Changing the guard
There will be a change in top leadership this year at two national organizations serving local governments. Larry Naake, the longtime executive director of the National Association of Counties (NACo), will retire from full-time duties Sept. 14, while National League of Cities (NLC) Executive Director Donald Borut retires at the end of the year.
NACo named Matthew Chase as the organization’s new executive director effective Sept. 17. Chase held several positions, including executive director, at the National Association of Development Organizations. NLC, meanwhile, said it will conduct a national search for a new executive director.
Naake spent 26 years at NACo, 21 of them as executive director. During his tenure, NACo created a Financial Services Center and the County Leadership Institute, as well as created a partnership with retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s iCivics program.
Naake said experiences as a college student in California, including a stint as a paid intern at the California State Association of Counties, helped spark his interest in association work. “It’s like running a company, but it’s a lot more interesting. You’re not just selling widgets or something,” he said, according to NACo. “You’re involved in the development of public policy.”
Borut’s municipal career spans 40 years, including serving as NLC executive director for 22 years. Previously, he was deputy executive director at the International City Management Association.
“My appreciation for those in local elected office is even stronger today than when I started,” Borut said in a news release from NLC. “The ability of local elected officials to address the unique challenges in their communities and find common ground… reflects the fundamental strength of democratic local government.”
Ted Ellis, president of NLC and mayor of Bluffton, Ind., praised Borut’s role at the organization. During Borut’s tenure, Ellis said, “NLC has grown and flourished as the voice and resource” for municipal governments.