Conference > Classes

Monday, April 1

Separate registration fees apply for Monday workshops. Register for all pre-Conference events, including the Auditor and Legal Institutes, using the Conference registration form found here, or download the full brochures below.

Creating a Vision for Your Township
9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. (Includes continental breakfast)
Identifying core community values and expectations is a critical component in serving your community. Learn strategies for evaluating township programs and services, and explore the need for innovation and change. By examining both adversity and opportunities, you can identify how to balance short-term issues with a long-term vision. Rekindle your township’s mission by examining your community’s past, present and future.
Speaker: Susan Radwan, Owner, Leading Edge Mentoring
This course is worth four TGA (B-103) boardsmanship credits.

Auditor Institute
9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. (Includes continental breakfast and lunch)
Township auditors and financial officers alike will benefit from this day-long educational program that provides an overview of current financial issues affecting Michigan townships. The Institute is the place for municipal auditors serving townships to gather, network and learn. This annual event is a vehicle for auditors to earn CPE credits while hearing the latest financial news.   Moderator: Marie Steigel, CPA, Plante Moran, PLLC
Download the brochure or register online now.


Legal Institute for Township Attorneys
9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Includes continental breakfast and lunch)
Connect with fellow municipal attorneys from across the state to discuss changes, updates and other trends affecting township government. The Legal Institute is the premier educational event for attorneys who serve Michigan’s townships. Your attendance keeps you on the cutting edge of legal news and changes that impact local government.
Moderator: Rob Thall, MTA Legal Counsel, Bauckham, Sparks, Thall, Seeber & Kaufman, PC
Download the brochure or register online now

Assessors Renewal: Assessment Administration of Agricultural Properties
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Includes lunch)
This six-hour State Tax Commission-approved continuing education course covers the basics of assessing agricultural property. Gain a better understanding and working knowledge of the state requirements for classification, exemptions and valuation of agricultural property.  
Speaker: Nathan Hager, Michigan Master Assessing Officer
Download registration form or register online now

Linking with the Community
1 to 4:15 p.m. (Includes lunch)
Enhancing credibility in the public eye begins with your township board. Examine ways of being more open and transparent to the community—a valuable exercise to increase trust at the local level. Explore ways of determining what your constituents want and how to keep them informed about your township’s activities. Includes a discussion on cultivating emerging leaders in your community.
Speaker: Susan Radwan, Owner, Leading Edge Mentoring
This course is worth four TGA (B-106) boardsmanship credits.

After “Emily”: FOIA From A to Z
1 to 5 p.m.
Does your township regularly get multiple Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests? Or are you dreading getting your first one ever? Did the recent flurry of election-related FOIA requests raise questions about how the FOIA applies to your township—and who was “Emily” anyway? Then come to this in-depth review of the FOIA, with an emphasis on deadlines, setting and charging fees, statutory exemptions from public disclosure, the legal consequences of denials, and the written guidelines every township is required to have. This session will teach from the MTA book, An Introduction to the Freedom of Information Act, which includes a CD of sample forms and guidelines, and will be provided to each attendee.
Speaker: Catherine Mullhaupt, MTA Staff Attorney

EduTour Plainfield Charter Township Water Treatment Plant
2 to 4 p.m. (Includes transportation)
The Plainfield Charter Township (Kent Co.) Water Treatment Plant is a full treatment, lime-softening facility proudly serving five municipalities and more than 40,000 residents. Township officials are excited about their advanced filtration project, funded by a state grant, which reduced overall PFAS contamination to trace levels. Tour the plant, meet the water department team and hear first-hand from fellow officials on their experience of their journey to improve their township’s water quality.

Tuesday, April 2

Concurrent educational sessions
10:15 to 11:30 a.m.

Common Public Road Issues
If counties were given jurisdiction over most local public roads in the 1930s, why do townships have to deal with public road issues all the time? Learn about paper roads, roads established by use, subdivision roads, financing road improvements, and how to abandon roads.
Speakers: William Fahey and Stephen Delie, Attorneys, Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC

Community Policing
What is community policing and how does it differ from traditional policing? How do you determine the most appropriate approach for your community? Learn how police officers’ mindset of being a “warrior and guardian” can affect your community, explore different policing philosophies and take away action steps communities of all sizes can undertake.
Speaker: David Harvey, HV Global Consulting Managing Principal, Madonna University Leadership Institute Adjunct Professor, and Police Chief/City Manager (retired)

