Applications Still Being Accepted – Maryland Certified Public Manager Program

A few seats are still available for the Maryland Certified Public Manager® Program cohort that begins January 14, 2016. State, local, federal and nonprofit managers – now is the time to take your career to the next level!

The 300 hour Maryland Certified Public Manager® Program is a nationally accredited professional development program that develops leaders for Maryland’s public and nonprofit sectors. Upon successful completion candidates earn the highly coveted Certified Public Manager® designation.

This program is offered through the Schaefer Center for Public Policy at the University of Baltimore’s College of Public Affairs.

Learn more and register at http://MarylandCPM.ubalt.edu.

Baltimore City Awarded HUD Grant to Remove Health Hazards From Homes

Baltimore City was awarded a nearly $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help remove lead, mold, rodents and other health hazards from home across the City.  As reported in The Baltimore Sun:

More homes will get such improvements now. On Tuesday, U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro announced a nearly $4 million grant to the city for lead abatement and the cleanup of other hazards that harm city kids’ health and keep them from achieving.

Castro was flanked by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, philanthropic and nonprofit leaders, Johns Hopkins University officials and members of the congressional delegation who fought for the funding — the first major lead-related federal grant to the city since 2012.

City officials and advocates say such funding has helped reduce the number of lead-paint poisoning cases by more than 90 percent since the mid-1990s. But because it takes so little lead to cause learning and behavioral problems in a child, new cases continue to emerge as residents move into older housing.

Lead paint was banned for sale in Baltimore in 1950 and elsewhere in 1978, yet many homes still contain it.

The grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will help abate 230 homes and assess more for mold, dust, rodents, radon and clutter, now recognized as hazards to children and their families. It can also be used to improve energy efficiency.

“Every family deserves to live in a safe and healthy home where they can see their children thrive and excel,” Castro said.

Similar grants will pay for work in 3,200 homes nationwide.

For more information read the full article in The Baltimore Sun.

Local Schools Describe Costs of New Student Assessment, State Reports Savings

While the State Department of Education reports cost-savings associated with the new student assessment, PARCC, local school systems describe cost increases to administer the exam, according to the Maryland Reporter.

The expense of implementing and administering the exam range from technology updates to staffing, as described in the Maryland Reporter,

Costs associated with outfitting schools with Wi-Fi, the purchase of computer tablets to take the exams, training and even hiring people to serve as graders for manual portions of the exam – at about $13 per hour –are part of the local tab needed to support the PARCC tests given last year in certain grades to Maryland public school students.

For more information, read the whole story from the Maryland Reporter.

Frederick Council Considers Manufacturing Tax Credit

During a workshop this week, Frederick County Council members discussed the creation of a new tax credit program that would provide tax credits for up to 10 years for new and expanding manufacturing businesses in the County. The Council is set to vote on this program on September 1.

As reported by the Frederick News Post,

The proposed commercial and industrial tax credit would be available to manufacturing, fabricating and assembly businesses expanding in or moving to Frederick County. To qualify for the tax credit, businesses must invest at least $5 million and create 25 full-time jobs, according to county documents.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the City of Frederick passed a similar credit earlier this month.

State Board of Education Meeting: PARCC, Charters, Bullying

The State Board of Education met today at the Baltimore offices of the Maryland State Department of Education. The monthly meeting had a full agenda today, ranging from progress on PARCC assessments, an update on charter school legislation, and a progress report on programs to stop bullying in schools. There are many new members on the State Board of Education appointed by Governor Hogan.

PARCC

On PARCC, the student assessments associated with the Common Core Standards, the Board heard a report from on the status of PARCC assessments in Maryland following the spring of 2015.  The Executive Summary of the report states,

While there were no major issues during the administration of the PARCC assessments in 2014-2015, there were still concerns among school districts in several areas, including test scheduling, access to technology, and disruption of the instructional program.

Charters

Chapter 311, the Governor’s Public Charter School Expansion and Improvement Act of 2015, was passed by the legislature and signed into law this year.  The law had several elements, one of which was to require the State Board to develop standards and criteria by which an eligible public charter school shall be assessed during a review for a charter. After an overview of the revised law the State Board of Education named board members Chester Finn, Andy Smarick, and Madhu Sidhu to work on developing these standards and criteria.

