VACo 2021 Annual Conference Recap

Thank you for attending the VACo 2021 Annual Conference. We enjoyed being together to learn, to share experiences, and to do the business of VACo. On this page you’ll find breakout session presentations and videos. Again, thank you for joining us at the 87th Annual Conference. Please let us know how we can help.



Meg Bohmke Elected VACo President for 2021-22



VACo 2022 Legislative Program | Adopted by VACo Membership on November 16, 2021



2021 Annual Conference Sponsors, Partners and Associate Members | List of Annual Conference Exhibitors | Exhibit Hall Tour


Annual Conference Open General Session and Closing General Session


City of Norfolk Police Honor Guard Presents the Colors | Session Video



US Senator Tim Kaine | Session Video



Governor Ralph Northam | Session Video



NACo President Larry Johnson | Session Video



Dr. John Thomas | Managing Partner | DecideSmart | Session Video


Breakout Sessions

OPPORTUNITIES IN THE 2022-2024 BIENNIUM BUDGET | Session Video (There is no audio from the 2-minute mark to the 20-minute mark)

MODERATOR: The Honorable Ashley Chriscoe, Supervisor, Gloucester County

SPEAKER: James J. Regimbal, Jr., Principal, Fiscal Analytics | PRESENTATION

A major element of the 2022 General Assembly session will be the consideration and adoption of a new biennium budget, which is expected to include decisions about the remaining federal relief funding provided to the state through the American Rescue Plan Act, in addition to the appropriation of state General Fund dollars.  This session will provide an overview of economic conditions influencing spending decisions and opportunities to improve the state-local funding partnership. Session Video


THE FUTURE OF ENERGY IN VIRGINIA | Session Video

MODERATOR: The Honorable Charles A. Stacy, Supervisor, Tazewell County

SPEAKERS: The Honorable Thomas K. Norment, Jr., 3rd Senate District; William L. Murray, Senior Vice President – Corporate Affairs and Communications, Dominion Energy

Landmark legislation adopted in 2020 has embarked the Commonwealth on a journey of achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions from electric utilities by the middle of this century. This transformation of the energy sector will result in a wholesale change in not only how energy is produced, but how it is delivered. For example, significant investments in solar and wind facilities, combined with a substantial “rebuilding” of the electric grid system, presents both opportunities and challenges for county officials grappling with how to integrate these changes within the local landscape and economy.  This session will provide both a legislative and industry perspective on what the future holds, and what Virginia’s counties can expect in the coming decades to help them prepare for these changes. Session Video


COLLECTIVE BARGAINING IN VIRGNIA: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW | Session Video

MODERATOR: Tim Hemstreet, County Administrator, Loudoun County

SPEAKERS: The Honorable Jennifer B. Boysko, 33rd Senate District; Cynthia E. Hudson, Esquire, Sands Anderson PC | PRESENTATION; Eric Paltell, Esquire, Kollman & Saucier PA

Legislation took effect on May 1, 2021, allowing local governments and school boards throughout Virginia to enact ordinances that allow their employees to form unions and engage in collective bargaining agreements with their employers. Though long established in other states, the new law grants flexibility to Virginia’s local government employers as to how they define bargaining units, set the terms and conditions of the bargaining process, and resolve impasses. This session will discuss factors that local governments should reflect upon should they consider opting into collective bargaining with their employees. Session Video


VACo/VSBA COLLABORATIVE LEADERSHIP PROGRAM | Session Video

MODERATOR: The Honorable Ruth Larson, Supervisor, James City County

SPEAKERS: Joe Casey, County Administrator, Chesterfield County; The Honorable James Holland, Chair, Chesterfield County; The Honorable Christopher Winslow, Vice Chair, Chesterfield County; Merv Daugherty, Superintendent, Chesterfield County School Board; The Honorable Ryan Harter, Chair, Chesterfield County School Board; The Honorable Ann Coker, Vice Chair, Chesterfield County School Board

The Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) and the Virginia School Board Association (VSBA) are launching a collaborative leadership pilot program at the VACo Annual Conference, with the focus of bringing members of the boards of supervisors and school boards together to strengthen relationships and create opportunities for discussion and collaboration on behalf of citizens. Session Video


BUILDING A BETTER BROADBAND | Session Video

MODERATOR: The Honorable Victor S. Angry, Supervisor, Prince William County

SPEAKERS: The Honorable Jennifer B. Boysko, 33rd Senate District; The Honorable C.E. Cliff Hayes, Jr., 77th House District; Robert A. Crum, Jr., Executive Director, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission | PRESENTATION

