Monday, August 28, 2023


*Pre-Conference Workshop Registration Fee includes continental breakfast and lunch.  Limited class size, register early!

8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Conference Registration Hours

8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Pre-Conference Workshop Continental Breakfast

9:00 a.m.

SDLF Scramble for Scholarships Golf Tournament (Del Monte Golf Course)

Join special district elected officials, staff, and business affiliates at this optional fun event. Great golf skills are not necessary! Proceeds benefit the Special District Leadership Foundation scholarship fund.

$110 includes golf with cart, lunch, and prizes! Hurry, space is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis.

9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Pre-Conference Workshop #1:  SDLA Governance Foundations
Hilary Straus, Citrus Heights Water District

CIP Eligible

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. It is specifically designed for special district board members and meets the requirement for six hours of governance training for Special District Leadership Foundation programs.

$250 CSDA Member / $375 Non-member*

9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Pre-Conference Workshop #2:  So, You Want to Be a General Manager?
Scott Carroll, CSDM, Costa Mesa Sanitary District

This is a practical career development workshop for senior executives and emerging leaders in special districts. This action-oriented workshop includes group and panel discussions on the journey, roles, and skill sets of a general manager; identifying general manager opportunities; developing positive relations with the board, staff, and peer agency executives; and leadership best practices.

$100 CSDA Member and Non-member*

10:30 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.

Pre-Conference Tour: Elkhorn Slough Safari Boat Tour and Moss Landing Harbor District Tour

Playful sea otters, curious harbor seals, boisterous sea lions, and hundreds of bird species abound as you explore one of California's most spectacular wetlands aboard a stable, 27-foot, U.S. Coast Guard-inspected pontoon boat in a 1.5-hour tour.  Tour of Moss Landing Harbor District to follow.

$50 per person, includes transportation to/from the Convention Center and tour

Early registration is encouraged.  Limited to 25 attendees.

10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Young Professionals Pre-Conference Tour: Elkhorn Slough Kayak Tour and Moss Landing Harbor District

Join your fellow YPs (Young Professional staff and elected officials at a district ages 40 and under) for the best way to experience the wildlife and nature of Elkhorn Slough, via kayak.  The 1.5-hour kayak tour will take you to visit sea otters, harbor seals, and birds up close.  Tour of Moss Landing Harbor District to follow.  End your pre-conference day by networking with your fellow YPs over appetizers and drinks.

$90 per person, includes transportation to/from the Convention Center, tour, and post-tour happy hour.

Early registration is encouraged. Limited to 25 attendees. Due to safety, max weight is 250 lbs.

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Pre-Conference Workshop Lunch Buffet

1:30 - 3:30 p.m.

Certified Special District Manager (CSDM) Exam, Special District Leadership Foundation

(optional, must be applied for/scheduled prior to the conference, information at

3:45 – 5:15 p.m.

Chapter Roundtable Discussion

(optional, no fee but must be attending the conference)

Observe roundtable discussion among representatives from each of CSDA's more than two-dozen affiliated chapters from throughout the state. All CSDA members are welcome to attend and may participate in the question-and-answer period at the conclusion of the session.

5:15 - 7:30 p.m.

President's Reception with the Exhibitors - Conference Officially Begins!

Join us in the exhibit hall as we network with business professionals who provide all types of goods and services to special districts. Appetizers, refreshments, and entertainment are provided.

(all registered attendees welcome)

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. 
Conference Registration

7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
CSDA Board Meeting

7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Exhibitor Showcase Open

7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
Continental Breakfast in the Exhibit Hall

8:45 - 10:45 a.m.

Opening General Session and Keynote

The Heart of Leadership: The Secret & Science to Influencing & Leading During Transformation

Seth Mattison, CEO and Founder of FutureSight Labs

Leadership has always been about one thing: influence. To effectively manage transformation today, leaders must have the understanding and the skill to not only connect with the rational and logical aspects of people’s brains but also have the capacity to reach their hearts to understand what ultimately drives human behavior at the deepest level. 

As traditional hierarchies are re-examined and leadership becomes less about title, tenure, and time at the organization and more about influence, impact, and connection to their heart, our ability to develop, cultivate, and grow our personal presence and own our capacity to reveal our full selves every single day will become the new mandate for leadership in the modern era.

