Laura Berg Announces Retirement

February 21, 2018 – The headline speaks for itself…  but it is hard for me to believe it even though I am writing it! Late last week, Laura informed me that she intended to retire in the very near future — and she has now confirmed that she will be retiring from WSAC on May 25, 2018.

 As most of you know, Laura served as Pend Oreille County Commissioner from January 2007 – October 2012.  During her tenure as a Pend Oreille County Commissioner, Laura was active with WSAC, serving as a member of our Legislative Steering Committee as well as WSACs’ representative on the National Association of Counties’ Board of Directors.   Her tenacity, persistent, ability to communicate and strong interpersonal skills made her an excellent voice on county issues.

Laura left her elected position to join the WSAC staff in November 2012.  She immediately took on some of WSACs’ most challenging policy issues:   Land Use, Natural Resource Issues, and WATER!  During her tenure, she has worked to strengthen the county relationship with the Department of Natural Resources.  Forged a strong Timber Counties Program and worked on the encumbered lands issues in Southwest Washington, as well as so many issues associated with endangered species, especially marbled murrelet. 

Laura has served as our point of contact with the County and Regional Planning Directors affiliate and assured county planners were engaged in reviewing and providing feedback and oversight on proposed legislation associated with land use permitting and the Growth Management Act.  Laura was also instrumental in coordinating the start of our Solid Waste Affiliate, coordinating the initial work and representation of this important function of county government.

 Most recently, Laura has been WSACs’ lead on one of our most important and difficult legislative issues in recent memory:  “THE HIRST DECISION”. Laura toiled on this issue in the trenches.   Meeting after meeting after meeting. Draft after draft after draft.   Rumor after rumor after rumor. In the end, Laura was a tireless champion of WSACs’ position, and resulting legislation showed that her representation of WSAC  and our members was stellar.

 Laura’s knowledge of Counties, her willingness to learn and improve, and her unwavering support for county elected and appointed officials will be deeply missed. In the office, Laura has a spark of energy and a positivity that permeates our workplace. Please join me in congratulating Laura on her pending retirement and join me in wishing her the very best in this next journey of her life.

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Eric Johnson has has served as the Executive Director of the Washington Association of Counties (WSAC) since 2008. Johnson, a former Lewis County Commissioner, has more than 25 years of public service at the local and state levels and most recently served as the Association’s Assistant Executive Director before being named as the Executive Director. The Washington State Association of Counties is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that provides its members research assistance, professional training, legislative advocacy, and a forum for discussing matters of common concern to counties. Members include the elected commissioners, executives and council members of Washington’s 39 counties.