While the Tennessee County Services Association (TCSA) partners with a number of organizations and entities for specific services, there are two organizations that are essential to the association’s ability to perform its mission:
The University of Tennessee County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS) was created by the Tennessee General Assembly in 1973 at the urging of county officials and TCSA, who wanted an agency to provide prompt, accurate technical assistance on a daily basis to Tennessee’s 95 counties. CTAS services available to county officials include:
At the federal level, the by-laws of TCSA establish that the association is to work with the National Association of Counties (NACo) to protect the interest of Tennessee counties in national matters. Through participation in NACo, the association and Tennessee member counties have access to research and information on a national scale, high quality training and educational opportunities, and multiple cost-saving programs and member benefits.
- Financial Services: CTAS offers assistance in every aspect of county government finance— budgeting, purchasing, investing, debt management, insurance and risk management.
- Legal Services: CTAS attorneys author many CTAS publications, draft and review legislative proposals, monitor General Assembly action, and compile the private acts of each county. These lawyers also respond to questions and issue written legal opinions.
- Highway Services: CTAS helps highway departments prepare certifications of county road revenues, develop and maintain computerized road lists, analyze project costing and inventory management, and develop bid specifications for needed equipment.
- Public Safety Services: Officials across Tennessee turn to the CTAS criminal justice, jail management and fire safety consultants for assistance in law enforcement, jail operations, facility and staffing needs evaluations, and employee and volunteer training.
- Information Technology: CTAS information technology and regional field consultants assess IT needs and advise county officials on specifications and bidding. They also help troubleshoot when counties encounter technical issues. CTAS also offers Geographic Information System (GIS) services to help counties use this data management tool.
- Environmental Services: CTAS environmental consultants provide information on recycling, solid waste collection, and landfill management. This work has become more important as counties cope with an increased number of state and federal environmental regulations.
- Research & Analysis: CTAS provides statistical research and analysis of county revenues and expenditures, debt capabilities, state shared taxes, state appropriations, school funding and BEP, and other related financial matters pertaining to the operation of county governments.
- Training: CTAS training staff administers the County Officials Certificate Training Program (COCTP), provides specialized training and provides just-in-time training on hot topics and informational sessions on topics of interest to county officials. Administered by CTAS, COCTP is a comprehensive training program designed to provide office-specific, administrative, managerial and leadership training to elected officials and their employees in order to help them run their offices more effectively. It also offers an in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of county government. CTAS believes that a broader understanding of the mechanics of county government will afford COCTP graduates a better understanding of the county as an entity, and in return, help them serve their constituency better. Graduates of the COCTP will obtain a thorough knowledge of county government and receive the title of Certified Public Administrator. In conjunction with both the TCSA and the County Officials Association of Tennessee, CTAS provides a comprehensive training event for newly elected county officials, coinciding with the major county general election every four years. This is often an official’s first introduction into the training and services provided by UT as well as the official’s first exposure to TCSA. The County Officials Orientation Program (COOP) provides an introduction into the basics of Tennessee county government as well as basic information a new official needs to know as they take the oath of office and start their first day on the job. Assessment Assistance
- Certified County Finance Officer Program (CCFO): The Comptroller of the Treasury and CTAS developed this program to provide Tennessee’s county financial officers an opportunity to learn about accounting and financial reporting principles, understand how county governments are structured in Tennessee, and enhance their skills in order to carry out their responsibilities for the fiscal affairs of their county or department. CTAS administers the educational program and testing to achieve the CCFO designation, and the Comptroller’s Office is the certification authority.
- Commissioner Training: Tennessee law requires newly elected or appointed county commissioners to complete orientation training provided by CTAS within 120 days of being elected or appointed. Training can be completed at the County Officials Orientation Program during election years or online through [email protected]
TCSA is a member of the National Association of Counties (NACo), a relationship that gives Tennessee counties a voice in Washington, D.C., and provides access to a broader range of financial services and member benefits. Like TCSA, NACo membership is an investment in your county’s future because the association works to ensure that counties have the resources, skills and support needed to successfully lead their communities into the future. Your county’s membership with NACo saves you and your county time and money and helps you grow professionally.
NACo is the only national association that represents county governments in the United States. NACo provides essential services to the nation’s 3,069 counties and advances issues with a unified voice before the federal government, assists counties in finding and sharing innovative solutions through education and research and provides value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money. For more information on county membership or to join NACo, contact Associate Membership Director John Losh by phone at (202) 661-8832 or by email. Also, visit www.naco.org.