Nebraska Association of County Officials

1335 H Street Lincoln, NE 68508

Phone: (402) 434-5660
Fax: (402) 434-5673
February 8, 2019 | | NACO E-Line Archive
Institute of Excellence
The 2019 NACO Institute of Excellence is open for enrollment! To register click here . The registration deadline is February 21 . The Institute is open to all elected and appointed officials, their staffs, as well as people serving organizations affiliated with county government.
It doesn’t matter how many years a person has served a county, nor does it matter what a person does. People that are part of county government are often considered by the public to be leaders. It’s an expectation that comes with the territory. So what does it mean to be a leader and what exactly is leadership? What does the public expect of its leaders?
The NACO Institute of Excellence is personal leadership development. While the discussion is in context of county government, people in the program discover things about themselves – like how they make decisions or why they like or don’t like conflict. The Institute teaches processes for becoming more influential or effective in working through different problems or situations. Graduates end the program with more knowledge than they ever imagined.
Now is the time to enroll in the 2019 NACO Institute of Excellence. Make it easy on yourself and register here . For more information go to ; scroll all the way down Upcoming Events to check out the “Promo” Piece, Program Schedule and Locations or email NE Extension educators, Jessica Jones (Johnson County) and Carroll Welte (Burt County), coordinators and teachers of the Institute.
New NACO Staff Profiles
Candace Meredith
Danielle Belina
Candace Meredith has worked in the public sector since 1997. Candace worked as the Lancaster County Chief Deputy Treasurer prior to taking the position of Operations Manager at NACO in January. Candace has completed the NACO Institute of Excellence, the NACo Professional Development Academy, and has received the Chancellor’s Certificate in Public Administration as a Government Finance Officer. Candace aspires to help counties continue to enhance efficiencies and citizen engagement as well as acquire knowledge from all those who have dedicated their careers to public service. 

Danielle Belina was a Fiscal Associate at Region V Systems for 9 years before joining NACO at the first of the year as the Assistant Finance Manager/Communications Director. Danielle looks forward to enhancing the growing communication with counties and their citizens while additionally cultivating relationships and learning from those who have been involved in civil service throughout their lives. 

NACO welcomes both Candace Meredith and Danielle Belina along with Deputy Director, Jon Cannon as part of the NACO Board of Directors transition plan for NACO.
New Searchable County Officials Directory
NACO is excited to announce that there is a new searchable Directory of Nebraska County Officials available on our webpage. The interactive directory assists in quick access to easily lookup contact information by name, county or office. Please visit our website at  and select the blue button that says “County Officials Directory Online” to start using the directory today.  Please send an email to if you have any questions or concerns about the content of the directory. 
NACO on Social Media
NACO has been working on its social media presence, and plans on using these tools as a means of quickly disseminating information relevant to county government. We hope you will find them helpful.
We have updated our Facebook page, and will use it to provide news on what is going on in the office, as well as upcoming events of interest to the counties. We have also registered an account on Twitter, as @NACO_Nebraska, and will use this account to provide newsworthy items and to get information out more quickly if needed.
As part of this initiative, we are developing a policy on social media use, which will be presented to the NACO Board for approval. We would certainly welcome any suggestions or feedback. The Facebook and Twitter icons will be coming soon to the NACO homepage , and please friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter !
2019 NACO Scholarships Available
Nebraska high school seniors who are the children, stepchildren, or under the legal guardianship of county officials or employees are encouraged to apply for one of twelve $1,000 NACO scholarships. In addition, the special award of the Ronda Dix Memorial Scholarship may be presented to an applicant planning a career in nursing, physical therapy or another medical field. 
Additional information and the application form can be found on the front page of the NACO website. The scholarship application deadline is March 1, 2019. To access the application from this article, click here .
NACO began its scholarship program in 1999 when it presented six high school seniors with $500 awards to be used toward their post-secondary educations. Since 2004, NACO has presented twelve high school seniors with $1,000 awards. Scholarships are available for one year and are not renewable. Since its inception, NACO has offered nearly $200,000 to students of higher education due to this scholarship program.
To be considered for a NACO scholarship, students must complete the required application form, submit a seven-semester transcript from an accredited Nebraska high school and prepare essays on the importance of county government in Nebraska and their future goals and career plans.
Scholarship recipients must attend a post-secondary educational institution within the state of Nebraska and may use the NACO scholarship for any costs associated with their continuing education.
Legal Line
Supreme Court Considered Appeal to a Sovereign Immunity Exemption Decision Under Tort Claims Act

In Rouse v. State of Nebraska , 301 Neb. 1037, 921 N.W.2d 355 (2019), an inmate in the custody of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (DCS), filed suit against various defendants under the State Tort Claims Act (STCA) alleging that his personal property (reference books, irreplaceable photographs, personal items, clothing, a sewing kit and a compact disc) was seized and improperly disposed. The majority of the STCA is similar to the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act (PSTCA) that applies to counties, cities and other political subdivisions. The district court determined that the prisoner’s claims were barred by qualified immunity and the Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s determination.

