Monday, April 17
Assessors Renewal: Assessing Your Relationships
8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
(Pending approval by the State Tax Commission for four hours of assessors elective credit)
A relationship is a connection between people. It means being on the same team and maintaining trust. Strong relationships facilitate our ability to resolve conflicts and issues in a calm, respectful manner. Assessors are challenged to communicate things that may be hard for taxpayers to hear. Communication may be the key, but in today’s post-pandemic world, how we communicate has changed. We’re having less (and less!) face-to-face communications, which underscores the importance of assessing, and cultivating, our relationships. Why is that important in the assessing world? Come find out! This session reviews actionable ways that you, as an assessor, can demonstrate tried and true tips for improving the relationships with the municipalities you serve and your peers in the assessing industry.
Speaker: Shila Kiander, Michigan Advanced Assessing Officer, Director, Mecosta County Equalization
Board Authorities, Responsibilities and Roles
9 a.m. to 3:50 p.m.
(Includes continental breakfast and lunch)
Explore aspects of township government that all township officials should know to successfully carry out their statutory and governing responsibilities and gain insights into who does what including how the township team works together to get it all done. Every board member has equal authority and responsibility at the head table. You won’t want to miss this review of your township board authority, including a deep dive into the key areas where you and your board exercise important policy decisions. This full-day class takes you in-depth on managing your township’s day-to-day operations, including handling public funds, financial reporting and so much more!
• Board authority: Who decides what a township will do—and how?
• Enabling statutes: Where do townships get their authority? What must townships do? What may a board choose to do?
• Revenue sources: How are townships funded? What options exist?
• Working with other local governments: Options for boards to make effective and productive partnerships
• Lawful expenditures: What may townships pay for?
• Administrative responsibilities: Getting things done by balancing statutory duties with township responsibilities
• Board roles: Who does what? What about duties that are not statutorily assigned?
• Township roles: Who sets the board agenda? Who is appointed Freedom of Information Act coordinator? What about the website, township security and all those other functions?
• The power of local engagement: Why it’s important, what tools you can use and how you can make a difference
Presenters: Judy Allen, MTA Director of Government Relations; Cindy Dodge, MTA Member Information Services Liaison; and Catherine Mullhaupt, MTA Staff Attorney
Managing Your Township Team
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(F-104 —6 credits; includes continental breakfast and lunch)
Every township has employees. Township board members, deputies, election workers, assessors and firefighters are employees for at least some employment purposes, and so are volunteers. Hiring, firing, discipline, compensation, and recruiting and managing volunteers are just a few areas where township officials must be knowledgeable. Learn how to craft effective township personnel policies, from the basic components to how to keep it current. Walk away with a sample personnel policy handbook that you can take back to your township to mold into your own personalized version. Preparing and implementing appropriate policies can improve morale around your township hall, help you retain quality people and, even more importantly, help your township avoid employment (or even volunteer) related risks. Get the tools you need to better manage employees, deputies, volunteers … something for everyone on your township team!
Speakers: Helen “Lizzie” Mills and Chad Karsten, Attorneys, Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PL
Excellence in Governance
MTA’s Township Governance Academy (TGA) goes beyond board meetings and budgets, enhancing your leadership skills and motivating you to take on the challenges and opportunities unique to those serving as township public servants. Regardless of your position with the township or amount of experience, the Academy will move you to a higher level of performance and make your service to your community more effective—and more rewarding. You don’t have to be enrolled in TGA to attend. If you decide to enroll after class, credit will be applied retroactively.
Legal Institute for Township Attorneys
9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
(Includes continental breakfast and lunch)
Connect with fellow municipal attorneys from across the state to discuss changes, updates and other trends affecting township government. MTA’s annual Legal Institute is the premier educational event for attorneys who serve Michigan’s townships. Your attendance keeps you on top of legal news and changes that impact local government. A registration brochure, with class descriptions, will be mailed to township attorneys in February.
Moderator: Rob Thall, MTA Legal Counsel, Bauckham, Sparks, Thall, Seeber and Kaufman, PC
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