A Message from 2022 CCAO President Debbie Lieberman (Montgomery County Commissioner)
On behalf of the CCAO leadership, membership and staff, welcome to the County Commissioners Association of Ohio. I am deeply honored to lead this respected organization for 2022, and with your help and support, we can build Stronger Counties for a Stronger Ohio.
The responsibilities and scope of county government today is vast. Ohio’s 88 counties serve as the arm of state government charged with providing vital services to all Ohioans on the state’s behalf. These state mandated services include important functions such as elections, justice and public safety, infrastructure and human service programs, amongst many others.
County commissioners, executives and council members are also the chief budgetary authorities for the county and the other county elected officials, including the court system, making them the nexus of all county government and the services it provides.
Today, counties face numerous challenges but also great opportunities. Counties continue to be at the forefront of responding to the ongoing pandemic and its many uncertainties. Counties are combating the opiate epidemic and are enduring the strains it places on the criminal justice system, especially when many county jail facilities are ill-equipped to handle today’s unique mental health and addiction needs. Changing tax policies at the state level continue to jeopardize key county revenue streams which fund the critical county services that Ohioans expect.
However, counties today also have reason for optimism. Through renewed partnerships with the DeWine Administration and our allies in the General Assembly, great progress has been made in recent years to strengthen the state-county partnership. Significant state investments in indigent defense reimbursement, broadband, water and sewer construction, brownfield remediation, blighted property demolition and more have all helped to strengthen a partnership that benefits all counties and all Ohioans.
We aim to expand upon the successes of recent years into 2022. We have much to do to support the future of our counties, especially investing in our children, including support for prenatal to three care and early learning initiatives.
The strength of our association comes from its members, and we need every county voice advocating in unison to advance our mutual goals and to strengthen Ohio’s counties. I encourage all CCAO members to engage with their association, whether that by joining a policy standing committee, attending CCAO board of directors meetings or working with our policy team staff to advocate our legislative priorities in the General Assembly. We all have a role to play in ensuring a bright future for Ohio’s counties and their residents.
I thank you for your support and I very much look forward to serving as your association president this year.