government Center’s 70th Annual Conference, themed Embracing the Mission. With more than 60 informational sessions from which to choose, attendees benefited from the opportunity to expand their knowledge and their peer network and reconnect with the mission of public service. The following are some highlights from the event.

Keynote Address
“Your success is directly proportional to the number of people you know positively,” presenter David Rabiner informed the gathered crowd at Wednesday’s keynote address. During the hour-long presentation, nationally recognized speaker and trainer David Rabiner shared insight into what his research has shown are the three key characteristics of peak performers: (1) honest self-assessment of strengths and weaknesses, (2) the ability to translate qualities into behaviors, and (3) a core belief in principles. “Success happens as a result of a relentless commitment to principles and values,” said Rabiner. Successful people are constantly striving for improvement; they are, according to Rabiner, “always working on something.” A recurring presentation theme also advised: “Don’t be transactional. Stay transformational.”

Municipal Volunteer of the Year Awards
The 24th Annual Municipal Volunteer of the Year Awards, announced during Wednesday’s luncheon, recognized Linda Harvey from the Town of Salem and Norma Thibodeau from the Town of Richmond for their contributions to local boards, committees and projects as well as for their ability to inspire and motivate others to participate in improving their community. Presenting the awards were LGC Board of Directors members Cathy Ann Stacey, Register of Deeds for Rockingham County, and Steve Fournier, North Hampton Town Administrator. “Municipalities simply couldn’t get it all done without the efforts of volunteers,” said Cathy Ann Stacey. “Our 2011 recipients are two people that truly do make their local government’s mission possible.”

Excellence in Annual Reports Awards
On Thursday, the Excellence in Annual Reports Awards celebration provided recognition for 18 towns and three cities for production of exceptional annual reports. “These cities and towns truly deserve sincere recognition for their outstanding efforts in producing such impressive public documents, which inform citizens of important financial information while also conveying a sense of community spirit,” said LGC Deputy Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer Sandal Keeffe. Also participating in the presentation of awards were LGC Government Finance Advisor Barbara Reid and Risk and Control Officer Nancy Cone.

Winners were selected from annual report submissions received from 151 cities and towns. Submissions were first reviewed for presentation of basic financial information; reports passing this initial test were then scored for creativity and reader appeal. Town reports are judged in six categories based on population.

The following are the winners in the 2011 Excellence in Annual Reports Awards:

First Place – Nashua; Second Place – Portsmouth; Third Place – Concord

Population 0 – 750:
First Place – Shelburne; Second Place – Sugar Hill; Third Place – Stark
Population 751 – 1,500:
First Place – New Castle; Second Place – Lincoln; Third Place – Springfield
Population 1,501 – 3,000:
First Place – Newbury; Second Place – Lyndeborough; Third Place – Gorham
Population 3,001 – 5,000:
First Place – Enfield; Second Place – Northwood; Third Place – Moultonborough
Population 5,001 – 7,500:
First Place – Belmont; Second Place – Peterborough; Third Place – Northfield
Population 7,501 and above:
First Place – Windham; Second Place – Hampton; Third Place – Hollis

NHMA Annual Meeting and Municipal Advocate of the Year
Local officials from New Hampshire Municipal Association (NHMA) member municipalities gathered on Thursday afternoon to elect new and returning members to the Committee on Government Affairs and Municipal Advocacy Committee. During the meeting, NHMA staff announced the establishment of a Municipal Advocate of the Year Award. The award will be given annually to a local official who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of NHMA’s legislative goals.

Judy Silva, Deputy Director for Legal Services and Government Affairs, announced that the staff had decided in June to give the inaugural award to Bedford Town Manager Russ Marcoux. Sadly, Russ passed away shortly before the Annual Conference. Judy summarized Russ’s many contributions to NHMA’s legislative successes and stated, “Among the many things we lost with Russ’s death, we lost a passionate advocate for local government.” She stated that the Municipal Advocacy Committee will be asked to name the award for Russ in recognition of his devotion and tireless work on behalf of local government.

LGC Annual Meeting and Board of Directors Reception
The LGC Annual Meeting included election of several new members to the LGC Board of Directors and a review of organizational accomplishments presented by Executive Director Maura Carroll. In his introductory remarks, LGC Board Chair Mark Halloran recognized Maura Carroll for her leadership over the past year, noting, “We couldn’t have a better person at the helm.” At the Board of Directors Reception later in the day, Halloran recognized outgoing board members for their service and announced the newly-elected incoming board members: Mardean Badger, Ashland, School Board Member; Peter Chamberlin, Wolfeboro, Finance Director; Kathleen Garry, Moultonborough, School Board Member; John A. MacLean, Keene, City Manager; and Dennis J. Pavlicek, Newbury, Town Administrator. The reception provided a comfortable forum for conference attendees to talk with board members and share ideas for new ways to improve service to local governments.

Sponsor Recognition
The annual conference is made possible each year through the participation of numerous sponsoring organizations, whose financial contributions help to keep the event affordable for attendees. A special thanks to Platinum Level sponsors Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in NH, CVS Caremark, Health Resources, Hinkley Allen & Snyder LLP, National Insurance Services, Northeast Delta Dental and Onlife Health; Gold Level sponsors Citizens Bank, Municipal Resources Inc. and TD Bank; Silver Level sponsors People’s United Bank and Towers Watson; and Bronze Level sponsors New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority, Peter J. Riemer LLC, Ransmeier & Spellman PC, Strategic Benefit Advisors, Town and Country Reprographics Inc. And Underwood Engineers.

Share Your Vision for 2012
Mark your calendar for LGC’s 71st Annual Conference, November 14-15, 2012. We welcome your ideas for informative session topics and engaging speakers. Simply send your suggestions to townandcity@nhlgc.org or share your thoughts with any LGC staff member.

AnnMarie French is Communications Specialist for the New Hampshire Local Government Center. Contact AnnMarie at 800.852.3358, ext. 133, or afrench@nhlgc.org.

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