In this highly interactive deep-dive discussion, leadership keynote speaker Seth Mattison will shed light on these questions and add a new perspective to the conversation of leadership today by dissecting the most critical skills and competencies leaders will need to acquire to elevate their impact on the teams they’re supporting, the organizations they’re leading, and the communities they live in.

Attendees gain:

  • Perspective on the neuroscience and neuroradiology of influence and change
  • An unprecedented look at the future-ready skills and competencies to prime performance, culture, and organizational growth
  • Strategies for activating the power of empathy and attunement to drive engagement
  • Access to case studies from category-leading brands activating heart-based cultures to drive growth
  • GM of the Year
  • Board Member of the Year
  • Staff Member of the Year
  • SDLF New and Renewing CSDM and Recognition
    SDLF Essential Leadership Skills Certificate

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

ABCs of Alternative Delivery Models for Capital Improvement Projects (CIPs)

Melanie Mow Schumacher, Soquel Creek Water District

With alternative delivery models being used more frequently for capital improvement projects (CIPs), it's important to know the pros/cons of various procurement methods.  Design-build (DB) construction is a delivery method that provides an owner (special district) with a single point of contact for both the design and construction phases of the project. Unlike traditional design-bid-build (DBB), the phases overlap, and team members (owner and DB firm) collaborate throughout the process to provide successful project delivery. There are several things to consider and will be shared in the presentation:

  • What are the different types of delivery methods and the considerations/benefits/limitations of each?
  • What type of delivery model is best for the project you’re considering?
  • What type of contract should you use?
  • Do state and federal funding have implications for the type of procurement model to use?
  • Does design-build actually save time or money?
  • Do I need more staffing resources to support design-build implementation?

Public Agencies' Role in Forest Management and Keys to Successful Grant Applications

Joel Metzger, Utica Water and Power Authority
Andrew Fecko, Placer County Water Agency
Mark Egbert, Georgetown Divide & El Dorado County Resource Conservation Districts 

As landscape-scale forest management becomes increasingly important to protect our communities, water supplies, and timberlands, public agencies have a unique opportunity to take leading roles in being good stewards of our natural resources. Hear from public agency managers who are on the cutting edge of forest management in California, learn about their ongoing projects, and find out how they worked with stakeholders. Local, state, and federal grants/appropriations are critical to public agencies' ability to move forest management projects forward, and the panel will identify preferred funding sources and share the keys to successful grant applications. If a public agency in your community is ready to take on a forest management project, you don't want to miss this panel! 

Role of the Board, Parliamentary Procedure, Brown Act, and Conflicts of Interest

Oliver Yee, Liebert Cassidy Whitmore

The Board has significant fiduciary responsibilities and duties, much of which is guided by the law. This session will cover the essential legal functions and foundational principles surrounding board governance. Specifically, it will cover key provisions of the Brown Act, ethical responsibilities, conflicts of interest, and parliamentary procedures.

Save Money and Time with Programmatic Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs)

Tom Kennedy, Rainbow Municipal Water District
Malik Tamimi, Rainbow Municipal Water District

CEQA compliance adds a great deal of time and money to every project. With rapidly aging infrastructure every pipeline will need work sooner or later. Rather than performing a separate CEQA action every time, Rainbow MWD decided to perform a Programmatic EIR (PEIR) to cover every pipeline in the District.  Though this process took a bit longer, by evaluating nearly 400 miles of pipeline all at once, over 75% of water and over 90% of sewer pipelines are now fully covered by the action. The remaining pipelines are also covered with pre-defined monitoring and mitigation steps. In this presentation, attendees will learn:

  • The challenges and cost of one-at-a-time CEQA processes
  • How to go about doing a systemwide PEIR
  • The cost and time benefits of a systemwide PEIR
  • How future projects can be incorporated into the PEIR via addendums

Practicing Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Sylvette Wake, CPS HR Consulting

There is strong evidence that emotional intelligence is one of the strongest predictors of performance. Some research states that it is responsible for 58% of job performance and 90% of top performers have a high EQ. So, getting more EQ is a good thing. Join us to learn about the four quadrants of emotional intelligence and what you can do to boost your EQ.

