You may not realize that here in Texas, all elected and appointed public officials are required by state law to receive training in Texas open government laws. As an elected Commissioner, I also am required by the Local Government Code Sec. 81.0025, Section (e) to attain 16 hours each year of continuing education relative to my office. I have always found these training sessions to be very helpful as I help conduct the people’s business here in Denton County.
In July, my fellow Denton County Commissioners Court members and I traveled to Waco for the North and East County Judges and Commissioners Association Annual Conference and Business Meeting as part of this mandated continuing education.
The Texas Association of Counties, which serves as the umbrella organization for various independent county official organizations in our state, designs courses to give us the latest information available on a wide assortment of topics. Denton County is a member of this professional association, similar to the Bar Association for lawyers or the Medical Association for doctors.
In this particular four-day conference at the Waco Convention Center, we received information and training on such topics as: County Budgeting and Communicating the Budget to the Public; Agendas, Postings and Open Meeting Requirements; Adopting and Calculating the Tax Rate; Working with the State Legislature; Fees and Revenue; Risk Management: Road Safety Issues; Road Repair Maintenance; Redistricting; Environmental Issues; Strategic Planning; Personnel Policies; Communications: and Future of Broadband Access.
We also take advantage of the opportunity to network with Court members from other counties to discuss topical issues and share best practices information. For instance, it was at one of these meetings that I first learned of a county hiring a grant writer and the many financial benefits that county derived from that hire. County Judge Andy Eads and other members of the Court have been wanting a grant writer for years. With the new federal funding Denton County and other counties were to receive, last year was the perfect time to hire a grant writer. The good news is that we created the position and promoted Rina Maloney as our very own grant writer.
The Texas Association of Counties also details the latest information on legislative sessions, including the ongoing special sessions, by providing data on proposed legislation that impacts our counties. This knowledge enables us to reach out to our state legislators on matters of concern or to express support for legislation we believe is in the best interests of our residents.
The continuing education requirements are an important part of serving in an elected position. It is vital that we stay informed and up-to-date on issues that affect our residents. Much of what we learn each year helps us implement the best courses of action in Denton County and ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently and effectively. It also helps us to be more knowledgeable about local issues and more responsive to you– our constituents.
As your Precinct 4 Commissioner, I welcome the opportunity to learn from my peers across this great state as well as share with them our own accomplishments as one of the fastest growing counties in the state and the entire U.S.
Denton County is uniquely positioned to be a trendsetter in efficient and effective leadership as our population nears 1 million. We have experienced fast growth in population as well as economic development while dealing with the challenges that this last year and half have wrought.
I look forward to sharing some of what I’ve learned with you in the columns to come. Thank you for this opportunity to serve you.
If you would like to receive my e-newsletter, please contact Commissioner Edmondson at [email protected] You may phone her at 972-434-3960 or visit her office in the Southwest Courthouse, 6200 Canyon Falls Drive, Suite 901.