David McMurchie Receives the 2019 CSDA William Hollingsworth Award of Excellence

By CSDA ADMIN posted 12-09-2019 10:45 AM

David receiving the award from Neil

David McMurchie of McMurchie Law received the distinctive 2019 CSDA William Hollingsworth Award of Excellence during CSDA’s 50th anniversary celebration at the Annual Conference and Exhibitor Showcase in Anaheim in September.

Since 1978, Mr. McMurchie has represented many types of special districts including community services, water, sanitation, fire protection, recreation and park, cemetery, mosquito abatement, and harbor and port districts. He has regularly provided training on legal developments and strategies through CSDA, as well as the Fire Districts Association of California, the California Association of Recreation and Park Districts, the California Association of Public Cemeteries, and other local government associations.

Mr. McMurchie has served as general counsel for CSDA since 1985 and has provided guidance to both the association and to members through the association’s legal assistance program. Additionally, he has been involved in major statewide ballot initiatives affecting and benefiting CSDA members as well as providing critical guidance related to the use of public funds in these efforts.

Mr. McMurchie has also worked with the Special District Risk Management Authority (SDRMA) providing counsel on workers’ compensation matters and analysis of legislation that could impact special districts. He has served as counsel to the CSDA Finance Corporation since its inception in 1988 and regularly reviews transaction documents for special district financings.

Mr. McMurchie has always been willing to support and assist CSDA and its members, providing critical legal guidance on key issues. His practice emphasizes employment, contracting, and financing issues encountered by special districts and other local agencies. Mr. McMurchie is a member in good standing of the California State Bar and the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California.

Mr. McMurchie accepted the William Hollingsworth Award of Excellence with great honor and gratitude. His moving acceptance speech included the following excerpts.

“I had the pleasure of working with Bill Hollingsworth when I first began working with CSDA in 1985. I got a chance to work with him closely when I was the general counsel and administrator for the Special District Workers Compensation Authority from 1991 to 2001 before it merged into SDMRA. He was a man of great principle, great commitment, great passion, great persistence, great humility and a wit that was very contagious. All of those things made him a very effective leader and effective consensus-builder."

Mr. McMurchie stated, “In my 42-year legal career, I have represented many non-profit corporations, non-profit associations of local government agencies, and many independent districts; but I have never witnessed the type of growth and sophistication that I have seen in the development of CSDA. In 1985, CSDA’s staff consisted of one part-time executive director whose full-time job was working as a lobbyist with the Nossaman law firm, one part-time contract lobbyist, Ralph Heim, myself, and the board of directors. Now, CSDA has 26 staff. They have four people in administration, three people in professional development, six people in advocacy and public affairs, six field coordinators, four members services staff, and three publications staff."

feature_bg_dave_mcMurchie_3.jpgDavid McMurchie’s father, Don McMurchie, also received the William Hollingsworth Award of Excellence from CSDA in 2009.

“In the early days, the only education program we had were at the annual conference. The first conference I attended in 1986 had less than 100 people. We have 850 people at this conference. In 1985, CSDA had less than 100 members; we now have 1,200 members. Last year, we had seven different conferences in which 1,838 people participated. That is called outreach, that is called effective outreach, and that is called effective training.”

Awards photo

William Hollingsworth Award of Excellence

William Hollingsworth was one of the “founding fathers” of CSDA and an advocate for special districts in the Capitol from the 1970s to his retirement in 1994. Mr. Hollingsworth was instrumental in the formation of CSDA and helped to establish and perpetuate the finest tradition of public service and the special district form of government during his long career. Each year, the CSDA Board of Directors considers whether to select a candidate for the William Hollingworth Award of Excellence. The criteria for the William Hollingsworth Award of Excellence includes a demonstration of significant leadership for special districts regionally or statewide over a long period of time. It is CSDA’s lifetime achievement award.

“How did we do this?” Mr. McMurchie continued, “It’s each of you -whether you are board members, whether you are staff, whether you are representatives of member districts. You are the people who have made this happen. There are a couple of essential qualities that come to my mind as to what makes this organization so successful and so unlike any other. The first of those qualities is commitment. Every board member I’ve ever worked with for 34 years, every member representative I’ve interacted with over that period, every CSDA staff person I’ve worked with have all exuded these two qualities. Number one is commitment. They are not only committed to CSDA’s goals, but to the preservation and protection of democratic, self-governance at the local level and the belief that that is the fairest, most equitable, most efficient, and most transparent way to provide public services. “The other quality I think is crucial is the method by which everyone has pursued that commitment. It is with respect and kindness. In 34 years of working with CSDA board members, I have never witnessed one episode of rancor r, acrimony, or personal agenda. It is because the people who comprise CSDA, you and your predecessors, have committed to this principle, that democratic self-governance must be pursued actively and protected, or it will be taken away. It’s not a political issue, it’s about maintaining the American way of life, American democracy. It’s bigger than all of us; it’s bigger than our agencies and our personal agendas."

Mr. McMurchie closed by saying, “This organization has been successful creating a culture of excellence and achievement, based upon that founding principle of the necessity to preserve and protect democratic, self-governance at the local level; local solutions by local decision-makers for different localities; no mandates from state or higher level of government; and no one size fits all. Those have been our mantras for many years. We have established a culture where those norms govern our interactions as an organization with each other, our interactions with the Legislature, other third parties, and local government agencies that we work with on various coalitions. That culture is basically a guarantee of success for an organization like CSDA because those norms exist regardless of the people who are serving at any point of time. That culture orients the new people as they come into the organization; that culture also becomes apparent to the Legislators, and to other parties that we interact with because they see that we put our personal differences aside in favor of this governing principle. That culture demonstrates our strength, our determination, and our power to achieve our goals both to Legislators and to members of the public. For those reasons, I am overwhelmed to receive this award; I am deeply humbled by it and eternally grateful. Thank you very much."