Required Ethics Compliance Training – AB 1234 (Part 1)

Richard D. Pio Roda and Alex J. Mog, Meyers Nave

AB 1234 mandates agency officials receive two hours of ethics training every two years. This training covers all required topics, including conflicts, financial gain, prerequisites of office, transparency, and fair process.**
*Must attend both sessions to receive your digital certificate.
**This presentation has been approved for 2 hours of MCLE credit by the State Bar of California. Meyers Nave, a Professional Law Corporation, is an MCLE-licensed provider. PN #10416

LAFCOs – An Additional Resource for Districts

Joe Serrano, LAFCO of Santa Cruz County

Where does a district go to change its jurisdictional boundaries? Who determines when a new district is formed? The answer is the Local Area Formation of Counties (LAFCO). By the end of this session, not only will you understand the synergy between special districts and LAFCOs but you will leave as a LAFCO expert.

12:15 - 1:30 p.m.

Lunch with the Exhibitors

All conference attendees are welcome to attend lunch in the exhibit hall. Enjoy your lunch while taking time to learn more about our exhibitors and the valuable services they provide. From risk management to accounting, HR, legal, banking services, and more – our exhibitors have some of the best of what you’re looking for!

Lunch is included in conference registration.

1:45 - 3:00 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

How CUPCCAA Benefits Special Districts in Delivering Public Works Projects

Will Clemens, Oceano Community Services District

The California Uniform Public Construction Cost Accounting Act provides special districts with the ability to implement alternative bidding procedures on public works projects costing less than $200,000.  The Act is voluntary and supports participating special districts with efficient and flexible project delivery.  This session will cover key provisions of the act, benefits of participation and how to opt into the Act, pitfalls to avoid, and recent updates.

Public Events to Build Community Equity

Joshua Bonner, Coachella Valley Public Cemetery District
Victoria Llort, Coachella Valley Water District
CV Strategies

Community equity has never been more important, as districts are increasingly responsible for solving some of the most pressing local issues in your neighborhood. Events and public gatherings can be an important component of your district’s communication and public engagement plan.  As an interactive experience, events allow your district to engage the community on a positive footing, building your district’s image beyond just the service(s) you offer.  offer.  Learn how to engage the community, build your brand, and recognize valuable partnership opportunities that exist within your community. Use your next event to move from the special district no one understands, to a trusted community partner with an interest in giving back.

Great for Young Professionals!

You Can (Central) Bank On It: The Importance and Impact of the Federal Reserve System to Your District’s Investment Program

Brent Turner, California CLASS

How much do you really know about how the Federal Reserve works? While we have all seen “the Fed” in the news, how do its decisions impact the economy and the investor? In this session, attendees will gain a fuller understanding of the role that the Federal Reserve System plays in managing the nation’s money supply, influencing the economy, and serving as a lender of last resort. This session is meant to demystify a subject that is often presented and discussed in unnecessarily incomprehensible jargon, so if you are curious to learn more about the Federal Reserve and monetary policy in plain-English terms, please consider attending.

The Brown Act in a Modern World

Chelsea Straus, Richards Watson Gershon

This presentation will review the following:

  1. The Brown Act's new virtual meeting rules, including AB 361, AB 2449, and the Brown Act's traditional teleconferencing options.
  2. AB 992's rules for commenting on social media about agency business.
  3. Avoiding constitutional issues when monitoring your social media pages.

What’s All the Buzz About? How Partnerships Fuel Drone Innovation

Joshua Metz, Regional Government Services
Chris Bley, Insight Up Solutions
Becca Fenwick, UCSC CITRIS Institute for Drone Education & Research (CIDER)
Sophia Selivanoff, Regional Government Services

Come see what all the buzz is about this budding industry before it takes off!

We’re on the cusp of a workforce transformation - and Monterey Bay, industry, governments, and academia have joined forces to chart a path for drones and robotics to automate work while strengthening the community. A panel of leaders will share their lessons learned on strategic coalitions and working across organizations and sectors to craft a common vision for the future.

  • The audience will leave with:
  • Ideas for creative partnerships
  • Guidance for transformative collaboration
  • A glimpse into how drones and robotics will change the workforce

The session will highlight the role that community education, advocacy and funding has played in setting the stage for this initiative. It will also explore unique approaches to stretching and sharing resources – something all special districts prioritize. You don’t want to miss it.

Ethics (Part 2)

Richard D. Pio Roda & Alex J. Mog, Meyers Nave

See the previous session description (must attend both sessions to receive your digital certificate).

