If you're unable to view the schedule below, please click here.


5:30 - 7:30 pm: Conference begins

President's Reception with the Exhibitors
Time Description
9 − 11 am Special District Administrator (SDA) Exam
The Special District Leadership Foundation
9 am – 4 pm Full Day Workshop CIP
Special District Leadership Academy Module 1: Governance Foundations
As the core curriculum of CSDA’s Special District Leadership Academy, this workshop serves as the “foundation” for the series on effective governance of special districts.

$225 Member | $375 Non-member
1 – 4:30 pm Half Day Workshop
Comprehensive Organizational Assessment for Special Districts
The unique organizational structure of public agencies can present a wide variety of challenges. Brent Ives, noted organizational consultant to California special districts, will present this workshop on how to assess your district. The half-day class focuses on six key areas of the organization, how to assess each and what to do to strengthen or mitigate if issues are indicated. Don’t miss this valuable course in how to optimize your District’s organizational health.

$150 Member | $200 Non-member
11:00 am – 5:00 pm CSDA Annual Golf Tournament
Blackhorse Golf Course
$125 includes golf with cart, lunch and prizes!
12:45 – 4:30 pm Monterey Regional Waste Management District (MRWMD) Tour

MRWMD has been recognized as one of the “Best Solid Waste Systems in North America.”

For 60 years, MRWMD has been a leader in the waste management industry with infrastructure, technology and programs in place to maximize waste diversion (reuse and recycling) for the Monterey Peninsula jurisdictions.

The tour will show you a model of a successful integrated waste management system. During the tour you will visit an active landfill and get a close look at some of the MRWMD resource recovery facilities and programs including:

  • A state of the art, Smartferm Anaerobic Digestor (first of its type in the U.S.)
  • A 100,000 sq.ft. Materials Recovery Program
  • A Landfill Gas to Energy Plant that produces five megawatts of energy
  • A compost operation that composts over 20,000 tons of green waste annually
  • One of the largest reuse stores in the region, the Last Chance Mercantile

$25 per person includes transportation to/from hotel

Only registered CSDA conference attendees or registered guests are eligible to attend. Register early, space is limited.

11:45 am – 3:45 pm

Elkhorn Slough Safari™ and Moss Landing Harbor District Tour

Elkhorn Slough Safari™ is an exciting way to visit Elkhorn Slough, where you will see a fantastic variety of wildlife such as playful sea otters, curious harbor seals, sea lions and hundreds of species of birds. The tour will provide excellent opportunities to view and photograph wildlife close at hand.

These two-hour boat cruises include an in-depth look at various aspects of slough ecology, fascinating history and birding in the company of a naturalist guide.

$48 per person includes transportation to/from hotel and Elkhorn Slough Safari™

Time Description
7:30 am – 3:00 pm Exhibitor Showcase Open
7:30 – 8:30 am Coffee with the Exhibitors (Raffle)
9:00 – 10:45 am Opening Keynote
Mike Abrashoff, Former Navy Commander and Author of It’s Your Ship

It’s Your Ship – An inspiring story of innovative leadership and organizational transformation, Mike Abrashoff took command of the worst-performing ship in the fleet and made it #1 by changing his leadership style and the culture–not the crew.

When Mike Abrashoff took command of the USS Benfold, the ship’s performance ranked at rock-bottom. Worse–the crew didn’t feel safe should they be called into action. Determined to improve performance, but without the power to hire, fire or promote personnel, Abrashoff focused on what he could change: the ship’s culture. His innovative approach broke from the traditional command-and-control leadership style and sought to see the ship from the eyes of his crew–creating a guiding set of principles he calls Grassroots Leadership. His results-oriented approach equips organizations with the strategies, tactics and tools necessary to unleash innovation, lead significant change and increase operational performance.