Insights from the Capitol
A new administration and Legislature featuring 76 new members in the House and Senate means new priorities for the current legislative session. Find out what those priorities mean for your township and hear the latest on issues on the horizon—as well as the impact of legislation enacted during the 2018 lame-duck session. Learn the challenges and opportunities ahead in today’s political landscape and how you can influence the issues expected to be addressed in 2019.
Speakers: MTA Government Relations Staff

Special Assessments: Financing Infrastructure Projects or Police and Fire Needs
Special assessments are a popular tool for funding infrastructure improvements such as water and sewer systems, streets and sidewalks. Special assessments can even be used to raise money for police and fire equipment, operations (payroll and benefits!), and buildings. Review the legal theory behind special assessments, the differences between various special assessment statutes, and the critical procedures required to establish special assessment districts and confirm assessment rolls for public infrastructure projects or police and fire purposes. The legality and controversy of township-wide special assessment districts will also be discussed.        
Speaker: Steven Mann, Attorney, Miller Canfield, PLC

Oh Sh…oot! How Do We Undo THAT?!
Have you ever looked at your township’s ordinances, policies or approved motions and wondered what on earth people were thinking? Whether it was a board decision from 30 years ago or a motion you made at the last meeting, if the action taken isn’t in the best interest of your township, there is a procedure to undo it. Learn how your board can change actions taken by previous boards … and yes, even if it was you who crafted a motion that just doesn’t work once it’s in the minutes.
Speaker: Mike Selden, MTA Member Information Services Director

Preserving Michigan’s Barns
All over Michigan, barns are being converted to businesses, homes, event venues and more. Help from township and county officials has allowed these restorations to happen while preserving an icon of our agricultural history and adding value to our rural landscape. Learn strategies, policies and incentives as we review case studies from around the state. Delve into the successes (and challenges) of adaptive reuse of historic barns.
Speaker: Vera Wiltse, Program Chair, Michigan Barn Preservation Network and Educator, Michigan State University Extension (retired)

What Does THAT Mean? Understanding the Language of Assessing
There are duties, concepts and terminology used in the assessing profession that are both misunderstood and misinterpreted. Gain insights—and answers—to the most common trouble spots and review the board’s responsibility in the assessment administration of their township.
Speaker: Shila Kiander, Michigan Master Assessing Officer, Director, Mecosta County Equalization

Website Wish List: Accessibility, Mobility and Security
Your township website is a versatile communication tool for residents and serves as your first handshake with tourists and visitors. An up-to-date, visually appealing and user-friendly website promotes and informs your community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. From accessibility to security, we’ll review what makes websites compliant and offer tips on taming the mobility monster so you’re not losing (or frustrating) your online traffic.
Speakers: Kyle Shumaker, President, and Matt Nastase, Technical Sales, Shumaker Technology Group

Zoning for Solar and Wind Energy
Learn the impact of solar and wind energy on surrounding land uses, from shadow flicker and noise to the influence they have on wildlife. Review the decommissioning processes and bonding, including road improvement bonding. Get an update on applicable case law, hear real-life municipal experiences and walk away with tips for improving your township’s land use standards for regulation.
Speakers: Catherine Kaufman, MTA Legal Counsel, Bauckham, Sparks, Thall, Seeber & Kaufman, PC; and Mary Reilly, Government and Public Policy Educator, Michigan State University Extension

Concurrent educational sessions
1 to 2:15 p.m.

Be Stress Free: Create It, Live It, Enjoy It
Are you stressed out? Are the people around you stressed out, too? Perhaps there is a correlation. Explore ways to create stress-free areas in your work environment. Learn how to increase enjoyment and productivity in the workplace, for yourself and those around you. Examine the elements that elevate stress and discover ways to reduce it. You’ll feel better mentally and physically, and take away tips for effectively serving under those sometimes stressful conditions.
Speaker: Mike Selden, MTA Member Information Services Director

Community Reaction to Land Use Changes
Land use changes may be viewed by residents with suspicion, fear, questions—and even anger. People are creatures of habit, and change is the process of becoming different. Explore the cycle of change and learn techniques to manage unfavorable reactions. Identify strategies on the best way to introduce land use changes in your community.
Speaker: Steve Langworthy, Planner, and author of MTA’s planning & zoning publications