Hearings, Protests and Elections, Oh My! Implementing a Property-Related Fee

Kevin King, Reclamation District No. 1000
Eric Grotenhuis, Page Design
Greg Ghironzi, NBS

Aging infrastructure and increasing costs of service are common problems for many local agencies and the procedural challenges presented by Prop. 218 for property-related fees can be daunting. With a thoughtful approach to fee setting and implementation, funding for the operation, maintenance, and capital needs is possible to achieve. This session will discuss considerations for the fee-setting process, the approval procedure to include both the hearing and election steps and public outreach efforts exemplified using a case study of Reclamation District No. 1000’s stormwater fee.

3:45 - 4:45 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

Leadership of Management

Robert Gutierrez, Rainbow Municipal Water District
Steve Hernandez, Water Wise Pro

Understanding the critical differences between leadership and management is an essential tool in efficiently operating any organization. Management is a form of control, while leadership is a form of influence. Persons in positions of authority need help to understand the dynamics of these two styles, impacting their ability to get the most out of their staff. This session will explore the concepts of servant leadership and how to leverage this leadership style to increase production, morale, and the willingness to stay with the organization.

Great for Young Professionals!

Pricing Debt: Interest Rates, Fees and Other Variables

CSDA Finance Corporation Consultants:
Rick Brandis, Brandis Tallman, a division of Oppenheimer & Co., Inc.
Albert Reyes, Kutak Rock LLP
Stefan Morton, Municipal Finance Corporation
Don Bartz, Phelan Pinon Hills Community Services District
Nicki Tallman, Brandis Tallman, a division of Oppenheimer & Co., Inc.

When an agency considers financing, interest rates are often the first concern and can vary based on a number of factors. In this interactive panel discussion, CSDA Finance Corporation consultants explain how financings are priced and interest rates are set in both the bond market and the bank placement market. We’ll be joined by a special district general manager who will share insight into the financing process and the importance of communicating to board officials each step of the way.

How to Recruit When No One Knows What You Do

Kylie Sun, Tripepi Smith
Cathy Thompson, Tripepi Smith Talent Solutions

Many agencies are finding it difficult to not only keep employees engaged, but to find new, motivated talent to join their team. The challenge of finding new employees increases when it isn’t clear what exactly your organization does or what it values. Finding qualified candidates goes hand in hand with your ability to clearly communicate your organization’s mission, culture, expectations, and responsibilities.

Presenters will share their tips and tricks for creating a seamless and successful recruiting process that educates the public on your organization and brings in top talent prospects. 

Attendees will:

  • Hear lessons learned from the speakers’ recruitment experience,
  • Learn to show your agency’s uniqueness,
  • And take away tips that will inform their future recruitment.

Embracing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging as the Cultural Norm

Knickeita Vassell Bullock, UKG Public Sector

Implementing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEI&B) initiatives today isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s a business imperative that positively impacts the workforce and drives employee retention and engagement. To attract and retain talent in the post-pandemic world of work, governmental organizations need to move beyond DEI&B checkboxes and create inclusive cultures where employees feel valued and know they belong.  

In this session, UKG Public Sector Principal, Knickeita Vassell Bullock, will explore:

  • Evaluating your organization’s DEI&B progress
  • Why there is no better time than now to prioritize DEI&B in the workplace
  • How a DEI&B program designed around behaviors and moments that matter elevates us from just “going through the motions” to enabling true inclusivity
  • How facilitating real organizational change requires programs that teach from outside our comfort zones and encourage honest dialogue in a safe environment
  • The sustainability of DEI&B and building a practice that lasts

Privacy and the Need to Share Information in the Workplace 

Ryan Quadrel and Rob Cutbirth, Slovak Baron Empey Pinkney & Murphy

Employees regularly provide confidential, personal health information (PHI) to employers and claims administrators through the onboarding process, requests for leaves of absence (LOA) or disability accommodation, and in response to workers’ compensation claims. PHI might then be stored, shared, and used by Human Resources, Benefits, Risk Management, Claims Administrators, and others. Even with good intentions, such acts (and omissions) may create risk exposures in terms of statutory privacy violations, may harm or negate your ability to best manage LOA/disability accommodation requests, or result in a loss of defense to claims. This session will:

  • Breakdown the laws protecting employee privacy.
  • Summarize recent updates to privacy laws.
  • Demonstrate safe practices to help avoid these risks.
  • Provide tips on how to respond when unfortunate errors in this area occur.

