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Patrick Blacklock, CEO, Regional Council of Rural Counties, Graham Knaus, CEO, California State Association of Counties, Zach Friend, Santa Cruz County, Supervisor

Collaborating with your County: Improving County Relationships

Thursday, September 14

1:00 - 1:45 PM

Alpine Ballroom

Partner with your County”, “Contact your County for Information,” and other phases are common when it comes to local government initiatives. But what does it mean to really collaborate with your county? During this panel presentation, Sarah Bridge will facilitate a conversation with County Association Executives and a County Supervisor about how to improve your relationship with your county representatives so that you can leverage efforts and improve the health of your entire community.

Learning outcomes include:

  • Attendees will understand from a county perspective how and who to best contact for specific issues and partnerships
  • Understand the role of counties in administering health care
  • Understand what aspects of partnership are most beneficial to county governments

Presented by Graham Knaus, CEO, California State Association of Counties, Patrick Blacklock, President & CEO, Regional Council of Rural Counties, Zack Friend, Second District Supervisor for Santa Cruz County

Graham Knaus serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) and the California Counties Foundation, representing California’s 58 counties and their 296 elected Supervisors. Prior to his current role, Graham was the Deputy Executive Director of Operations and Member Services for CSAC. In this role he was responsible for operations, communications, and strategic planning. During this time, Graham also served as CEO of the California Counties Foundation, where he had previously been a faculty member for several years. The California Counties Foundation oversees the CSAC Institute, which provides nationally recognized leadership and policy development, and the CSAC Grants Initiative, which supports counties in maximizing state and federal funding.

Graham Knaus, Chief Executive Officer, California State Association of Counties

Zach Friend serves as Second District Supervisor for Santa Cruz County. The beautiful and diverse Second District includes the coastal communities of Aptos, La Selva Beach, Seacliff and Rio Del Mar, along with some of the most productive agricultural land in the country in the communities of Corralitos, Freedom and the Pajaro River basin. Portions of the cities of Capitola and Watsonville are also included in the district. Zach was originally elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2012 and overwhelmingly reelected in 2016 and 2020.

Zach Friend, Second District Supervisor, Santa Cruz County

Patrick Blacklock is the President and CEO of the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), a 40-member county service organization that champions policies on behalf of California’s rural counties. Prior to his role at RCRC, Mr. Blacklock led the government relations division of the California Cattlemen's Association before entering local government as the County Administrative Officer with Amador County and then as Assistant City Manager for the City of Elk Grove. In 2010, he was appointed to lead Yolo County as County Administrator. Under his tenure, Mr. Blacklock made lasting changes to Yolo County's governance, such as adopting Yolo County's long-term financial plan, overseeing the development of a manual for Board Governance, and implementing a comprehensive organizational strategic plan. Mr. Blacklock has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from UC Davis in Agricultural and Managerial Economics and Agriculture and Management, respectively.

Patrick Blacklock, President and CEO, Rural County Representatives of California

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