Access to the world wide web is essential to both business and social infrastructure. Without access to fast, reliable, and affordable internet service, individuals, families, and whole regions struggle to thrive. This session will explore what opportunities exist to leverage federal, state, private and local capital to build the necessary infrastructure of what is an essential utility for the 21st century. Session Video


TAX POLICY AND STATE BUDGET PRIORITIES: A PERSPECTIVE FROM THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY | Session Video

MODERATOR:  The Honorable Jeffrey C. McKay, President, Virginia Association of Counties and Chairman, Fairfax County

SPEAKERS:  The Honorable Emmett W. Hanger, Jr., 24th Senate District; The Honorable Vivian E. Watts, 39th House District

In addition to major decisions facing the General Assembly in developing spending priorities for the 2022-2024 biennium budget, several proposals are under consideration in legislative workgroups and studies to revise Virginia’s tax structure.  Key policymakers will discuss tax reform proposals, as well as top priorities for the 2022-2024 biennium budget. Session Video


NAVIGATING THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF THE CHILDREN’S SERVICES ACT | Session Video

MODERATOR:  The Honorable Lee Frame, Supervisor, Orange County

SPEAKERS:  The Honorable T. Montgomery Mason, 1st Senate District; The Honorable Meg Bohmke, President-Elect, Virginia Association of Counties and Supervisor, Stafford County; Scott Reiner, Executive Director, Office of Children’s Services | PRESENTATION

Significant revisions to the Children’s Services Act were enacted in 2021 in response to the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission’s 2020 study, with further changes to the structure and funding of the program under consideration.  In addition, the recent implementation of major changes to federal funding for foster care presents challenges and opportunities in serving children and families through CSA.  Join state and local leaders for a discussion of what these changes mean for local governments. Session Video


SNAPSHOTS OF INNOVATIVE COUNTY PROGRAMS | Session Video

MODERATOR: Dr. Sheryl Bailey, Visiting Professor of Practice, Virginia Tech, and former Chesterfield County Deputy County Administrator

SPEAKERS: Dr. Monica Manns, Chief Equity, Diversity and Opportunity Officer; Henrico County | PRESENTATION | VIDEO; Tamara Highsmith, Strategy & Performance Coordinator, Chesterfield County | PRESENTATION; Jerry West, Director of Parks and Recreation, Nelson County; William Shepley, County Administrator, Grayson County; Emily Kilroy, Director of Communications and Public Engagement, Albemarle County

An important objective of the VACo Achievement Awards Program is to celebrate innovative and smart solutions to challenges in our counties. This session shares the creative work from county leadership and staff as Achievement Award winners tell their stories on how they overcame challenges. Session Video


CIVILITY AND LEADERSHIP IN POLITICS | Session Video

MODERATOR: Dean Lynch, Executive Director, Virginia Association of Counties and Chris McDonald, Director of Government Relations, Virginia Association of Counties

SPEAKERS: The Honorable Terry Kilgore, 1st House District; Larry Roberts, Director, Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia

In an era in which our political divides seem further apart and stronger than ever, it is critically important to find common ground, respect the civility of one another, and continue to work to improve the lives of the citizens of the Commonwealth.  This session will explore ways government officials at all levels can embrace civility and bridge divides in order to achieve a greater good. Session Video


THE FUTURE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN VIRGINIA | Session Video

SPEAKER: Stephen Moret, President and CEO, Virginia Economic Development Partnership | PRESENTATION

The last several years have brought unprecedented change to Virginia when it comes to economic development, in terms of priorities, tactics, geographic diversity, opportunities, and more.  This session will focus on what comes next with economic development in the Commonwealth.  Speakers will provide a broad array of information while lending perspectives from both state and local government. Session Video


K-12 EDUCATION FUNDING AND INITIATIVES | Session Video

MODERATOR: The Honorable Meg Bohmke, President-Elect, Virginia Association of Counties and Supervisor, Stafford County

SPEAKERS: The Honorable Barbara A. Favola, 31st Senate District

Providing the local share of K-12 education funding is one of the single largest responsibilities of local governments in the Commonwealth. Teacher compensation, school construction and modernization, and mandates from the Standards of Quality all require significant investments, which local governments often support but struggle to meet. This session will discuss factors that local governments should reflect upon as the General Assembly considers new opportunities and initiatives for K-12 education. Session Video