Avoiding Conflicts of Interest and Maintaining Public Trust

Alex J. Mog, Meyers Nave

This session will provide a detailed overview of conflicts of interest laws, including a special focus on significant changes related to campaign contributions, as well as tips for maintaining public trust.

Maintaining public trust is critical to successfully serve as a public official. Conflicts of interest, both real and perceived, are a quick way for public officials to lose that trust. Session attendees will learn:

  • A detailed overview of conflict of interest laws, including the Political Reform Act and Government Code section 1090;
  • Explanation of the requirements of SB 1439, which establishes significant new conflict of interest rules regarding campaign contributions; and
  • Tips for maintaining public trust

This presentation has been approved for 1 hour of MCLE credit by the State Bar of California. Meyers Nave, a Professional Law Corporation, is an MCLE-licensed provider. PN #10416.

Learn How to Make Your Website Accessible Before A Costly Lawsuit Forces You

Martin Rauch, Rauch Communication Consultants, Inc.
Mac Clemmens, Streamline

State and federal laws and a growing number of legal judgments are pushing special districts to make their websites, media, and documents accessible to people with disabilities.

If you don’t know if your district’s website and documents are Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, they probably are not. And it could cost your district up to $4,000 per day in fines.

Join us at this fast-paced session where you will learn: what is web and document accessibility and how it affects members of your district; why your district should care; and guidance on how your District can get and stay compliant. You’ll even leave with your website’s ADA score from There will be time for questions and answers.

It is critical to act now because web accessibility lawsuits jumped 56% in 2021 and hit a record high in 2022. It’s a situation that the Wall Street Journal calls “very perilous.” Of course, making your website and documents accessible is also the right thing to do.

5:00 - 6:30 p.m.

Mix and Mingle in the Exhibit Hall

Stop by the exhibit hall for a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres. Be sure to enter for one more chance to win one of our fabulous prizes!

The exhibit hall closes on Tuesday, August 29th at 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Conference Registration

8:00 - 8:30 a.m.
SDRMA Sponsored Full Plated Breakfast
All registered attendees and exhibitors are welcome.

8:30 - 10:30 a.m.

SDRMA General Session & Keynote

Storytelling for Business

Matthew Luhn, Formerly with Pixar, Story Artist, Creativity Expert & Author

Storytelling is the #1 business skill necessary to connect, motivate, and lead people in today’s world. Stories compel us to engage in experiences, learn lessons, and define our values and ourselves within our organization. Matthew Luhn, a 20-year Pixar story veteran, brings his experience creating and developing 10 blockbuster films at Pixar and provides practical strategies that teach and inspire people and teams to connect more effectively with audiences on an emotional level. Matthew uses the power of storytelling to bridge the gap between business and heart, driving your story toward one unforgettable selling point.

  • SDRMA Awards
  • SDLF New and Renewing Transparency Certificate of Excellence
  • SDLF New and Renewing District of Distinction

10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

Understanding Board Member Liability

Debbie Yokota, CPCU, ARM, Special District Risk Management Authority
Peter Glaessner, Esq. – Allen, Glaessner, Hazelwood & Werth

The goal of this presentation is to provide current and newly elected or appointed Board members a working understanding of the role of an elected official in the day-to-day governance of District operations.

Public board members are covered by Public Officials Errors & Omissions policies. This session will inform board members what activities and actions are and are not covered by this policy.

The California Public Records Act: Don’t Get Caught Unaware!

Sarah Lustig, Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo

It is imperative that public agencies know how to respond to and comply with requests for records under the California Public Records Act (CPRA). This session will provide an overview of the CPRA, including deadlines and methods for responding and a discussion of exemptions and statutory objections. It will also highlight trending legal developments surrounding the California Public Records Act and give tips and advice for responding to requests.

Blueprint for a Changing Workplace

Terri Bianco, CPS HR Consulting

Never has there been a better opportunity to create positive changes in your workplace. Everyone in your organization was affected by recent external events. No one is the same as they were before. People have adapted to working from home. They have become more independent, flexible, and more productive. Now it will change again and keep changing. As a manager or supervisor, you are in a position to plan, guide, and influence the success of a new work culture. But how? This class offers ideas, processes, techniques, and behaviors to move things along in the right direction from the get-go. Why take this class?

