I’m honored to be AOC’s president for the next twelve months. I’ve been active in this organization since I first took office twelve years ago, and I deeply appreciate all it does to help counties fulfill their core mission of public service. I plan to use this forum to communicate with you regularly about the Association and our work.

We’ve just wrapped up a great annual conference in Eugene, and I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback about the change in format. Instead of building the program around steering committee meetings, we had topic-drive workshops of varying links. I heard from several of you that you liked the variety and flexibility. If you haven’t provided feedback to the board or staff yet, please know that we’d like to hear from you.

The conference is always a bittersweet time, as we say farewell to long-serving colleagues who are leaving elective office. The turnover was greater than usual this year. There are 120 commissioners and county judges in Oregon, and 31 of them who will be in office at the beginning of the New Year weren’t there when 2016 began. Executive Director Mike McArthur calculated that the departing crew represents 300 years of experience. In the 2014 cycle, we saw 150 years of experience depart.

These folks have been trusted colleagues, and often, friends. When you work side-by-side with people for so long, it’s natural to form close bonds. We’re privileged to be part of a pretty exclusive club, and it’s good to be abl