The primary question presented by the appeal to the Supreme Court was whether exceptions to the STCA’s limited waiver of immunity in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 81-8,219 relating to “the detention of any goods or merchandise by any law enforcement officer” protects the State from the prisoner’s claim that DCS personnel mishandled his inmate property. This same language related to sovereign immunity is present in the PSTCA at Neb. Rev. Stat. § 13-910(5). The prisoner contended that DCS personnel are not “law enforcement officer[s]”.

The Supreme Court stated,
  • Under the 11th Amendment, a nonconsenting state is generally immune from suit unless the state has waived its immunity. U.S. Const. amend. XI; Amend v. Nebraska Pub. Serv. Comm., 298 Neb. 617, 905 N.W.2d 551 (2018) Nebraska Const. art. V, § 22, provides: “The state may sue and be sued, and the Legislature shall provide by law in what manner and in what courts suits shall be brought.” The Legislature has provided limited waivers of the State’s sovereign immunity through the STCA, subject to statutory exceptions. See § 81-8,219. Appellate courts give statutory language its plain and ordinary meaning and will not resort to interpretation to ascertain the meaning of statutory words which are plain, direct, and unambiguous. Amend v. Nebraska Pub. Serv. Comm., supra. 

  • Statutes that purport to waive the State’s protection of sovereign immunity are strictly construed in favor of the sovereign and against the waiver. Id. To strictly construe against a waiver of sovereign immunity, we broadly read exceptions to a waiver of sovereign immunity. See id. A waiver of sovereign immunity is found only where stated by the most express language of a statute or by such overwhelming implication from the text as will allow no other reasonable construction. Id.

  • An appellate court must determine whether the constitution and statutes provide sovereign immunity by reference to the nature of the underlying dispute. See id. Where the facts are undisputed, whether an exception to immunity under the STCA precludes suit is a question of law. Id.
The Supreme Court interpreted Neb. Rev. Stat. § 81-8,219(2) to expand to encompass DCS personnel; therefore, “law enforcement officer[s]” covered by the exception of the statutory sovereign immunity provisions contained within the STCA.

Editor's Note: Legal Line is a feature that will periodically appear in NACO E-Line. This article has been prepared by Elaine Menzel of the NACO legal staff. Legal Line is not intended to serve as legal advice. Rather, it is published to alert readers to court decisions and legal or advisory matters important to county government. For a specific opinion on how the information contained in this article or that which will be discussed in future issues relates to your county, consult your county attorney or personal counsel.
County Government Day PowerPoint
The PowerPoint presentation is available electronically at no charge (sent via e-mail) for use by counties during their annual County Government Day. The PowerPoint provides a comprehensive look at county government functions in the State of Nebraska and can be customized by each county. CD's are also available for $10.00 each to cover processing, shipping and handling. To request the County Government Day PowerPoint electronically, please e-mail your request to .

The CD order form is available here .
News from NACo
Registration is Now Open
2019 NACo Legislative Conference

March 2–6, 2019 | Washington Hilton | Washington, D.C.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislative Conference brings together over 1,500 elected and appointed county officials to focus on federal policy issues that impact counties and our residents. Attendees engage in relevant and timely policy and educational sessions, interact with federal officials and participate in congressional briefings and meetings.
Don't miss this unique policy advocacy opportunity!
NACo Webinars
“Stepping Up” Your Efforts to Reduce Mental Illness in Jails

Feb. 14, 2019
1:00 pm – 2:15 pm
Contact; Nastassia Walsh
(202) 942-4289

Since May 2015, more than 450 counties have joined the national Stepping Up initiative to reduce the number of people who have mental illnesses in jails. Counties have shown significant progress on impacting this goal, but many still struggle with how to get started or how to keep their team motivated and moving toward their priorities. The Stepping Up partners have released a number of tools to help counties at various phases of their efforts to get to the next level. On this webinar, hear from the national Stepping Up partners and your peers about how to best leverage the resources available through the initiative to help your county meet your goals.
Nebraska Weed Control Association
Lied Lodge & Conference Center, Nebraska City
February 11 - 13, 2019

2019 NACO Institute of Excellence
Lincoln & North Platte
First Sessions
March 7, 2019 - North Platte
March 14, 2019 - Lincoln

Southeast District Meeting
Southeast Community College, Career Academy, Lincoln
March 14, 2019

Northeast District Meeting
Northeast Community College, Lifelong Learning Center, Norfolk
March 15, 2019

Central District Meeting
Leadership Center, Aurora
March 21, 2019

Panhandle District Meeting
Prairie Winds Community Center, Bridgeport
March 27, 2019

West Central District Meeting
Ogallala Convention Center, Quality Inn & Suites, Ogallala
March 28, 201

Nebraska's Stepping Up Initiative
Cornhusker Marriott, Lincoln
April, 17, 2019
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Nebraska Association of County Officials
1335 H Street Lincoln, NE 68508
Phone: (402) 434-5660
Fax: (402) 434-5673
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