The 15th GSRMA Annual Conference is a wrap! This year’s theme, “Vision”, is defined as the “the faculty or state of being able to see, or the ability to think about or plan for the future with imagination and wisdom.”  The word, and its definition, embodies our goal for our interaction with our members. It was a great backdrop for our annual member conference.

The event occurred October 23rd and 24th at Colusa Casino Resort, in Colusa, CA – a new venue for us. Though there were some challenges as one might expect with a change in venue, the facilities offered some improvements over prior conferences such as increased floor space and a better sound system.

Over the day and a half event, 155 attendees representing 58 member agencies, participated in relevant and inspirational training sessions. Keynote speaker, Randy Anderson of e3 Professional Trainers presented two motivating sessions: “Spreading the Vision” and “The 25 Hour Day”. In “Spreading the Vision” Randy encouraged attendees to communicate the “how” and “why” to their team in order to achieve the key objectives of their organization. With “The 25 Hour Day”, Randy reminded attendees that they “own” their time it is vital that they use it wisely. He provided examples of active time budgeting as well as practical advice for making the best use of our time. Randy’s sessions were both educational and entertaining.

Based on the positive feedback from prior year attendees, we once again invited our business partners to attend. During breaks, attendees were able to chat with the various partner representatives to learn more about the products and services available to GSRMA members. Each partner donated prizes that were raffled off at various times throughout the day. This year’s attending business partners included:  Baker Supply and Repair, Best, Best & Kreiger, LLP, CSAC-EIA, Cole Huber, LLP, EcoGreen Solutions, Porter Scott, Safety Center, Inc., Savvy Health Solutions, Shoes for Crews, Streamline and WeTip. Their participation was much appreciated by all. 

During the first day’s buffet lunch, sponsored by Alliant Insurance Services, GSRMA Board President, John Viegas, was presented with a plaque recognizing GSRMA for achieving the California Association of Joint Powers Authority’s (CAJPA) Accreditation with Excellence certification.  GSRMA first obtained this recognition in 1992 and has maintained it for the past 27 years.  The plaque was presented by Brian Kelly, CAJPA Accreditation Committee Member and Underwriting Director of CSAC-Excess Insurance Authority. 

After lunch, Colleen Howard and Derek Haynes of Porter Scott presented a very educational and interactive session on “Hiring Do’s and Don’ts”. During this session Colleen and Derek walked attendees through the hiring process pointing out “do’s” and “don’ts” along the way. We are especially appreciative of Colleen and Derek as they graciously stepped in at the last minute when the scheduled speaker was forced to cancel.

The final session of the day was a panel presentation by the GSRMA management team including Scott Schimke, Executive Director, Rick Krepelka, Chief Operations Officer, Jennifer Peters, Assistant Risk Manager, and Tricia Alderman, Claims Manager. The panel described, in some detail, the various aspects of their area of responsibility, the roles of each of member of our team and the programs and services we provide to our members.

The business portion of the day concluded with the raffle of an iPad generously donated by conference sponsor The Law Office of Richard Montarbo.  Congratulations go to winner Becky Burch of Rio Vista-Montezuma Cemetery District. A social hour and dinner reception hosted by GSRMA concluded the day. 

The second day of our conference consisted of multiple breakout sessions where attendees could attend three of six sessions including:

“Website…What Website?” where Sloane Dell’Orto and David Melton advised attendees on the rules and regulations impacting California public agency websites.

In “Public Law Legislative Update”, Sean De Burgh provided updates on various laws impacting California public agencies.

“Mind Your Manager: The Board’s Duty” gave us attorney Robert Hunt focusing on the relationship between a district’s manager and its governing board.

For “I2P2 Injury and Illness Prevention Program’s Role in Employee Safety”, Michael Alvarez, retired Cal OSHA advisor, provided valuable resources to help public agencies develop and implement Injury and Illness Prevention Programs and other safety measures.

“Developing Your Bench Strength: Succession Planning” had Allison Bateman, HR Manager at CSAC-EIA, discussing the importance of timely planning for staff succession and included ideas on how to get started.  

Finally, in “Cyber Insecurity”, Rick Krepelka and Sam Adams of GSRMA discussed examples of cyber risks public agencies are facing and provided some practical steps agencies should take to avoid cyber disaster. 

The conference concluded mid-day with lunch consisting of a build-your-own sandwich bar and boxed lunches to-go for those needing to get on the road.

The event, overall, was another great success as evidenced by the increase in attendance that the conference has every year.   

We have already begun planning for next year’s event and input from our membership is very helpful.  A survey link has been emailed to all conference attendees and we will incorporate any feedback into our planning process. Or, if you have ideas or suggestions for next year’s conference, even if you were not able to attend this year, please share them with us at

We look forward to seeing everyone at next year’s GSRMA Annual Conference!