Twenty-four county leaders and one state association executive director came to New York City last week from counties as near as Westchester County, N.Y., and as far as Santa Barbara, CA, to complete the 6th Annual County Leadership Institute (CLI). This rigorous four-day program - developed by New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and the National Association of Counties (NACo) - focused on how elected county officials can exercise leadership to address the complex challenges facing counties.

“At the very heart of the Wagner School’s approach to public service education is a commitment to learning from both theory and practice,” said Ellen Schall, dean of NYU Wagner. “The County Leadership Institute embodies this approach. These county leaders not only discussed the core principles of public service leadership with prominent experts, they also collaborated intensively with each other to develop new ways to attack real-life issues of importance to the citizens of their counties.”

CLI participants heard a number of unique perspectives on how they might exercise creative leadership on difficult challenges. Wagner Adjunct Professor Angela Terry discussed how to build and sustain collaborations. In addition, Ruth Nybro, NACO’s Director of Education and Training facilitated a roundtable conversation - involving executives from ESRI, NACO’s Financial Services Corporation, and Freddie Mac - about how to address “Public and Private Leadership in Recovery.”

Marty Linsky, Harvard Kennedy School faculty member and Co-Founder of the global leadership development firm Cambridge Leadership Associates, whose newest is faculty director for the Institute. Linsky led participants through discussions examining the book, “The Practice of Adaptive Leadership,” has just been published by Harvard Business Press, challenges elected officials face when they attempt to mobilize people to address tough issues. “Leadership that surfaces conflict, questions long-held beliefs and demands new ways of doing things inevitably creates disturbances,” said Linsky. “This Institute is designed to help elected county officials skillfully and successfully lead necessary change in these difficult times.”

“We’re very happy that our partnership with NYU has been so successful,” said Larry Naake, executive director of NACo. “The county officials who participate in the institute get information, ideas, and perspectives they can’t get anywhere else.”

The participants in this year’s County Leadership Institute were:

  • Mary Accor, Kings Mountain, NC
  • Julie Acton, Pennsville, NJ
  • Jose Alvarado, Westchester, NY
  • John Baerg, Butterfield, MN
  • David Brady, Minden, NV
  • Salud Carbajal, Santa Barbara, CA
  • Greg Chilcott, Hamilton, MT
  • Cindy Domenico, Boulder, CO
  • Audrey Edmonson, Miami, FL
  • Steve Grasty, Burns, OR
  • Patti Hamilton, Charleston, WV
  • Chris Harris, Forest Hills, KY
  • Don “Bud” Hover, Okanogan, WA
  • Jonathan LaBonte, Auburn, ME
  • Tim Lee, Marietta, GA
  • Christian Lienbach, Reading, PA
  • Gail W. Mahoney, Jackson, MI
  • Carl Mattes, Humboldt, IA
  • P. Bret Millburn, Farmington, UT
  • Manuel Ruiz, Nogales, AZ
  • Preston Scroggin, Conway, AK
  • MaryAnn Sedillo, Silver City, NM
  • Sandra Treme, DeQincy, LA
  • Gene Wallace, Muskogee, OK
  • Ron Watson, Clarksburg, WV

About NYU Wagner
Established in 1938, the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service offers advanced programs leading to the professional degrees of Master of Public Administration, Master of Urban Planning, Master of Science in Management, and Doctor of Philosophy. Through these rigorous programs, NYU Wagner educates the future leaders of public, nonprofit, and health institutions as well as private organizations serving the public sector.

About NACo
The National Association of Counties (NACo) is a full-service organization that provides legislative, research, technical and public affairs assistance to county governments. Created in 1935, NACo continues to ensure that the nation’s 3,068 counties are heard and understood in the White House and Congress.

Press Contact

Robert Polner
Robert Polner
(212) 998-2337