Nearly 600 county government officials sharpened their leadership and administrative skills at continuing education classes presented by Carl Vinson Institute of Government faculty during the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) 2013 Annual Conference last weekend.

Training sessions held at the Savannah Civic Center covered topics ranging from economic development to government law and finance and offered participants the opportunity to gain credit hours in the new ACCG Lifelong Leadership Academy.

Twelve Institute of Government faculty members led training programs or seminars during the conference, including a session that explored collaborative development opportunities among counties by Rob Gordon, who coordinates the Institute of Government’s economic development efforts, and strategic visioning expert Phillip Boyle. Institute Deputy Director Dennis Epps presented a comprehensive report about civic engagement, and management and leadership expert Gordon Maner explored with commissioners how their interactions on the board affect public trust.

Though geared toward county commissioners, the three-day conference also featured continuing education classes for a variety of other county leaders, such as county managers, attorneys, and clerks.

Retired Atlanta Braves outfielder Dale Murphy, a two-time National League Most Valuable Player, helped to open the conference by challenging county government leaders to remain open to other ideas, help others, and always keep trying.

“Get in the batter’s box regardless of what happened last time and swing for the fences every time,” Murphy said in giving the conference’s keynote address.

The Vinson Institute and ACCG recognized 56 elected officials with certificates in honor of their commitment to lifelong learning.

Heard County Commissioner Sandi Allen, Jones County Commissioner Larry Childs, and Spalding County Commissioner Gwen Flowers-Taylor received the Platinum Standard of Excellence for having engaged in 220 hours of continuing education above the requirements for the Certified Commissioners Advanced Program (CCAP). Four commissioners earned the Gold Standard of Excellence, marking 160 hours of continuing education beyond CCAP, and others were recognized for successfully completing the Silver Standard of Excellence, CCAP, and the Commissioners Training Program.


The Platinum Standard of Excellence
Sandi Allen, Heard County
Larry Childs, Jones County
Gwen Flowers-Taylor, Spalding County

The Gold Standard of Excellence
James Everett, Charlton County
Garnett “Sonny” James, Habersham County
Bruce Yates, Jackson County
Carlos Nelson, Ware County

The Silver Standard of Excellence
Scott Downing, Ben Hill County
Barry Waters, Clay County
Mike Berg, Dawson County
Robert Thomas, Elbert County
Alan Ours, Glynn County
Titus Andrews, Greene County
David Richardson, Long County
B. Keith Jones, Mitchell County
Nancy Schulz, Newton County
Melvin Davis, Oconee County
David Austin, Paulding County
Paul Van Haute, Putnam County
Dell Shingler, Seminole County
Edward Burten, Washington County
Bettye Bozeman, Worth County

Certified Commissioners Advanced Program (CCAP)
Jimmy Burnsed, Bryan County
Charles Deen, Coffee County
Paul Poole, Coweta County
Chad Henderson, Habersham County
George Moore, Unified Government of Webster County

Commissioners Training Program
Bennie Calloway, Ben Hill County
Terri Kelly, Burke County
Jeffrey Long, Catoosa County
Ronnie Sumner, Cook County
Bob Blackburn, Coweta County
Jimmy Hamby, Dawson County
Jamie Bennett, Douglas County
Harold Reynolds, Elbert County
Rusty Lane, Emanuel County
Larry Sosebee, Fannin County
Ralph Amos, Forsyth County
Liz Haussman, Fulton County
Lynette Howard, Gwinnett County
Guy Singletary, Johnson County
Robert Glaze, Lincoln County
Billy Goldman, Lincoln County
Richard Raines, Lowndes County
Jim Escoe, Madison County
Kelly Spratt, McIntosh County
Deborah Pearce, Miller County
Jason Ward, Polk County
Jimmy Loudermilk, Rabun County
Samuel Gardner, Spalding County
Raymond Ray, Spalding County
Nancy Livingston, Telfair County
Derrick Ogletree, Thomas County
Larry Mathis, Washington County
Arthur Greene, Wilcox County
Mack Sutton, Worth County