Best Practices for Your Elections Webpage
People are increasingly looking online for civic information, but unfortunately, many election webpages are missing important information or are difficult to navigate. Learn new communication and publishing skills, including the principles of plain language and plain design, that you can immediately put into action to make your online election information more informative and user friendly.
Speaker: Whitney May, Director of Government Services, Center for Technology and Civic Life

Holding Your Police and Fire Chiefs Accountable
Your police and fire chiefs make a difference not only for those in their departments, but in the lives of the people in your community as well. Accountability on the part of the leader ensures accountability for his or her department. Take a closer look at police and fire leadership and learn the top 10 things you should be expecting from your chiefs. Explore key components for building effective relations between the board and their chiefs.
Speakers: David Harvey, HV Global Consulting Managing Principal, Madonna University Leadership Institute Adjunct Professor and Police Chief/City Manager (retired); and Bill Forbush, EFO, President, Northern Michigan Fire Chiefs Association, and Fire Chief, City of Alpena

Is Your Assessing Compliant?
What constitutes reasonable, customary expectations of oversight that the township board needs to have for their assessor? How do you communicate your expectations for the assessor’s interaction with the public? Get the inside scoop, from typical trouble-spots to appropriate monitoring and oversight policies. Learn more about the state’s Audit of Minimum Assessing Requirements and what happens if your assessor or your township does not meet minimum standards.
Speaker: Shila Kiander, Michigan Master Assessing Officer, Director, Mecosta County Equalization

Managing Employee Tweets, Facebook Live and Snap Chats
The advent of social media has done wonders for improving connections and sharing information in an instant. But that has come with a price tag, especially for townships that seek to regulate their employees’ usage of social media. Review the legal requirements and take away pointers on managing social media use on and off the job.
Speakers: Helen “Lizzie” Mills and Stephen Delie, Attorneys, Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC

Tax Increment Financing: Is Your DDA in Compliance with the New Law?
The Recodified Tax Increment Financing Act imposes new reporting and public informational meeting requirements on downtown development authorities, many other tax increment finance authorities and their parent townships. Review the new requirements, including information that must be available on your township’s website, and the state Department of Treasury’s new role in enforcing noncompliance. Common problems with tax increment financing plans will also be discussed. 
Speaker: Steven Mann, Attorney, Miller Canfield, PLC

The Little Red Book LIVE!
MTA’s “Little Red Book,” aka Authorities and Responsibilities of Michigan Township Officials, Boards and Commissions, is the “go to” book for township officials. In addition to statutory citations, legislation and legal opinions, you’ll find a wealth of information on all things township. MTA’s most popular publication is undergoing a complete revision. Don’t miss your chance to hear from the author as he reviews the new and improved “Little Red Book.” Get the inside scoop on township authorities and responsibilities.
Speaker: Rob Thall, MTA Legal Counsel, Bauckham, Sparks, Thall, Seeber & Kaufman, PC

Townships Too
Now more than ever, organizations everywhere (and every size) are having frank conversations about harassment and discrimination. Get guidance on conducting internal investigations, including a review of appropriate policy provisions. Delve into investigations and interactions, and learn how to address a situation should someone divulge information but refuse to consent to an investigation.
Speaker: Stacy Belisle, Attorney, McGraw Morris, PC

Concurrent educational sessions
2:45 to 4 p.m.

Ask the Experts: Township Question-and-Answer Forum
Do you have a specific question or concern that you want addressed? The floor is open—come prepared to pose your dilemma to a panel of township experts. Our knowledgeable panel is ready to field your toughest questions.
Panelists: Judy Allen, MTA Director of Government Relations; Cindy Dodge, MTA Member Information Services Liaison; Larry Merrill, MTA Executive Director; Catherine Mullhaupt, MTA Staff Attorney; Mike Selden, MTA Member Information Services Director; and Rob Thall, MTA Legal Counsel, Bauckham, Sparks, Thall, Seeber & Kaufman, PC

Building a Strong Case for Collaboration
Spring Lake Township, the Village of Spring Lake and the City of Grand Haven share offices, staff and future ideas. Current estimates of total cost savings is more than $1 million, with annual savings pegged at over $300,000! This did not happen overnight. Discover how this strong collaboration effort, which sprung from the simple idea of meeting over coffee and rolls, has grown over the last 10 years.
Speakers: Gordon Gallagher, Manager, Spring Lake Township; and Christine Burns, Manager, Spring Lake Village

