Sessions

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Speakers

Neil Sheridan

MTA Executive Director

MTA

Sheridan has a rich background in local government, beginning as a teenager and then being a member of the Groveland Township (Oakland Co.) Planning Commission and its Board of Review for 12 years. He has helped lead numerous Michigan efforts focused on regional economic development. Sheridan co-authored an economic strategy with Public Sector Consultants for the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) called “Accelerating Growth,” which Gov. Gretchen Whitmer later said she would use in her administration. Previously, he led a group of 80 townships, cities, nonprofits, businesses and governments to produce a comprehensive economic development game plan for coordination with the state and federal governments.

Sheridan was president of SVPI, an advisory and management services corporation active internationally. He has worked with hundreds of corporations, nonprofits, foundations, governments and small businesses on strategy, innovation and performance improvement initiatives. He is a past member of the SBAM board of directors and previously led an SBAM Legislative Action Committee task force. Additionally, he’s served on healthcare, community development, cultural and foundation boards for many years.

Sheridan is also a researcher on leadership and innovation. He has taught workshops and courses at Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and others on strategy, marketing, management and entrepreneurship.

Cindy Dodge

MTA Member Information Liaison

Michigan Townships Association

MTA Member Information Liaison Cindy Dodge joined MTA in 2006 from Williamstown Township in Ingham County where she served as Clerk since 2005. She has been involved with the township since 2003 as assistant to the supervisor, planning commissioner, and assistant to the planning commission. She is currently a Michigan Certified Assessing Officer. Via phone, fax and e-mail, Cindy provides township officials and employees with information and resources regarding the day-to-day functions of township government. She is also the Association liaison for MTA county chapters, develops MIS Department resource materials, and presents workshop and Conference sessions as well as teaching live and recorded webinar courses.

Jeff Anderson

Regional Director

Michigan Class

Jeff serves as a Regional Director of Marketing for Michigan CLASS. Prior to joining Michigan CLASS, Jeff most recently served as the Finance Director and Deputy Treasurer for Delta Charter Township where his responsibilities included accounting, auditing, annual budget preparation, purchasing, portfolio management, and many other finance related duties for the last 15 years. He additionally served as the Accounting Manager for Neogen Corporations, a publicly traded bio-tech company in the Lansing area. Jeff received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Western Michigan University.

Jeff is an active member of the Michigan Municipal Treasurers’ Association, the Michigan Governmental Finance Officers Association, and the Knights of Columbus. Jeff has enjoyed teaching municipal budgeting classes for the MMTA and other municipal organizations over the last several years. He previously served on the Michigan CLASS Board of Trustees for six years.

Nancy Ohle

Organizational Development Consultant

Nancy Ohle has been a leader and mentor in local government Strategic Planning, Leadership Development, Performance Management, and neutral facilitation for over 25 years. Her consulting and executive coaching partnerships have spanned townships, municipalities, public utilities, school systems, non-profits, and Fortune 100 industries. She is a frequent speaker for groups across the country, as well as a sought-after facilitator, coach, and consultant.

Judy Allen

Director of Government Relations

MTA

As director, Judy oversees MTA’s legislative efforts to advocate on legislation impacting township government. She represents the interests of MTA members before the Legislature and the administration.  

Judy began working for MTA in 2012 and has previous experience working with state and local governments. Prior to coming to MTA, Judy served as Director of Government and Community Services of Oakland Schools, where she advocated on behalf of 28 districts in Lansing and Washington, D.C. Judy has also served as Chief of Staff to the Senate Majority Leader and was later appointed by then Gov. John Engler to serve as Chairperson of the Michigan State Liquor Control Commission.

Rob Thall

Attorney & MTA Legal Counsel

Bauckham Sparks Thall Seeber & Kaufman P.C.

After receiving his law degree from Cooley Law School, Robert Thall joined the law firm of Bauckham, Sparks, Thall, Seeber & Kaufman, PC, in which he is now partner. With extensive experience in municipal law, Rob serves as general or special counsel to many general townships, charter townships, as well as sewer and water authorities throughout the state. Rob is also lead counsel for MTA and is a frequent author and speaker for MTA and other municipal groups around the state. 

Ron Liscombe

Attorney, Principal

Miller Canfield

Ron Liscombe is an attorney and principal with Miller Canfield. He has deep knowledge of state and local government, having worked in a variety of policy and program management roles prior to joining the firm, including Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Lakeland, FL, policy counsel in the Executive Office of the State of Michigan, and an associate attorney at a local law firm representing both public and private sector clients. 

