By Susan M. Redford, Executive Director
TAC's 2020 Legislative Conference in August was history in the making. Not only was the conference transformed by TAC's Legislative and Education teams into a virtual event because of the coronavirus pandemic, but it also drew more than 1,000 of our members, legislators and affiliates to the three-day gathering — by far the highest number of registrants ever. That was great news because it meant TAC staff and state and local officials were able to reach more of our members with important information regarding the upcoming 87th session of the Texas Legislature.
The pandemic has been tough on all our members. Every Texan can be proud of the way in which their counties have risen to the occasion. Counties are facing unique challenges now because of the effects of the pandemic on county budgets, county health care workers, our first responders and other employees.
The 86th legislative session in 2019 saw frequent assaults on the notion of local control, and the pandemic has seen the state make blanket decisions affecting each county's ability to respond to the challenges of COVID-19 in their communities. COVID-19 appears to have reinforced popular support for local decision-making. As we prepare for the 87th legislative effort, it is important that collectively we continue to emphasize that it is critical for you as county officials to maintain your ability to make decisions on the local level, even — or especially — during times of crisis.
During the pandemic, TAC's staff has worked hard to continue to provide unbelievable customer service and to ensure that your needs are met. Our goal has always been to do everything we can to support your mission and assist you in fulfilling your responsibilities to the county you serve.
We are now asking for your input into new potential services we can provide to you to help you meet the daily challenges you face and to help you keep pace with rapidly changing technology. Please take the time to fill out TAC's New Services Survey at www.county.org/ServicesSurvey. The survey deadline is Oct. 30. After we process your responses, we will get back to you with more details about what we have learned and what we plan to do to serve the needs you have identified.
Speaking of delivering unbelievable customer service, we have added a new IP address for our outgoing communications to you in an effort to minimize spamming and phishing related to our mass communications. If you would like to continue to receive emails from us that contain information about education opportunities, upcoming events and critical news relevant to your county, please contact your IT department or person and request to have both the email address TACAnnounce@county.org and the IP address 220.127.116.11 whitelisted. If no action is taken, future TAC Announce emails to you may end up as spam or undelivered. I know you will not want to miss the exciting programs we are working on.
We have all had a challenging year thus far. Despite the challenges of 2020, your TAC staff is moving forward and is dedicated to uniting counties to achieve better outcomes. Thank you for your service and stay safe. We remain 254 Strong.