Continental Breakfast during presentation.
11:00 am – 12:15 pm Breakout Sessions
  • Media Relations: Surviving and Thriving When Dealing with the Media, Communication Advantage
  • Mandate Reimbursements: What’s Still Available and When Will You Get Paid? Nichols Consulting
  • Understanding the New GASB Pension Standards and What it Means to Your District, Brown Armstrong Accountancy
  • Best Practices in Board Protocols, Policies & Procedures, BHI Management Consulting
  • The People’s Business – Public Meeting Law (Ralph M. Brown Act) and the Public Records Act, Liebert Cassidy Whitmore
  • Social Media in the Workplace – A Trap for the Unwary but It’s Here to Stay, Nossaman, LLP
12:15 – 1:30 pm Lunch on Your Own (Exhibit Hall Open)
1:30 – 3:00 pm Exhibitor Showcase Finale – Dessert/Grand Prizes
3:15 – 4:30 pm Super Session
Malcom Kushner
Leading with Laughter: How U.S. Presidents Use Humor to Relate, Motivate, and Communicate – And How You Can Too!

Humor is a powerful leadership tool. It can command attention, create rapport and make ideas more memorable. It can also relieve tension, defuse conflict and motivate people – if it’s used appropriately. In this program, you will learn simple, proven humor techniques to become a more effective leader – even if you can’t tell a joke.

Malcolm and eight former U.S. presidents will show you how:
  • Ronald Reagan defused a tough question with humor.
  • Richard Nixon created rapport with laughter.
  • George Bush demonstrated simple humor techniques.
  • Jimmy Carter scored points poking fun at himself.
  • Gerald Ford got a 28 second laugh -- on purpose!
(All registered attendees welcome)
3:15 – 4:30 pm Specialized Sessions
  • Mitigating for Species, Water and Other Natural Resource Impacts of Public Agency Projects: A Holistic Approach, Best Best & Krieger
  • Cellular Antennas on Special District Property: The Opportunity and the Risk, Best Best & Krieger
  • Navigating Your Way through Bid Protests, Meyers Nave
7:00 – 9:00 pm Special Event
An Evening at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Join other CSDA members and friends as we enjoy a strolling dinner at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Dine beside the awe-inspiring Kelp Forest exhibit for a diver’s-eye-view of sardines, leopard sharks, wolf-eels and a host of other fishes as they weave through swaying fronds of kelp, just like they do in the wild. Or experience the elegance of the Marine Mammal Gallery where spectacular life-size models of dolphins and whales swim overhead. You can also choose to sit by the Great Tide Pool doors, where you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of Monterey Bay. Then step outside to watch sea life, a sunset or stars from our Great Tide Pool deck.

Be sure to add this optional event to your conference registration. The first 150 registered conference attendees are eligible to purchase tickets at a special reduced rate of only $55. Regular pricing is $110. Includes admission to the Monterey Bay Aquarium during the event, dinner, drink tickets, transportation and entertainment.

(Optional, Limited Space, Register Early!)
Time Description
8:30 – 9:00 am SDRMA Sponsored Full Plated Breakfast (All registered attendees welcome)
9:00 – 10:45 am SDRMA Keynote
SDRMA General Session, Safety Awards, Keynote
Charles Marshall – “The Character Question – How Character Impacts Business and Community”
Having good character isn’t just a good idea; it is the skeleton upon which all your financial, emotional, physical, spiritual, and relational success is built. In a conversational and colloquial manner, Charles manages to deliver difficult principles in a humorous fashion. Charles will share how character is built and reveal the importance of integrity, persistence, courage and discipline in your lives.
11:00 am – 12:00 pm CSDA Finance Corporation Board and Annual Meeting
11:00 am – 12:00 pm Breakout Sessions
  • Secret Agent: Understanding Potential
  • Liability Exposures to Your Agency from the Acts or Omissions of Employees and Volunteers, SDRMA
  • AB 1234 Required Ethics Training Part 1, Meyers Nave
  • The New Normal: Impacts of Recent Court Decisions on Assessments, Best Best & Krieger and Willdan & Associates
  • California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Reform: Threat to Environmental Protection or Long Overdue, Meyers Nave and City of Dublin
  • Local Agency Formation Commissions 101: A Primer for Special Districts on the Powers and Responsibilities of LAFCOs, Meyers Nave and California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions
  • The Great Board – Best Practices for Board Development, BHI Management Consulting
12:15 – 1:30 pm CSDA Annual Awards Luncheon

Join us as we celebrate the best of special districts with awards including: Board President of the Year, General Manager of the Year, the prestigious William Hollingsworth Award of Excellence, Chapter of the Year, Special District Leadership Foundation (SDLF) Awards and more!

