President's Corner

Harry Lange

Harry Lange

Exciting Times Lie Ahead

Thank you for the honor you have bestowed upon me to represent you and ACCG as your president for 2018-2019. It is not a responsibility I take lightly and I will attempt to wear this title with respect, dignity and availability.

I have prepared for this role having worked my way “up the ladder,” serving nine years on the Board of Managers, including five years on the Executive Committee. I have also served 18 years as a county commissioner in Harris County, including 15 as chairman. Even with this experience, there are always new challenges, new things to learn, and opportunities to interact with new people.

One of the constants in life is change. It occurs in our personal, business and political lives. Change can be good or bad, in varying degrees, and it tests our ability to manage. As elected county officials, it is our duty and responsibility to constantly review and evaluate the policies, ordinances and operations of our county government. As our communities are constantly changing and growing, the laws in which we govern change frequently. Other influences that affect the way we govern also change. With so many varying factors that impact our role as county officials affected by change, it is extremely important that we are proactive in our planning efforts. If we find our efforts lacking, inefficient, outdated or just plain wrong, we must take action to make them better. We are always facing new situations, new challenges and new opportunities to make things better for our counties and citizens. We must not only react, but we must also be proactive in positioning our counties to meet the challenges ahead, many of which we cannot foresee.

Such sentiments remain true as they relate to my new role as president of ACCG. ACCG is a very well respected organization throughout the state, in and around the Capitol in Atlanta, among our peer organizations throughout the nation and at the National Association of Counties. A lot of time and hard work has brought us to this place and our steps must not falter as we strive to maintain that reputation.

Early in our new fiscal year, we are going through the annual change of commissioners in new roles within our counties and within the leadership roles of ACCG with the new Board of Managers. This year we have the added change of a new Executive Director with Dave Wills at the helm.

Your leadership within the Board of Managers and the ACCG staff are excited about our future. We eagerly anticipate what lies ahead. At the same time, it provides us the opportunity to review our guiding principles, our management practices and to plan and orchestrate our vision for the future of ACCG.

Under the leadership of Immediate Past President Allen Poole, some of that work has started and we will continue that journey throughout the coming months. Periodically, we review our bylaws and, as you are aware, this has been done and the changes were voted on at our recent annual conference. Our new Executive Director is looking deeply into all facets of our operations and will be bringing his findings, thoughts and proposals to your Board of Managers for their knowledge, review and possible action.

One change that has already been adopted is the reinstatement of the fall ACCG District Meetings, which are held in each district as opposed to combining some districts. There were mixed opinions as to the effectiveness of the combined meetings so the Board has decided to return to individual District Meetings. I look forward to traveling to each District this fall and meeting more of you and learning more about all the areas of our great state.

Perhaps the most important change that we hope becomes readily apparent to you is making the operations of ACCG more transparent to all of you. This will begin with the Executive Director and will include your Executive Committee, the Board of Managers and all committees that comprise the totality of ACCG. The Board of Managers values transparency. I am proud to report that new efforts to achieve such with our members and the association staff received the Board’s 100 percent approval. With your support and increased involvement, I look forward to the exciting times that lie ahead.

As commissioners, we have an awesome responsibility and I am certain you are up to the task. I want to close with a quote from Samuel Johnson that should speak to us all. “Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.” Without doubt, we should all strive to have the utmost integrity and knowledge to make it a strong combination.