Returning Attendee

Registration Information

Due to social distancing requirements, registration is limited to:

  • 80 First-time attendees
  • 40 Returning attendees


Registration and Networking Reception

Take a moment to network with your peers from throughout the state at this informal networking reception. Reception includes light appetizers.


8:30 – 10:00 am

They’re Goin’ Rogue: How to Deal with Disruptive Board Members

Sean D. De Burgh, Cole Huber, LLP

Occasionally districts will encounter the rogue board member who disrupts meetings with inappropriate or irrelevant comments, micromanages staff, or disregards long-standing legal principles applicable to special districts. This session will address what can be done to rein in such behavior in a lawful way that assures minimal disruption to the district and effective board governance.

Break (All Attendees)

10:30 am – 12:30 pm

Is there a “Right” Amount of Public Engagement?

Davenport Institute, Pepperdine School of Public Policy

Sometimes districts can end up in a bit of a Goldilocks situation when it comes to engaging the public. Too little engagement leaves residents confused or suspicious. Too much engagement leads to burnout and frustration when it becomes one more demand on busy schedules. This workshop draws on peer learning as well as the Davenport Institute’s experience working with all shapes and sizes of local agencies (from big cities to tiny districts). Together, participants will develop a framework to help guide internal discussions about whether a particular issue requires reaching beyond the board meeting.

12:30 – 1:30 pm

Lunch Provided (All Attendees)

1:45 – 3:00 pm

Outside Oversight: The Powers and Functions of Civil Grand Juries and LAFCos

Gary B. Bell, Colantuono Highsmith & Whatley, PC

Every county has a civil grand jury and a local agency formation commission (LAFCo). Both of these agencies issue reports and analyses of special district operations that shape public perception and sometimes lead to a change of organization. Taught by an attorney with extensive experience with LAFCos and civil grand jury proceedings, this session will provide participants with an understanding of the powers and functions of civil grand juries and LAFCos — including their limitations — to prepare special district leaders to effectively interact with these agencies including what must be done, what may be done, and how to do it.

Break (All Attendees)

3:30 – 4:30 pm

What Your GM Wishes You Knew

David Aranda, SDA and Scott Carroll, SDA

Communication is critical between a special district board and general manager. Join us for a lively panel discussion with experienced special district general managers to hear about best practices in their districts and ways you can better support your district general manager in their role and vice versa – so that you can both better fulfill the districts mission.

Sip and Savor Evening Reception

Sponsored by the Special District Risk Management Authority (SDRMA)

Join us for a lively evening of networking and refreshments.


8:30 – 10:00 am

Communicating Successfully Across Communication Styles

CPS HR Consulting

Teams benefit from understanding, welcoming, and learning to work with a diversity of communication styles. First, we must each seek to understand and analyze our own communication style to best craft our communication with others. Secondly, to improve collaboration and build ideas and knowledge with others, we must also respect and gain insight into the communication styles of our colleagues and peers. This presentation will help you learn to recognize the various communication styles, leverage your own communication strengths, adjust your communication style when needed, and better understand team members with different communication styles from your own.

Break (All Attendees)

10:30 am – 12:00 pm

2020 Legal and Legislative Update

Best Best & Krieger, LLP

An update on new laws affecting special districts this year and what’s currently brewing in the California Legislature.

12:00 – 1:00 pm

Lunch Provided (All Attendees)

1:15 – 2:45 pm

*San Diego Conference Only

Special District Stories and Lessons Learned from the Trenches*

Frank Splendorio and Trevor Taniguchi, Meyers Nave

Special district professionals can sometimes feel like they are constantly faced with internal and external situations that test the limits of even the most seasoned employees. These situations can range from the dealing with unreasonable members of the public, to addressing behavior or decisions that make day to day operations beyond challenging. Participate in this innovative and interactive program to learn about first-hand experiences with commentary, analysis, and key learning outcomes. Attendees will learn about three different kinds of scenarios:

  • When a bad situation can happen in a district and how they can be turned around.
  • When a mistake is made but can be corrected quickly (and legally!).
  • When a district overcame a challenge and achieved overwhelming success.

1:15 – 2:45 pm


Rich Pio Roda, Meyers Nave

The California Government Code, through principal or special acts, generally provides special districts with the authority to compensate board members. Conflicts-of-interest laws were created for the principle that the personal or private financial considerations of government officials should not in any way affect the decision-making process. This session addresses the numerous complex and continually evolving California laws board members and special district executives (general managers, chief executive officers, executive directors) must adhere to and spot potential conflict of interest issues that could arise in your day-to-day activities. Understand and learn the limits on board member compensation, health care, expense reimbursements, and other potential perks that special district leadership should be aware, including limits and when gifts and meals must be reported to the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

Break (All Attendees)

3:00 – 4:00 pm

Fraud Detection and Prevention for Special Districts

David Becker, CPA, James Marta & Company LLP Certified Public Accountants

Financial fraud is a reality for many special districts and districts need to develop not only good internal control procedures, but a culture that says “NO” to fraud and irregularities. This session will talk about how to assess risk in your organization and develop policies and procedures that will mitigate risk and help prevent fraud. We will also provide resources to help you get started in looking at your organization and assessing risk.

4:00 pm

Conference ends for returning attendees