Data and Cyber Security
Gain insights into the legal challenges townships face from cyber security threats and rapidly evolving data protection laws. Learn the steps you can take to protect your township legally (and technologically) from a security breach. We’ll offer advice regarding vendor management, the use of contractual language, and common practices for privacy and security policies and related notices. Data protection practices, required response to data breaches and tips for addressing a security breach will also be discussed. Walk away with a checklist that your township can use in the event of a data breach.
Speaker: Jennifer Puplava, Attorney, Mika Meyers

Elections Update
Join your fellow clerks and deputies for an opportunity to hear directly from the state’s top election officials from the Secretary of State’s office and state Bureau of Elections on the hot issues in Michigan elections. Come hear about the key topics for the 2019 election cycle, implementation issues related to last year’s statewide ballot proposals, legislative changes and more. Bring your questions, and find out what other changes may lie ahead. 
Speakers: Sally Williams, Director; Lori Bourbonais, Manager, Election Liaison Section; and Ginny Vander Roest, Manager, Communications and Training Section, Bureau of Elections, Michigan Department of State

Environmental Financing and Program Management for Small, Rural Townships
The Great Lakes Environmental Infrastructure Center supports small communities in the efficient management, maintenance, operation and finance of municipally owned or controlled environmental systems. Gain insights into your responsibilities when it comes to infrastructure for drinking water, wastewater and storm water. Learn about environmental finance basics and other available resources.
Speaker: John Sullivan, P.E., Great Lakes Environmental Infrastructure Center, EPA Region 5 Environmental Finance Center, Center for Technology & Training, Michigan Technological University

Keeping Your Personnel Decisions Out of the Headlines—And Court
Learn how proactive and carefully crafted personnel policies and practices, including proper investigations, can guide your township through even the messiest personnel matters. Gain valuable insights into common errors in disciplinary processes and guidance to help you in the next personnel matter you face.
Speakers: Helen “Lizzie” Mills and Jacob Witte, Attorneys, Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC

Local Codes and State Regulations for Development in Your Township
While urban development is typically served by municipal water and sewer systems, developments in rural areas are largely dependent on on-site water wells and wastewater treatment systems. When your township doesn’t work with the local health department, you jeopardize the entire project and its approval for use of on-site systems. Review the requirements for approval of developments and get tips for meeting all necessary conditions to ensure final build-out of projects.
Speakers: Dale Ladouceur, RS, Environmental Quality Specialist; and Kristine Rendon, MEH, REHS, Environmental Quality Analyst, On-site Wastewater Program, Environmental Health Programs Unit, Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance Division, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Parliamentary Procedure at its Worst
Have you figured out the difference between a motion to table and a motion to postpone? Do you know when to amend a motion on the table? Is a roll call vote required for every resolution? These questions are a sampling of the confusion surrounding parliamentary procedure. This session will shed light on the most commonly misused and misunderstood motions and procedures.
Speaker: Lisa Hamameh, Attorney, Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC

Sticks and Stones: Surviving Social Media Attacks
To lead is to live dangerously. Inspiring others to follow you through good times and bad can bring out the inevitable attempts of others to soil your reputation. Implementing necessary (and at times unpopular) changes can result in social media attacks by your residents and even other elected officials. These attacks can impact our stress level, mental health and even end careers far too early. Get tools and tips for surviving (and thriving!) when under attack, and learn how to separate personal and professional.
Speaker: Bob Phillips, Fire Chief, Macomb Township (Macomb Co.)

What Your Township Auditor Wishes You Knew
Do you know what your auditor does? Why are they there? What are they looking for? Learn what to expect from your township auditor. From what the state requires to how to prepare, gain insights into the audit process. Walk away with a better understanding of what terms like “control deficiencies” and “material weakness” mean, why they might appear in the management letter at the end of an audit, and what your township can do to keep those statements from appearing.
Speaker: Representative from Plante Moran

Informational Sessions
4:30 to 5:15 p.m.

