June 2020

NACE Update from Executive Director Kevan Stone

First, allow me to wish you, your family and colleagues continued good health as we navigate through a public health crisis unparalleled in modern times.  While our medical and public health professionals, along with many sectors of the public have been deemed essential, I know many if not all our member’s have received the same designation, and find themselves at work each and every day since this crisis has begun.  We salute and thank you for your continued commitment to your residents.

As you may know, the NACE office has been closed since mid-March, as staff has been working remotely.  While our office may be closed, Capitol Hill has re-opened for business (minus visitors) and has been vigilantly working on infrastructure.

As we reported last week, House Democrats have introduced the Invest in America Act, their version for a reauthorization of the FAST Act, which expires at the end of September.  As the Senate released their version last summer, we remain hopeful that significant progress can be made in the upcoming months to have this signed into law before October.  

Additionally, the Trump Administration last week released a new Executive Order intending to address project delays due to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  With the intent of expediting the economic recovery stemming from COVID-19, agency heads have been tasked with providing a plan for their agency to waive certain reviews, with these plans due to the White House at the end of the month.

Both the reauthorization and Executive Order are potential gains for NACE.  NACE has long advocated for increased funding for local infrastructure.  NACE has long advocated for more direct funding opportunities for counties.  NACE has long advocated for a streamlined federal permit process.  All these hallmark issues have been addressed favorably in the past week.  Make no mistake, there is a long way to go before these become law, but they are positive, definitive steps in the right direction.

I would like to thank those states and individuals who contributed to NACE’s best practices document, illustrating the various policies and activities our members and their departments are taking to weather the pandemic while at the same time providing the same measure of service to their county residents.  This is a prime example of NACE at its best, a member-driven organization with a knowledge depth second to none.  While we have concentrated a lot of these efforts on the federal legislative process, this pandemic has shown the dedication and commitment we have towards each other.

As President McGolpin mentioned last month, NACE staff and leadership have been hard at work addressing the financial status of the organization because of a canceled conference.  Allow me to assure you that the organizational finances are strong.  While there will be short term re-budgeting to ensure fiscal responsibility, past and present NACE leadership provided a savings landscape that will allow us to weather this pandemic, and for that, you are to be commended.

It is our hope that public health conditions will improve to a point where our state associations can once again hold their conferences, and NACE looks forward to joining you. While we are at home, however, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.  

I wish you and your colleagues good health and look forward to seeing many of you soon.

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