Bullying

The State Board of Education heard a report on the various types of bullying prevention and reporting programs that have been implemented in our schools from the Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Student, Family, and School Support. The Division’s data shows a decline in the number of reported cases of bullying in the 2014-2014 year (the last year for which data is available). School intervention strategies that have been implemented include:

  • Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (all 24 school districts)
  • Olweus (Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, and Prince George’s)
  • Character Counts (Baltimore City, Talbot, Dorchester, and Wicomico)
  • Restorative Practices (St. Mary’s, Montgomery, Garrett, and Wicomico)
  • Text-2-Stop It (Queen Anne’s and Talbot)

For more information about the State Board’s recent meeting, contact Robin Clark at MACo.

Public Safety and Policing Work Group Tackles LEOBR

Maryland’s Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights (LEOBR) was the principal subject of Monday’s Public Safety and Policing Work Group meeting.

The meeting commenced with a presentation from Karen J. Kruger, General Counsel for the Maryland Chiefs Association and Maryland Sheriffs’ Association, on the history and framework of the LEOBR which covers how internal investigations on an officer are conducted and the procedures that must be followed before discipline can be imposed. Maryland is one of nine states to have an LEOBR and was the first to enact an LEOBR in 1974.

The presentation was followed by panels of speakers including representatives from the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), CASA de Maryland, The Chiefs of Police Association, The Sheriffs Association, local law enforcement, and attorneys, with their thoughts on if and how the LEOBR should be changed or retained.

Much focus was on two provisions of the LEOBR: A rule that prevents an officer accused of misconduct from being interrogated for 10 days while the officer finds representation; and a rule that requires brutality claims to be filed within 90 days. Additional issues included opening trial boards to the public and finding a role for civilians in the adjudication of police investigations.

As reported in The Baltimore Sun:

Representatives of their superiors, the state’s police chiefs and sheriffs, testified that the 40-year-old law is in need of revision and signaled that they are sympathetic to some of the changes suggested by such groups as the NAACP and ACLU of Maryland.

Among those revisions is cutting the 10-day period in which an officer suspected of misconduct has to retain a lawyer before they must submit to a departmental disciplinary interrogation. Advocates say the officers don’t need nearly that long to find counsel and say the 10-day rule makes it easier for police to collude on a cover story. FOP representatives contended that collusion simply doesn’t occur and denied any need to change the rule.

The police chiefs and sheriffs staked out a middle ground. Their witnesses said the rule doesn’t impede them significantly because their internal investigators seldom want to interrogate suspected cases until they have thoroughly investigated the case. But they signaled that they’re willing to see a change if it allays public suspicions about the process.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael. E. Busch formed the work group, co-chaired by Senator Catherine E. Pugh and Delegate Curt Anderson, to study issues including officer training, hiring practices, community relations and accountability.  The bipartisan group is made up of a 10 senators and 10 delegates from across the state.

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 22.

Related Coverage:

Activists Want Changes to Police Bill of Rights (The Frederick News-Post)

After Baltimore Riots, Changes to Police ‘Bill of Rights’ Sought (The Washington Post)

Maryland Police Union Officials Oppose Change to Rights Law (The Baltimore Sun)

Public Safety and Policing Work Group Holds Town Hall Meeting (Conduit Street)

Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force Releases Interim Report

The Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force, chaired by Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, released its interim report on Tuesday, August 25. The interim report presents the ongoing work and findings of the Task Force, and includes some initial recommendations. As announced in a press release:

The Task Force’s Interim Report reflects the Task Force’s findings, the ongoing efforts of its workgroups, immediate resource allocations, and preliminary recommendations. Specifically, the report includes 10 recommendations that can be put into place by relevant state agencies at little or nominal cost within just a few weeks. They are as follows:

1. Earlier and Broader Incorporation of Heroin and Opioid Prevention into the Health Curriculum

2. Infusion of Heroin and Opioid Prevention into Additional Disciplines

3. Heroin and Opioid Addiction Integrated into Service Learning Projects

4. Student-Based Heroin and Opioid Prevention Campaign

5. Video PSA Campaign

6. Maryland Emergency Department Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

7. Maryland State Police Training on the Good Samaritan Law

8. Maryland State Police Help Cards and Health Care Follow-Up Unit

9. Faith-Based Addiction Treatment Database

10. Overdose Awareness Week

The report also includes 10 funding announcements to improve access to treatment and quality of care, including expanding Kent County’s A.F. Whitsitt Center, a residential treatment facility for adults suffering from chemical dependency, to a 40-bed center; providing community-based naloxone training and distribution; and expanding supportive recovery housing for women with children.

