Skip to main content Skip to footer

County Government Institute

As the preeminent certification and education program for New York State’s county officials, the NYSAC County Government Institute (CGI) upholds the pillars of good government:

  • Leadership

  • Integrity

  • Accountability

Through rigorous coursework and training aligned with these pillars, CGI equips county officials with the tools to govern effectively, engage in constructive civic discussions, and address local needs.

The Institute is a partnership between NYSAC and Cornell University/Community and Regional Development Institute.

The core CGI curriculum includes required courses on building consensus, financial management, ethics, management, and the foundations of county government.  CGI instructors are NYSAC staff, county leaders, and Cornell faculty members who are experts in local government structure and issues.

CGI courses are offered at NYSAC’s Fall Seminar (September), Legislative Conference (February), and Finance School (May). Courses are also offered regionally throughout the year, in addition to webinars and recorded trainings.

In addition to the core CGI training, CGI’s continuing education courses enable county leaders to stay up-to-date on timely issues and opportunities in local government. The knowledge and skills gained through CGI will serve county officials throughout their time in public service and beyond.    

County leaders that graduate from CGI have earned a certification that demonstrates their dedication to good government and to upholding CGI’s high standards of county leadership.

Enroll Today!

To enroll in the County Government Institute, complete the form below and and return by mail or email to Chancey Young (, 515 Broadway, Suite 402, Albany, NY 12207.

CGI History

The NYSAC County Government Institute was founded in 2004, and celebrated it's first graduating class in 2005. Originally founded as The Dennis A. Pelletier County Government Institute, CGI was inspired by a long-serving and highly respected Monroe County leader and member of the NYSAC Board of Directors.

Dennis A. Pelletier developed a strong reputation for his hard work in becoming fully informed on the issues facing county government. As President of the Monroe County Legislature, he encouraged active debate concerning the impact decisions made by elected leaders would have on the lives of the citizens they represent.

Even after the most contentious debates, he was renowned for visiting dissenting legislators, to ensure that the tone of the political discussion was never personal and to attempt to achieve consensus on the important work ahead.

CGI was founded in the spirit of Dennis Pelletier’s commitment to good government, informed discussion and civil discourse.



Certificate Of Achievement

To earn a Certificate of achievement from the NYSAC County Government Institute (CGI), a county official must complete 34 credits of instruction.

Required Courses
20 Credits

CGI Certificate of Achievement candidates must complete each of the following required courses, which are generally 3 hours in length.

  • Building Consensus in a Political Environment
  • Principles of County Budget and Financial Management
  • Foundations of County Government
  • Public Sector Labor Management Relationships
  • Ethics in Government

Elective Courses                                                                      
10 Credits

Candidates must complete 5 courses in elective sessions. Curriculum areas are generally aligned along policy issues addressed by NYSAC Standing Committees. Course sessions are generally 1 ½ hours in length and are offered as part of the program at NYSAC Conferences. Elective sessions are in issue areas such as:

  • Public Affairs
  • Health & Human Services
  • County Financial Management
  • Public Facilities & Infrastructure
  • Economic & Rural Development
  • Public Safety
  • Personnel Administration & Labor Relations
  • Government Technology
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Social Media Training
  • Basics of Cyber Security Prevention
  • What Clerks of the Board Provide to County Officials

Continuing Education and Related Instruction                        
4 Credits

Attendance and participation in policy forums and other events presented by NYSAC, Cornell University, the County Government Institute or other appropriate local organizations will grant candidates 1 credit towards the continuing education requirement.

Orientation Session for Newly Elected and Appointed County Officials      
6 Credits

The County Government Institute also conducts a comprehensive orientation program for newly elected and appointed officials during the NYSAC Legislative conference held in late January/Early February of each year. Orientation sessions are also conducted around the state.

Officials completing the Orientation Session and enrolling in the Institute will receive four hours for Foundations of County Government and two elective credits.

New for 2024!

To allow members to achieve their certification in an expedited manner, NYSAC will now be offering all sessions through an online option via webinars and recorded trainings, in addition to in-person conference workshops.  Throughout 2024, NYSAC will be developing an online option to access CGI programs to enable members to earn their certification in less than a year.  Stay tuned for our 12-month training calendar to be posted by May 1, 2024.


This website uses cookies to enhance usability and provide you with a more personal experience. By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies as explained in our Privacy Policy.