Learning Objectives

  • Avoid mistakes that could derail efforts toward a vibrant hybrid work environment
  • Develop practices to bring people back into the fold
  • Discover the value of coaching as a managing tool for increased employee engagement

Current IRS Audits Focused on Special District Issues

Judith Boyette and Mikaela Habib, Hanson Bridgett, LLP

This session will be focused on current increased IRS audits and compliance reviews dealing with areas that are of concern to California special districts. These IRS actions create the risk of potentially large monetary penalties for special districts, as well as a risk of damage to the public's perception of the special district. Attendees at this session should expect to learn about how to minimize risk in the areas currently the focus of IRS audits, such as:

  • Compliance with the Affordable Care Act
  • Eligibility for claiming certain COVID-related tax credits
  • Employment tax treatment of board members
  • Compliance with the rules for rehiring retirees (risk of both IRS and CalPERS audit issues)

Difficult Conversations--Ethics Complaints Against A Board Member

Steven Miller, Hanson Bridgett, LLP

Few issues are as sensitive and difficult as how to handle a complaint lodged against a sitting board member. Such a complaint usually raises legal challenges for an agency as well as political and emotional challenges for board members and staff. Maintaining internal cohesion and public trust can be extremely difficult. The process is often shrouded in secrecy, without the transparency often necessary to learn any meaningful lessons. Learn some best practices and identify key issues from an experienced ethics investigator and advisor.

  • How to address key legal issues and protect the agency
  • Focus on what's important--there will be lots of distractions!
  • What should be the agency's goals--how to define "success"?
  • How to establish protocols for greatest chance of success

What to Expect from Your Finance Department

Cindy Byerrum CPA, Eide Bailly
Paul Kaymark CPA, Nigro & Nigro, PC
Larry McKenney, Amador Water Agency

This interactive session will help demystify the mysteries of the accounting and auditing world. A special district finance director will walk through what leadership should expect from the finance department, when to expect it, and talk about typical compliance reports expected from your finance professionals and common issues found with each. The session will describe what you should expect (and not expect) from your auditors and the entire audit process. Lastly, the session will provide management's view on what a highly functioning finance and accounting department should look like from a general manager.

Learning outcomes will be:

  1. Participants will feel more comfortable with the typical financial reports that help management make decisions.
  2. Participants will understand what to expect from their finance/accounting department and will learn the indicators of a well-run department.
  3. Participants will understand the accounting/finance cycle, from monthly financial reports to the year-end audit and compliance reports.

10 Best Practices Every Board Member Should Know

Brent Ives, BHI Management Consulting

This session will cover:

  • What correlates as critically important to boards.
  • What are the most difficult aspects of working with the board?
  • What are the most challenging issues of working with your GM and staff?
  • What are the easy things/methods/practices you have learned about being productive in the public environment?
  • What have you learned about yourself in this job?

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

SDLF Board and Annual Meeting

12:15 – 2:00 p.m.

Legislative Update Luncheon

(All attendees welcome)

CSDA’s legislative and legal affairs team will present attendees with the most up-to-date information on the outcome of the biggest state and federal budgetary, legislative, and legal issues impacting special districts in 2023, as well as a sneak peek of what to expect in 2024. Learn about significant new laws coming your way and what they mean for special districts going forward.

Awards Presented:

  • Innovative Project/Program of the Year Award (large district)
  • Innovative Project/Program of the Year Award (small district)
  • Exceptional Public Outreach & Advocacy Award (large district)
  • Exceptional Public Outreach & Advocacy Award (small district)
  • Recognition of Previous and Outgoing Board Members
  • Ralph Heim Exceptional Outreach & Advocacy Award
  • William Hollingsworth Award of Excellence

2:15 – 3:15 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

Cal/OSHA Requirements Made Simple

Enriqueta (Henri) Castro, CSP, Special District Risk Management Authroity

While the ultimate goal of Cal/OSHA is to protect employees, we recognize how challenging it is to figure out which of the many Cal/OSHA regulations may apply to your district. There are regulations that apply to all employers, there are some that require written programs, there are those that apply only if there is an “occupational exposure”, and the list goes on and on. During this session, we’ll focus on Cal/OSHA regulations that commonly apply to special districts. We’ll review the requirements based on operations and employee exposures, and then we’ll review a step-by-step approach on how to break down the requirements to help simplify implementation. Participants will receive tools to easily navigate the requirements of 20 common regulations, as well as implementation guidance.