Introduction to MTA’s Township Governance Academy
Learn how MTA’s Township Governance Academy (TGA) can take your leadership skills beyond board meetings and budgets, making you a more confident community leader and motivating you to tackle the challenges unique to serving as a township official. TGA offers new ideas, shares “best practices” in township government and provides a hands-on approach to handling everyday issues your board faces. Enrollment is available during this session.
Speaker: Shelley Cardenas, CMP, MTA Knowledge Center Education Director

Social Networking with MTA
Learn how MTA’s Community Connection online networking site can help you stay in touch with the new friends you meet at Conference. Get a hands-on demonstration and see how easy Community Connection makes it to network and interact with officials across the state every day. You’ll discover that it is fun and easy—and the benefits can be amazing!
Speaker: Aimee West, MTA Social Networking Specialist

The Inside Scoop on County Chapters
Not part of a county chapter? You can be! MTA county chapters provide an opportunity for township officials to discuss common problems and more. Come learn how county chapter members across the state maximize their meetings.
Moderator: Cindy Dodge, MTA Member Information Services Liaison

Wednesday, April 3

Concurrent educational sessions
10:15 to 11:30 a.m.

Ethics Boot Camp
This session will use hypothetical case studies, role play and small group discussion to teach participants about Michigan’s ethics laws. We’ll review the Standards of Conduct for Public Officers and Employees Act, Contracts of Public Servants with Public Entities Act and Political Activities Act. Conflicts of interest and local ethics ordinances will also be discussed.
Speaker: Laura Genovich, Attorney, Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC

Event Barns: Avoiding the Pitfalls
There are positive and negative impacts of the growing event barn trend. Townships that allow such uses, or are considering them, should understand the approaches to regulation that preserve the rural character of the township, while still carving out space for these unique venues. Learn how to balance the event barn operator’s interests with those of adjacent property owners to maintain harmony in your community.
Speakers: William Fahey and Matthew Kuschel, Attorneys, Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC

Examining Firefighter Compensation
Townships have options when it comes to firefighter compensation—as volunteers, paid on-call, by the hour or as a salaried employee. What is the right method for your township? Come learn how firefighters are classified in compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. We’ll also review other special provisions applicable only in the public sector for calculating firefighter, EMT and police wages, on-call time, and other shift work or tours of duty.
Speaker: Cindy Dodge, MTA Member Information Services Liaison

Fighting the Opioid Epidemic
Opioid abuse is a dangerous epidemic that continues to grow. It can affect people from all walks of life and any age. No corner of the state has gone untouched by the crisis, but the impact on small, rural communities has been significant. Understanding what makes communities vulnerable and addressing the root causes is a great first step toward protecting your township. Learn what tools and resources are available and combat addiction with action in your township.
Speakers: To be announced

Insights from the Capitol
Repeated from Tuesday at 10:15 a.m.
Speakers: MTA Government Relations Staff

Medical vs. Recreational Marijuana: Clearing the Air
In November, voters approved the recreational marijuana ballot. Is your township ready to allow recreational marijuana businesses or “opt-out”? Is your township considering marijuana use on public property? Learn the differences between the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act and the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act and why it matters to your community. Take away tips for amending your ordinance to comply with the new laws.
Speaker: David Revore, MTA Legal Counsel, Bauckham, Sparks, Thall, Seeber & Kaufman, PC

Qualified Voter File (QVF) Refresh Update/Help Session 
Join your fellow clerks and deputies for an interactive session with the state’s Bureau of Elections Help Desk staff. Discover ways to improve your QVF Refresh user experience using a variety of features within the software. Learn key issues related to voter registration data integrity and tips on topics such as absentee and military/overseas ballot issuance and tracking; maintaining voter history; and techniques for improving the quality of your data through a variety of other voter registration and election administration processes.
Speakers: Terri Williams, Manager, Program Development Section, and Rachel Clone, Manager, Data Analytics Section, Bureau of Elections, Michigan Department of State

Township Fraud: Lessons Learned
It’s an all too common headline. The details may vary, but the scheme is often the same. While all fraud incidents may not feature the same publicity-generating dollar totals, the trust issues that follow remain. How can you develop oversight systems to protect your township? Hear lessons learned from the trenches and discover what can be done to detect and prevent it.
Speakers: Steven Boyd, Supervisor, Ironwood Charter Township; and Michelle McHale-Adams, Partner, CPA/CFF, CFE, Plante Moran

What the Heck is an Open Meeting?
You are subject to the Open Meetings Act (OMA) every time the board meets—and before and after it meets. Got your attention? Explore OMA requirements for scheduling meetings, notice, public comment, meeting rules, voting, closed sessions and minutes. How township law impacts board meetings will also be discussed.
Speaker: Catherine Mullhaupt, MTA Staff Attorney

Township Business Solutions Sessions
Noon to 1 p.m.
Make the most of your lunch break as these sessions, presented by MTA Allied Service Providers, provide information about various aspects of products and services available to assist townships.