(All registered attendees welcome)
1:45 – 2:45 pm Breakout Sessions
  • Workers’ Compensation Update – Discussion of Updates in Workers’ Compensation Reform and the Effect on Claims Handling Situation, York Risk Services
  • Liability Claims – FEHA/CRFA Accommodations and the Good Faith Interaction Process, SDRMA
  • AB1234 Required Ethics Training Part 2, Meyers Nave
  • Why You Can’t Afford NOT to Prefund OPEB!, PARS
  • Getting to YES: Gaining Voter & Community Approval to Fund Critical Projects, The Lew Edwards Group and Godbe Research
  • Pay or Play - Practical Ways to Implement Health Care Reform and Avoid Penalties, Hanson Bridgett LLP
3:00 – 4:30 pm Breakout Sessions
  • Board Member Liability Issues, SDRMA
  • Reserves: Prudent Measures to Assure the Long-Term Solvency of Your District, Panel of CSDA Finance Corporation consultants and special district management staff
  • Working with a Virtual Workforce, CPS HR Consulting
  • Designing a Public Works Contract that Protects Your District, ACEC California, Burke Williams Sorensen, and Morris, Polich & Purdy
  • The Exceptional Agency: How to Assure Your Agency’s Mission is Fulfilled, Rauch Communications
  • Can’t We All Just Get Along? -- LAFCOs’ Power to Initiate Changes of Organization Affecting Special Districts, California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions
5:30 – 7:30 pm Evening Event
Special District Leadership Foundation (SDLF)
“Taste of the City” Event

Join us at a special reception at the Museum of Monterey, just steps away from the Marriott on Custom House Plaza. This museum tells the stories of Monterey County in all its diversity with an emphasis on history, arts, innovation and maritime heritage.

Attendees at this reception will have the opportunity to participate in the Special District Leadership Foundation (SDLF) silent auction to raise funds for scholarships for the Special District Leadership Academy programs.

A special wine raffle will also be held at 7:00 pm Be sure to purchase tickets throughout the conference for the chance to win a deluxe 35 bottle wine cellar fully stocked with 35 bottles of wine…almost a $1000 value. You must be present to win! SDLF is an independent, non-profit organization formed to promote good governance and best practices among California’s special districts through certification, accreditation and other recognition programs. The SDLF and its activities are supported through the California Special Districts Association and Special District Risk Management Authority.

(All registered attendees welcome)
Time Description
8:30 – 10 am Breakout Sessions
  • Chapter Roundtable Discussion
  • From Typewriters to iPads: Communication Across Generations, Mejorando Group
  • Hiring Retired Annuitants: The Impact of the PEPRA of 2013, Liebert Cassidy Whitmore
  • Board and Staff Roles in Local Government, Rauch Communications
  • A Sustainable Competency-Based Training Solution That Works - A District’s Perspective, Union Sanitary District
  • Let’s Be Clear: Plain Language for Local Government, Burke Williams Sorensen
10:15 am – 12:00 pm Closing Brunch

Legislative Roundup: What 2013 in the Capitol Means for Your District in 2014

CSDA’s advocacy team will present attendees with the most up-to-date information on the outcome of the biggest state budget and legislative issues impacting special districts in 2013. This year included major proposals on property taxes, new “green” revenue opportunities, updates to CEQA, more transparency and accountability efforts and the implementation of public employee pension reforms. Get all the latest legislative results and learn what they mean for special districts going forward.

Great Experience

The CSDA conference was a great experience. I learned relevant and important information that has improved my ability as a board director. Networking opportunities were useful and fun. I will definitely come back next year!

Liz Buda, Isla Vista Recreation and Park District