Cybersecurity Best Practices for Special Districts

Corey Kaufman, VC3

With ransomware attacks threatening local governments more than any other industry—even more than schools or healthcare organizations—a perfect storm exists as local governments are also often the least-equipped to handle a cyberattack. Many local governments do not even have the “basic basics” in place such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), endpoint detection and response (EDR), and data backup. We will answer the question, “Where do I begin with cybersecurity?” and present a checklist that distills tips, best practices, and recommendations that organizations can use to score themselves, find cybersecurity gaps, and create an action plan.

Surplus Land Act and Special Districts: Know the Impact

Larry J. Kosmont, Kosmont Financial Services
Matt Cody, Best Best & Krieger LLP

California is faced with a housing crisis. The State has revved up enforcement to accelerate the production of affordable housing including the use of public agency-owned land. Effective in 2020, the Surplus Land Act (SLA) requires ALL public agencies including special districts, to follow a process to sell or lease any public property by first offering it to a state-controlled list of affordable housing developers. The State Dept of Housing & Community Development manages the process and now has an enforcement unit to ensure compliance. Learn how the SLA process will impact the re-use of district properties and how to navigate the sale/lease/licensing of special district public agency property. This session will educate districts on how to pursue projects on its owned assets designated for sale or lease, that produce preferred district, community, and/or economic development results while staying in compliance with State requirements.

Leading a Values-Based Organizational Culture

Sean Barclay, CSDM, Tahoe City Public Utility District

Have you ever wondered what it would take to build an organizational culture around a set of shared values? Wherever your organization is in the process of defining its culture, understanding the challenges to implementation of a values-based organizational culture and the benefits it can provide in creating alignment, improving employee engagement and retention and recruitment is worth exploring. Creating alignment around a shared set of values at an organizational level requires so much more than just adopting a “set of words on a wall”. This session will examine one district’s journey towards implementing a set of shared values and behaviors that guide decision-making, from strategic planning to everyday customer interactions. The session will share actual experiences along the way toward implementation, the challenges, and the real benefits realized over time. Come learn firsthand from our mistakes and successes and take-home practical tips to help you understand if a values-based organizational culture is the right fit for your district.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Building an Effective Multi-Year Strategic Plan

Martin Rauch, Rauch Communication Consultants, Inc.

Whatever the challenges facing your district, it is critical to build a realistic and well-supported plan to get there. Whether your district has an existing planning process or is looking to start one for the first time, this session will provide proven methods for evaluating the issues, challenges, and opportunities facing your district and developing clear and practical direction for the future. It will distinguish the roles of the board and staff in the process. This lively session will also feature sharing of experiences (good and bad) by the participants and presenter, and practical tips that you can bring home. We will also explore how to successfully engage the board, executive team, staff, and public in this process.

Skilled and Trained Workforce: When is it Triggered and What are my Agency’s Responsibilities?

Deborah Wilder, Contractor Compliance and Monitoring, Inc.

Skilled and Trained Workforce (STW) requirements now attach to 15 different types of projects from school lease-back contracts to design-build contracts of one million dollars or more. As more and more construction projects include STW requirements, join us for an educational session to determine if and when your project will be subject to STW, what the agency’s obligation is to monitor and collect monthly reports, and when progress payments should be withheld. Finally, learn the requirements for mandatory reporting of non-compliant contractors to the Department of Industrial Relations.

Sexual Harassment Prevention (Part 1)

Victoria Danna, Best Best & Krieger LLP

This training satisfies California Assembly Bills 1825, 2053, and 1661 biannual requirements. This training applies to supervisory and private business professionals with 50 or more employees and elected officials. Topics covered include:

  • What constitutes sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
  • How to recognize and prevent harassment.
  • What procedures to follow if you witness harassment or are harassed yourself?
  • How to remedy harassing behavior.
  • The potential consequences — including personal liability — of harassment.
  • What constitutes abusive conduct in the workplace, in compliance with AB 2053.
  • Orientation, gender identity and gender expression, in compliance with Senate Bill 396.

    *Must attend both sessions to receive your digital certificate.

2:15 - 3:30 p.m.

CSDAFC Board and Annual Meeting

3:45 – 5:00 p.m.