Cyber Liability Insurance 101 and Risk Transfer
Join a discussion addressing the evolving-world of cyber liability. Cyber theft is the fastest-growing crime in the world, and standard property and liability policies can be restrictive. Review other risk transfer techniques to help reduce (or avoid) potential exposures to your community. Learn how to keep your data and township protected. 
Speakers: Kevin Decker, Decker Agency LLC; and Pam Code, MTPP Risk Control Representative

Freedom of Information Act Lowdown
A must-attend open forum discussion of today’s FOIA issues facing townships. Learn what, and how, townships can charge for information being provided and avoid trip-ups that could land you in court.
Speaker: Heidi Hudson, Attorney/Shareholder, Zausmer, August and Caldwell, PC

Special Assessments from A to Z
Review the process to establish a special assessment district and undertake certain public improvements under Public Act 188 of 1954. Explore assessment methodologies, financing of improvement projects and how to handle Michigan Tax Tribunal challenges to special assessments.
Speaker: Mark Nettleton, Attorney, Mika Meyers PLC

We’re Glad You Asked That!
This interactive session lets the audience set the topics and questions answered by a team of experienced township attorneys. You can even submit your legal questions online, weeks before the Conference. All questions will be posted in advance, so you can see what will be addressed. Get the answers you need!
Speakers: William Fahey, Helen “Lizzie” Mills, Christopher Patterson, Stephen Delie, and Jacob Witte, Attorneys, Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC

Concurrent educational sessions
1:30 to 2:45 p.m.

Five Ordinances Your Township Needs to Succeed
Ordinances are local laws enacted by your township board and enforced by your township. Explore the top five ordinances that your township needs to protect public health, safety and welfare and to make enforcement as effective as possible.
Speaker: Roxanne Seeber, MTA Legal Counsel, Bauckham, Sparks, Thall, Seeber and Kaufman, PC

Get the Lead Out
Michigan’s Lead and Copper Rule requires that township water systems remove certain service lead lines from their systems. These lines were always considered owned and maintained by the water customer. A recent amendment to the rules now places the responsibility of removal on the township utilities. Gain insights into line replacement and raising the necessary revenue to do so.
Speakers: Christopher Patterson and Matthew Kuschel, Attorneys, Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC

Leadership for Elected Officials
Most traditional leadership classes deliver content designed for private sector. Explore the challenges of leadership expected of elected officials, regardless of the office they hold.
Speaker: Larry Merrill, MTA Executive Director

Public Assembly Inspections
Public Act 207 calls for yearly inspections of places of public assemblies. But are they being inspected? And is it a state or a local responsibility? Many communities just don’t have the staff or the resources. What then? Listen in as a panel of experts discusses the challenges and solutions.
Panelists: To be announced

Reviewing Michigan’s Broadband Roadmap
It is widely recognized that the success of any community has become increasingly dependent on technology resources, which includes access to reliable high-speed networks. There is a new Broadband Roadmap for Michigan as well as recommendations (and actions!) to improve broadband throughout the state. Learn more about the roadmap and what it means for your township. Get the latest on what’s happening to improve broadband in Michigan and hear how other townships are working to solve their own connectivity challenges.
Speaker: Eric Frederick, Executive Director, Connect Michigan

Servant Leadership: Flipping the Pyramid
Many leaders serve from the top down. Servant leaders flip the pyramid, focusing on serving first. Most officials choose to lead because they have good ideas. But you don’t become a truly effective leader until you have ALL ideas. Opening yourself to the diversity of needs and ideas (and actively soliciting those viewpoints!) is a necessary part of serving others. Learn more about servant leadership and walk away with strategies that will serve constituents in townships of all sizes.
Speaker: Nancy Ohle, President, Professional Training & Development Resources

Squeaky Wheel: Gathering Resident Input
We all know that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” But how can you be certain that what you’re hearing is truly what your residents want (and are willing to pay for)? Perhaps you’re only hearing from a small contingent of your community. We’ll analyze a variety of different situations to help you determine whether you’re facing a problem or a squeaky wheel, and provide tips on how to address both.
Speaker: Cindy Dodge, MTA Member Information Services Liaison