Mary Gladstone-Highland

MPA, CFRE, CNP

Spark Group Consulting

Spark Group Consulting was founded by Mary Gladstone-Highland. Mary is a Certified Nonprofit Professional with fourteen years of experience leading organizations. Mary is a graduate of the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She holds a Master of Public Administration and a Certificate in Advanced Study in Conflict and Collaboration. She is also a Certified Fund Raising Executive and has raised over $3.4 million for numerous organizations over the past five years. Mary is skilled at analyzing large amounts of information to find creative solutions to complex problems. She strives to use an asset-based approach in every situation.

Christina Wichert, MA

Spark Group Consulting

Christina Wichert is a mission-focused nonprofit professional with over a decade of working in multi-cultural environments, and seven years working internationally. She holds a Masters of Arts from American University in Washington DC, with a concentration in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. She also holds a graduate certificate in Sustainable Development from the American University in Cairo, Egypt. Her experience includes delivering conflict analysis, interactive conflict intervention, and facilitating Problem Solving Workshops as a conflict resolution strategy. As well she is skilled in dialogue facilitation; strategic planning for sustainability; and program design, development and evaluation.

Catherine McClary

Treasurer

Washtenaw County

Catherine McClary was first elected Washtenaw County Treasurer in 1996. As Treasurer, McClary is a constitutional officer with authority to receipt and reconcile all County revenues and to manage the County’s investments. By State law, she is mandated to collect delinquent property taxes, including foreclosing on property with unpaid taxes. Prior to serving as Treasurer, McClary built a solid reputation as a stockbroker and investment banker. She served as Chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners. She is a member of various professional associations and volunteers for a number of community organizations.

Overview

MTA retreats offer education tailored to your role in your township

No one understands townships or your roles and responsibilities like the Michigan Townships Association. That’s why we’ve created our unique Professional Development Retreats offering more than 10 hours of intensive learning targeting the challenges (and opportunities!) you face while providing the information you need to succeed. Whether you've been in township government for 2 years or 22 years, you can’t afford to miss these intensive learning (and networking!) events designed specifically for your role as a township official. Sessions offered include:

Accounting Software: Why it Matters
A great accounting system presents information clearly, so you can find what you need when you need it. It also helps ensure accuracy, from the time of transaction to the final report of financial statements. Join this lively discussion on ‘hows and whys’, review who does what, when and explore ideas on what software can do to lighten your load. 

Increasing Your Investment IQ
Review basic investment strategies and identify lawful investments for township funds. Learn more about what your township’s investment policy should cover and get tips on the concept of liquidity. Walk away with insights (and lessons learned!) when it comes to investing in a low  interest rate environment.

Managing Adversity & Hostility
We all encounter unreasonable people, whether it’s an unhappy resident or a board member with an opposing view. It’s easy to let those challenging individuals impact our attitude. Learn how to avoid personalizing others’ behavior (and comments!) and maintain self-control to
avoid escalating the problem. Get strategies for winning better rapport, cooperation and respect. 

State and Local Relationships ... and Your Role
Do you know, on average, the number of bills introduced each legislative session that impact local authority? The percentage is higher than you might think. Often these bills limit local control—sometimes they even eliminate it! Learn what you can do to shape future laws and
make a positive impact. You will gain an overview of the legislative process while also learning key principles of advocacy success—interactions with legislators and their staff and strategizing for both short- and long-term advocacy success.

What Treasurers Need to Know About Personnel Management
Review the most effective (and easiest!) ways to keep track of your township’s employee information and to comply with record retention schedules, confidentiality and privacy laws. We’ll examine the most common recordkeeping issues and best practices for personnel management to help keep your township in compliance. 

Delinquent Personal Property Tax Review
Collecting personal property taxes, particularly when they become delinquent, is challenging and difficult. Learn the property owner’s responsibility for reporting personal property and possible penalties for not reporting. Review tools for collecting personal property taxes when
businesses move or close. Gain insight on the correct procedure for collecting delinquent personal property taxes, including small claims court and seizure, and striking uncollectable taxes. 

Understanding Special Assessments
Learn the ins and outs of special assessments, from procedures necessary to establish enforceable special assessments for public infrastructure projects to the provision of police, fire or ambulance services. Discussion includes the treasurer’s role when it comes to collecting special assessments as well as recent court decisions holding certain special assessment contracts unenforceable (discover why and how to avoid this precarious situation!).

Grants: You’ve Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers
Before you invest time, energy and effort, it is important to understand the process and adjust your expectations accordingly. Gain insights into the many steps involved, from resources to research and preparation to proposal. Discussion includes insights into reporting and uses.

Tax Collection Insights from the County
Your county treasurer is an integral part of your tax collection team! Working together helps you get a handle on reporting and deadlines, keeps settlement on track and so much more. Spend some time walking in a county treasurers shoes and take away tips for strengthening your tax collection team.

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