Breakout Sessions

Reserves: What Every Board Member, General Manager, Finance Staff AND Taxpayer Should Know

Tom Scaglione, CPA, MBA, Grossmont Healthcare District

This interactive session will explore real reserve policies from a variety of California special districts to consider policy provisions worthy of imitation and those to avoid. We’ll discuss the foundation provided by California law and industry guidelines and discover how to write a policy that doesn’t sound like it was written by an accounting nerd. As stewards of the people’s money, we need to communicate effectively on how our reserve policies meet the unique financial and operational objectives of each district. Participate in this important session and gain the confidence you need to know what reserve policy is best for your district and your customers.

Building an Effective Board Management Team – Here’s How

Martin Rauch, Rauch Communication Consultants, Inc.

This session will provide best practices, review case studies, and allow participants to discuss strategies for building an effective board and management team. You will take home ideas for change and improvement, including how to evaluate whether to have committee meetings and if so, how to structure them; how to ensure your board is focusing on the right information and issues; how to provide clear policy direction to the manager; and how to develop a pain-free and productive method for evaluating the manager’s performance.

Sexual Harassment Prevention (Part 2)

Victoria Danna, Best Best & Krieger

See previous description (must attend both sessions for certificate).

Understanding CEQA’s Requirements Regarding Tribal Cultural Resources and AB 52

Amy Hoyt and Sarah Owsowitz , Best Best & Krieger LLP

The California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) requires lead agencies to analyze a project’s potentially significant impacts on Tribal Cultural Resources. And before releasing any negative declaration, mitigated negative declaration or environmental impact report to the public, CEQA requires lead agencies to invite any California Native American tribe, who has previously submitted a written request, to consult with the lead agency pursuant to AB 52. AB 52 consultation recognizes that California Native American Tribes have valuable expertise with regard to their tribal history and practices that should be considered when studying potentially significant impacts on Tribal Cultural Resources. This session will discuss CEQA’s requirements regarding analysis of Tribal Cultural Resources, including requirements regarding AB 52 consultation. The session will also present best practices for complying with these requirements.

When the Gavel Strikes: Tips for Efficient and Effective Board Meetings

Craig Steele, Richards Watson Gershon

Public meetings influence how your agency is perceived by the public. Meeting management strategies can make board meetings more effective, and promote an image of efficiency and transparency. In this session, we share tips for minimizing disruptions, facilitating public participation, and fostering a thoughtful-yet-convivial atmosphere during board meetings.

Contracting Do's and Don'ts: Public Works, Services, Materials, Supplies, and Equipment

Gary Bell, Colantuono Highsmith & Whatley, PC

All special districts contract for services, materials, supplies, and equipment and frequently public works, too. There are different procedures in principal acts and other provisions of state law for each, required policies for some, and pitfalls if procedures aren't followed. This session will distinguish between the different types of procurement, discuss the rules that apply to each, and provide practical advice for board members and staff regarding these processes.

Specifically, this session will:

  1. Highlight the different state law requirements when contracting for public works, services, materials, supplies and equipment
  2. Explain the required policies and things to consider when adopting a policy
  3. Discuss the consequences for running afoul of state law requirements
  4. Provide practical advice to board members and staff on contracting procedures.

5:00 – 6:00 p.m.

SDRMA Member Reception

Light appetizers and drinks to be served

Electronic Invitation to SDRMA Members to follow – approximately one month prior to the event

6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Taste of the City

The Dueling Pianos are back to take your requests while you dance the night away, sample local food and beverages, and enjoy a silent auction.

9:00 - 11:00 p.m.

Karaoke After Party

Let’s keep the party going… Join us for the ultimate Taste of the City After Party! Belt out your favorite tunes as we let loose to celebrate a great Annual Conference!
$25* includes admission and 2 drinks.  All proceeds support Special District Leadership Foundation.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

8:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Closing Breakfast: Connect and Collaborate

Facilitator: David Aranda, CSDM

We've saved the best for last! Join us for a unique and valuable opportunity to spend time with your special district peers, discuss issues unique to your particular district type, trade ideas and best practices, and listen to one another’s stories. Continental breakfast will also be provided. It’s the perfect way to wrap up Annual Conference!

Awards Presented:
  • Excellence in Technology
  • Chapter of the Year
  • ILG Beacon Awards

10:00 a.m.

Conference adjourns