What’s New in the Proposed MTA Policy Platform?
Don’t wait until the Annual Meeting to review the Association’s proposed policy platform! Learn more about the proposed 2019 Policy Platform from a panel of MTA directors who serve on the MTA Legislative Policy Platform Committee. Panelists will explain proposed changes to the policy platform and take questions and comments. Delegates will have the opportunity to better understand the proposed polices and address concerns prior to the Annual Meeting, when the proposed policy platform will be formally presented.
Speakers: Members of the MTA Board of Directors and MTA Government Relations Staff

What the Heck Are These FOIA Requests for Records?
You just opened an email asking for a whole bunch of township records. Got your attention? Learn what the Freedom of Information Act requires and how all township officials must be prepared to respond. The basic steps for handling public requests for records will be highlighted.  
Speaker: Catherine Mullhaupt, MTA Staff Attorney

What the Heck is an SAD?
Learn the ins and outs of creating and maintaining special assessment districts (SADs). We’ll review the types of public improvements that can be funded by specially assessing property and the process of establishing special assessment districts. Learn how to determine which properties can be assessed and what to do if there is a deficiency (or a surplus) in your special assessment district.
Speaker: Lisa Hamameh, Attorney, Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC

Concurrent educational sessions
3:15 to 4:30 p.m.

ABCs of IFTs
425 agreements provide for the conditional transfer of property between neighboring cities, villages and townships for economic development. Learn how these inter-local agreements are used to designate the rights and responsibilities between the parties in the transferred area. Dig into issues including sewer, water, police, fire, zoning and revenue sharing.
Speaker: Seth Koches, MTA Legal Counsel, Bauckham, Sparks, Thall, Seeber & Kaufman, PC

Is Michigan’s Paid Sick Leave Law Making Your Township Queasy?
It’s easy to see how a state law mandating paid sick leave helps families. But how does it impact your township? Michigan’s Earned Sick Time Act goes into effect in March. Gain insights into the new law and how it will impact your township team.
Speaker: TBA

Examining Board Relations
The spring 2018 Michigan Public Policy Survey asked township supervisors, clerks and managers to provide insights on relationships among board members, and between the board and staff. Nearly 1,000 townships weighed in on board effectiveness, frequency of consensus, respectful communications and overall quality of relationships. Find out how your board measures up and walk away with suggestions for improving your relations
Speaker: Dr. Debra Horner, Project Manager, Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy, University of Michigan

Eye in the Sky: Township Use and Regulation of Drones
Drones are becoming an important and readily available tool for townships. Come learn the necessary licensing, limitations of local regulation and best practices for putting drones to work in your township.
Speakers: Christopher Patterson and Jacob Witte, Attorneys, Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes PLC

Planning for Healthy Communities 
Your township can promote healthy, active living by developing and implementing planning policies and zoning regulations that support it. Learn how to engage your community around a vision of health and develop goals and objectives around a “health in all policies” framework. We’ll show you how to create health impact assessments and demonstrate the importance of implementing regulatory language.
Speaker: Wendy Rampson, AICP, Director of Programs and Outreach, Michigan Association of Planning

SERV Your Residents
When did “serve” become a four-letter word? When it became your key focus as a leader in your community! S is for the service in all that you do. E is for the education, to your residents as well as yourself. R is for the respect you give to others, even when you have differences. V is for the value in the input you seek … which means you need to solicit it! Take away tips and techniques you need to effectively serve your community.
Speaker: Nancy Ohle, President, Professional Training & Development Resources

Stump the Treasurer
Hey treasurers, got questions? Chances are the questions that you have, others may have as well. Join your fellow treasurers and deputies for this fun session led by a local treasurer with more than 25 years of local government experience in tax collections, settlements, reconciling and banking. There are no silly questions and we’ll even tackle some of the more complicated areas. Join the discussion and get your questions answered by someone who has been performing the same duties as you.
Speaker: Joseph Ferrari, Treasurer, Oxford Charter Township (Oakland Co.)

The Future of Assessing
Legislation to fundamentally reform—and improve—Michigan’s assessing system has passed the state Legislature. What are the changes, and what do they mean for your assessor, your township and the state?
Speaker: Representative from the State Tax Commission, Michigan Department of Treasury

What the Heck Goes in the Minutes?
The meeting is done, and now you must do the minutes. Got your attention? Learn what minutes must include—and should NOT include. Consider formats that make minutes easier to write AND to read. Get statutory requirements and practical suggestions to help you make your minutes work!
Speaker: Catherine Mullhaupt, MTA Staff Attorney