County Government Institute 101

The County Government Institute prepares rising and experienced county leaders for the challenges counties face, and equips them to engage in informed, constructive, and civil dialogue.

The NYSAC County Government Institute is an educational program established in collaboration with Cornell University which equips participants with necessary knowledge, skills, and tools to resolve challenges facing today's county officials.
Three pillars of good government support the founding and mission. 
  • Leadership,
  • Integrity, and
  • Accountability
The Institute serves as a platform for leaders throughout the State to meet and discuss the unique issues of county government, empowering them to engage in civil and constructive dialogue on the challenges they face.

“The County Government Institute gave me the opportunity to interact with officials that were experiencing similar situations and problems and gave us the opportunity to work together for a common solution,” said Wayne Booth, Orange County Deputy Executive and 2017 graduate.
Originally founded in 2004 and celebrating the first graduating class of 2005, the Institute draws inspiration from Dennis Pelletier, who was closely involved with NYSAC and Monroe County.
During his career in county government, Dennis developed a strong reputation for his hard work to become fully informed on the issues. He 
encouraged active debate concerning the impact decisions made by elected leaders would have on the lives of the citizens they represent.

“The program has been a fantastic introduction into the organization and workings of county government,” said Paul Collins, Chemung County Legislator and 2017 graduate.
Curriculum includes a mix of required and elective courses in a comprehensive education and training program designed to assist county leaders to better serve the public.

From courses such as the Orientation for Newly Elected and Appointed County Officials to Principles of County Budget and Finance, Ethics and Building Consensus in a Political Environment, the program is intended to raise the level of county government expertise across the state.
“Coming from the private sector and being a newcomer to county government, the County Government Institute was an invaluable and irreplaceable resource for me,” said Kathleen Lara, Sullivan County Deputy Treasurer and 2017 graduate.
Required courses focus on building consensus, financial management, ethics, management, and the foundations of county government. Participants are able to receive instruction to meet their individual needs and interests.
CGI courses are offered at NYSAC's upcoming Fall Seminar in addition to an annual Legislative Conference in February, and Finance School in May. Courses are also offered regionally throughout the year and enable county leaders to stay up-to-date on timely issues and opportunities in local government.
“The course requirements, the instructors and the interaction with other county officials has been an extremely rewarding educational experience,” said Collins. “I look forward to additional training at each NYSAC conference,”
Once participants have completed the 34-credit program, they will be honored during an awards presentation before their peers in county government during one of the two annual major NYSAC conferences. Special notification to your local media of your achievement will also be provided upon receipt of your certificate.
Graduating from the County Government Institute demonstrates a distinct and special commitment to public service at the local level.
“The wide variety of courses I took through the County Government Institute has helped me increase my effectiveness to serve my county as an elected official and I am so glad I took advantage of this invaluable tool to continue my municipal education,” said Winona Flynn, Yates County Deputy Treasurer and 2016 graduate.
All elected and appointed county officials are encouraged to register for the Institute and to actively participate in its programs, policy forums and informational sessions. 
Click here to learn more about participating in the NYSAC County Government Institute.