Monday, July 27, 2015

Annual meeting highlights from the Twitter feed and app


This year’s Annual Meeting saw a jump in the use of the meeting app and Twitter as a way to keep participants updated and informed during the meeting.

Take a look below at a few of these social media highlights. Handouts and other collateral material from the meeting are here.

In celebration of the Association's 85th anniversary of service to the state's cities and towns, every municipal registrant received a complimentary copy of the book. Order one here.

Past presidents were honored for their service to the Association at a dinner on Thursday night. Former Spartanburg Mayor John Behr's service went back the furthest. He was president of the Association in 1976 and traveled from his home in Florida for the event.

Keynote speaker Rebecca Ryan wowed the 600+ registrants with insight and advice on preparing for the future beyond just 3 - 5 year strategic plans.
The Association's legislative team briefed participants on bills that passed this session. Tiger Wells explained in detail about new FOIA requirements resulting from legislation and a court case. Learn more about these here.

All the tweets from the meeting can be found here. For anyone attending the meeting, a quick survey is here.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Annual Meeting Day 2 - Lots of High Energy

Day two of the 2015 Annual Meeting started off with the business of the Association electing new officers and congratulating the most recent graduates of the Municipal Elected Officials Institute. The focus of celebrating the past and embracing the future continued through today's activities.

Next up was the unveiling of the Association's history book recognizing its 85-year history. Former Executive Director Howard Duvall spent the past seven years researching the history of the Association which resulted in the 80-page history book. 

Filled with organizational history overlaid with state and local politics, the book makes for a quick and really interesting read. All municipal registrants at the meeting received a copy of the book, and it's for sale from the Association for $25. All cities will receive a copy of the book in the next week.

The keynote speaker, Rebecca Ryan, wowed the 600+ officials gathered for opening session with her ideas about how to plan for the future beyond the basics of strategic planning. Her remarks left officials inspired and awed with her high energy aspirations for South Carolina cities and towns. Following the session, Ryan was swamped like a rock star with officials thanking her for her insights and direction.

After the keynote address, Ryan led a break-out session focusing on the Charleston metro area's long-range planning project she led last year with the business community. In a matter of three days, the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce pared hundreds of challenges for the future into  the two major priorities for the next 15 years...and a plan to meet those challenges.

At the beginning of that session, Ryan had a conversation with Mayor Joe Riley who gave his recollection of the first hours following the Emmanuel Church shootings. The room was still and silent as he recounted how the people of Charleston quickly came together in a spirit of grace and forgiveness. 

Riley said he knew his community would react with "love and unity." He noted that this type of community unity is important not only in times of tragedy like this but also when things are going well.

Afternoon sessions gave participants a chance to see demonstrations of drones, a Tesla and Microsoft products. Others participated in sessions about the sharing economy, avoiding financial pitfalls and disaster recovery.

The Achievement Awards and exhibition hall are highlights of Saturday's agenda.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Annual Meeting Day One...Lots of Learning Going On!


Every year, the Municipal Association’s Annual Meeting brings together hundreds of local elected officials and city staff for three days of learning and networking. Day one of the 2015 Annual Meeting kicked off to a great start with more than 300 local officials participating in three in-depth training sessions.


Wharf Street affordable housing in Bluffton

A group of 100+ officials took a morning field trip to Bluffton where they learned how this coastal town has grown from a sleepy fishing village to a thriving town of 15,000 attracting high tech businesses along with tourists and downtown shoppers.

Leadership was the theme of a second intensive training session. Officials learned how great leadership comes from the courage to have the dialogues that move toward solutions that unify rather than divide.

A third session focused on fine-tuning speaking skills to help leaders find new ways to connect with their audience.

Packed meeting rooms were the scene of afternoon sessions focusing on the complexities of implementing the new body worn camera legislation and lessons learned in law enforcement. Leaders from Hartsville, Hilton Head and Rock Hill shared their economic development success stories, and officials got briefings on a variety technology options to increase efficiency in their cities.

Friday’s sessions focus on celebrating the past and embracing the future that includes a look back at the Association’s 85 years of service to the state’s cities and towns.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Past successes and future trends focus of Annual Meeting this week


The Association’s Annual Meeting starts Thursday! More than 1200 municipal officials, guests, speakers and exhibitors will gather to take advantage of 40 educational and networking sessions that include topics as diverse as the “sharing economy” to contracting services and leadership training to technology planning.


This year’s meeting has an added perspective with the Association celebrating 85 years of service to the state’s cities and towns. Read about that in this month’s Columbia Business Monthly magazine. Twenty-four of the 35 living past presidents will be on hand at the meeting to share their experiences and recollections. Former Spartanburg Mayor John Baeher was president of the Association in 1972 and will be the mayor whose tenure as president goes back the farthest.

A highlight of the celebration will be the introduction of a history book published by the Association. The book chronicles how the Association has grown over the years to help cities tackle increasingly challenging issues while, at the same time, also illustrates how the Association’s mission has remained the same over almost nine decades.

Futurist Rebecca Ryan’s keynote address will get local leaders thinking about what they need to do to follow today’s trends so they can be prepared for the future. Eight 15-minute “Tech Talks” throughout the meeting will give elected officials quick briefings on a variety of technology topics.

All of this....plus the Association unveils its new website with responsive design to work with all mobile devices and a much improved search engine. Lots to look forward to at the Annual Meeting!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Gov. Haley signs Uber bill


Governor Haley has signed H3525 allowing Transportation Network Companies, such as Uber and Lyft, to continue operating in the state. In January of this year, the Public Service Commission had ruled that TNCs could operate in the state only through June unless the legislature acted.

The Municipal Association was deeply involved with the negotiations to ensure that cities and towns have adequate public safety enforcement control over these companies and that the companies were taxed fairly relative to their competition.

According to the new law, the state Office of Regulatory Staff is charged with collecting a local assessment fee of 1 percent of the total gross trip fare collected from TNC passengers. ORS then distributes this revenue to the individual cities quarterly.

Local governments will enforce local traffic and parking regulations as well as other municipal laws not addressed in the Act.

To learn more about how this new law will affect individual cities, click here.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Executive sessions the focus of a recent SC Supreme Court ruling


In a recent SC Supreme Court case involving the City of North Augusta, Stephen P. Donohue sought to invalidate the city’s ordinance amending an existing redevelopment plan.

In 1996, the City of North Augusta adopted an ordinance creating a Tax Increment Finance district and Redevelopment Plan for the revitalization of the city’s riverfront. In 2013, the council amended the Redevelopment Plan to include a minor league baseball stadium, convention center, parking deck and various other structures.

The Court refused to invalidate the amended ordinance after finding that council adhered to the procedural requirements related to public notice and hearings in the state’s Freedom of Information Act. However, the Court determined that council did not satisfy the FOIA’s specific purpose requirement before going into executive session on 11 separate occasions.

The Court noted that the council's description of the purpose of the executive session as a "proposed contractual matter" wasn't specific enough to meet the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.

Although the Court did not go so far as to specifically describe what council should have included in its announcement of purpose pursuant to Section 30-4-70(a)(2), it indicated that there is a difference between the level of specificity required when stating its reasons for entering executive session pursuant to Section 30-4-70(a)(2) through (a)(4) and the level of specificity required when entering executive session pursuant to (a)(1) or (a)(5).

A council seeking to go into executive session should cite the relevant subsections of Section 30-4-70 (a) along with the required statement of the purpose, and should be more specific in that statement when going into closed meetings pursuant to (a)(2) through (a)(4). 

Read more here. Also read an Uptown article with a Q&A regarding executive sessions.