Three Macon County commissioners traveled to Guilford County last week to take part in the 106th Annual North Carolina Association of County Commissioners Conference. "It was a great and informative week," said Commissioner Ronnie Beale who attended the conference along with Commission Chair Kevin Corbin and Commissioner Jimmy Tate. "It is always good to see what other counties are doing and to keep that communication open. I was proud to be there representing the people of Macon County."
According to Beale, of the 100 counties in North Carolina, about 80 had representation. The week was spent networking and in information workshops. Commissioners across the state were afforded the opportunity to participate in workshops covering topics ranging from the state's economic standpoint compared to the rest of the country to how new legislature such as the Affordable Care Act will impact citizens on the county level.
At the conference, Beale was named winner of the Outstanding County Commissioner Award for 2012-13 by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC). Beale, who also serves as the NCACC’s president-elect, was honored for his active participation in the NCACC and for his willingness to frequently travel the long distance from Macon County to the state capital to advocate on behalf of all 100 counties.
"I was surprised," said Beale of receiving the award. "I think any time you are recognized by your colleagues and peers, it is a special thing. I would not be in this position and have the opportunity to serve if it was not for the support of the Macon County citizens so I thank them. I am sure that many commissioners across the state work just as hard if not harder and are just as deserving of this honor. At the end of the day, it is all about making a positive impact for our citizens and I hope that I am doing that."
Before being elected as NCACC second vice president in August 2011, Beale served as chair of the NCACC’s Health and Human Services Steering Committee. He has also served on the NCACC’s Public Education Steering Committee and was a member of the Legislative Goals Committee in 2011-12.
“As he tells us all the time, he lives closer to the state capital of four other states, but he is always there when we need him,” said NCACC President Howard Hunter III. “As the chair of the Human Services Steering Committee, he helped educate state leaders about the impacts to counties of cuts in mental health funding. And he has helped us increase our participation by western counties.”
The M.H. “Jack” Brock Outstanding County Commissioner Award is presented annually to a commissioner who has demonstrated special achievements and efforts on behalf of county government throughout the state and/or region, not just within his or her county. Beale is the first commissioner from Macon County to win the award, which has been presented annually since 1967.
As president-elect, Beale will automatically become president next August. He will become the second Macon County Commissioner to serve as NCACC president, following Milles Gregory, who served in 1983-84.
North Carolina State Senator Jim Davis was also honored at the conference by receiving the "Friend of the Counties" award for legislation he introduced regarding healthcare in local jails. "We did not think it was fair that inmates in local jails were paying up to three times what those in Raleigh Central Prison had to pay for health care and it was a goal of ours [NCACC] to change that, and Sen. Davis helped make that possible," said Beale.
Founded in 1908, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners is one of the most successful and active statewide local government associations in the nation. The NCACC was established for the betterment of county government in North Carolina.
North Carolina’s 100 counties are vibrant and essential partners with state government in providing services to the state’s more than nine million citizens. As the form of government closest to the people, counties offer a unique perspective that makes them critical players in decisions affecting their citizens. The NCACC serves as the counties’ advocate before the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state government.