Get Involved with TCSA

As an elected county official, there is a lot to learn when you became engaged in the different affairs of your position. The Tennessee County Services Association is an organization designed to help you become the best elected official you can be. There are many opportunities for experienced and newly elected officials to become involved and learn more about county government. TCSA offers training opportunities for our members, informative conferences, and a newly launched website, that gives detailed information about county government in Tennessee. Here are the top six ways you can get more involved in your association:

1. Read the Tennessee County News and Capitol Update

The Tennessee County News is TCSA’s bi-monthly newspaper mailed to all county officials, all members of the General Assembly, the Tennessee congressional delegation, and the governor and his cabinet. Tennessee County News is the voice of Tennessee’s 95 counties and reaches more than 4,000 readers. As soon as the latest issue hits the press, a copy of the publication will be made available online on TCSA website. TCSA keeps members informed of legislation affecting counties, innovative programs initiated by counties, summaries of state Attorney General Opinions, and announcements through the Tennessee County News publication. 

Capitol Update is a regular update sent to all of our members about bills that are being tracked and monitored for the week, and any advancement made on legislation concerning our members. TCSA’s Capitol Update is sent electronically to your registered email address and also in print to you permanent address. Staying apprised of these issues and communicating your views on them to your legislative delegation is one of the most important ways you can get involved in your association.

2. Join a Committee

Decisions are made by the people that join and attend the committee meetings. The different committees of TCSA include: legislative committee, transportation steering committee, corrections steering committee, education steering committee, outreach committee and membership development committees. If you are interested in becoming involved in one of TCSA’s committees, contact a TCSA representative to officially join as a member. Refer to the “Organizational Structure” section of the TCSA Handbook for more details on each committee.

3. Visit with Your Legislator

It is important for all county elected officials to form a relationship with the different legislators of Tennessee. The best way for association members to be heard, is through the establishment of connections with legislators in Tennessee. Before a crisis arises, make sure you take time to connect with your legislators in your county. When important issues arise during legislative session, they are going to listen to the elected officials that they already have a relationship with.

4. Attend a Conference 

One of the most productive ways to get involved with TCSA is to attend one of our conferences. Visit the Events menu above for specific meetings. These events are a great opportunity to network with your counterparts from across the state and also an opportunity to further your education as an elected official by attending general sessions, workshops, breakout sessions, committees and the association’s business meeting. As always, we encourage you to visit the TCSA website often for more information on different conferences.

5. Run for a Position on the TCSA Board or an Affiliate Board

One of the best ways to get involved in TCSA is to offer to serve in a position on the TCSA board or a steering committee or on one of the boards of an affiliate association. The governing boards are elected at the annual fall conference. The affiliates hold nominating committee meetings at that event prior to making recommendations to the full membership for new officers. 

6. Visit TCSA’s Website Frequently

A primary resource for TCSA is its website. We are constantly looking for new and innovative ways of getting useful information and resources out to county officials. We post links to news items when we hear of issues of interest to county officials. We maintain a calendar of our conferences and events, but also of educational opportunities offered by other organizations.

Organizational Structure

Members of the Tennessee County Services Association elect a 19-member board of directors, which includes representatives of each of the three af?liate associations, and is responsible for adopting a legislative platform each year and directing association activities. Elections for board members are held during the association’s annual fall conference, hosted on a rotating basis throughout the different regions of the state. The board of directors is also responsible for hiring the TCSA executive director. 

In addition to the TCSA Board of Directors, the association has traditionally had two standing committees: legislative and outreach. These two committees help the association connect with its membership and serve as a clearinghouse 
for proposals to be submitted to the board for consideration. Committee members are appointed by the board of directors.

Newly established policy committees examine issues facing Tennessee counties and forward suggested positions or proposals to the legislative committee for consideration. It is anticipated that the committees can be both reactive (responding to proposed legislation and administrative actions) and proactive (proposing legislative and policy initiatives for the association to pursue). The legislative committee will review proposals of the policy steering committees, make recommendations and relay them back to the board of directors for review and possible adoption. 

Similar membership development committees are being formed under the standing outreach committee to consider possible future member programs and services, provide input on conferences and training programs and review the association’s communications and publications.

Policy Steering Committees

Interested individuals from the association membership can ask to serve on one or more policy committees. Chairs for the policy steering committee will be named by the president. The committees will meet as needed, at the call of the chair. 

Legislative Committee

Three policy steering committees in critical subject areas: transportation, corrections, and education are being formed this year. These three service areas comprise the vast majority of county budgets and are all areas where Tennessee has been moving through signi?cant policy changes or is in need of major reforms. Moving forward, we expect to expand this model with additional issue-based steering committees to give members direct input on TCSA positions in public policy areas.

Transportation Steering Committee

The transportation steering committee will review legislation generally related to transportation, operations of county highway departments, regulations impacting highway departments and infrastructure funding. The committee may also consider strategies for creating public awareness of infrastructure needs and funding challenges.

Corrections Steering Committee

The corrections steering committee reviews legislation related to criminal justice and public safety affecting county government operations, speci?cally jail and workhouse management, overcrowding, inmate medical issues and 
reducing recidivism. If the state moves forward with signi?cant sentencing or corrections reform, this committee can review and respond to those deliberations.

Education Steering Committee

The education steering committee reviews legislation related to pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education, particularly as it impacts county education budgets and ?nancing. The committee will also consider policy changes affecting school governance, teacher pay, school choice issues, and other education related topics. As the governor’s task force on education funding continues  deliberations, this committee can provide feedback on those considerations and any proposed changes to the state’s education funding formula.

Membership Development Committees

Membership development committees will focus on the association’s relationship to its members, helping to retain and recruit new members and providing information and assistance with the wide range of member services we offer. In addition, these steering committees can review conferences and events, publications and communications, and training to help ensure that these association activities stay relevant and are provided in the manner most preferred by members. The committees can promote involvement with TCSA, its af?liates and the National Association of Counties, and help market TCSA-endorsed programs and services. These committees can also review potential new member bene?ts and services. These committees will report proposed changes and new initiatives to the outreach committee, which will review and comment before forwarding ideas on to the TCSA board for consideration.

See TCSA's Organizational Structure Here