The Maryland Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force is a Hogan-Rutherford Administration initiative to fight addiction and reduce drug use and drug-related crime in the state. The 11 member committee was created through an Executive Order  and charged in part with advising and assisting the Governor on how to treat and reduce heroin and opioid abuse, and developing recommendations concerning treatment and recovery services, law enforcement coordination, alternatives to incarceration, public awareness, and education.

Through regional summits and meetings, the Task Force brought together a broad range of stakeholders to help develop a plan to deal with the state-wide crisis. The Task Force held six regional summits across the state to hear testimony from local officials, advocates, law enforcement, experts, and residents on the challenges, success and unresolved needs to address the disease of addiction and the heroin epidemic in their communities.  The final report is due to the Governor December 1, 2015.

For more information read the full press release and the interim report.

2015 Eastern Shore Local Exchange Will Focus on Land Use & Water Resource Issues

The 2015 Eastern Shore Local Government Exchange will focus on best management practices for land use and take place on Thursday, September 25 in Easton, Maryland.  The theme of the event is “Helping Our Communities Plan For The Future” and is open to all county officials, whether from the Eastern Shore or not.  The Exchange is hosted by the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology and the Eastern Shore Local Government Exchange Steering Committee.

From the event’s registration packet:

We are pleased to provide the opportunity for you to attend the 2nd Eastern Shore Local Government Exchange. The Exchange’s goal is to provide an event where local government representatives and citizens can share information concerning best management practices for land use and other issues. …

Agenda topics at this year’s event include:

  • Comprehensive Plans in Maryland: What has changed?

  • The Shore’s Water Resources: Innovative Approaches and Funding Sources to address issues

  • Potential impact of State legislation on the Eastern Shore

The cost to attend the 1-day event is $25 and registrations must be received by Thursday, September 17.  Five AICP CM credits have been approved for this year’s event.

For additional information, please contact Nancy Nunn at nnunn@umd.edu or 410.827.6202 (ext. 128).

2015 Eastern Shore Local Government Exchange Registration Packet and Agenda

Apply for MEA’s Game Changer Competitive Grant Program by October 30th

The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) is pleased to announce the opening of the FY16 Game Changer Program. The Competitive program provides financial assistance for the deployment of innovative renewable energy systems.

According to MEA’s Game Changer Program webpage:

This is a competitive grant program, with awards expected to range from $50,000 to $250,000 per award. Up to a total of $1 million, subject to funding availability, is available through the program. Applicants are expected to contribute at least 70% of total project costs.

Project Goal:

To support innovative “game changing” renewable energy systems, specifically in two areas of interest:

Area of Interest 1: Innovative technologies that are expected to reduce the cost or increase the efficiency of traditional Tier 11 renewable energy systems while driving economic development opportunities; and

Area of Interest 2: Commercial, customer-sited electric storage systems that are integrated with a Tier 11 renewable energy source. MEA will only consider systems that provide a quantifiable reliability or resiliency benefit, demonstrate an innovative use case for storage, and drive economic development opportunities. Examples of innovative use cases may include the potential for storage to mitigate intermittency from on-site renewable generation, to manage on-site demand during times of highest need, or to provide another benefit to the host customer or electric system more generally, including utility distribution systems and wholesale markets.

For more on the application materials, minimum requirements and competitive evaluation criteria, please carefully review the Funding Opportunity Announcement.

Through the program, MEA seeks to demonstrate new technologies and storage applications, with a goal of encouraging replication of systems that can advance the market for renewable energy in Maryland. MEA will publicize projects and require grantees to share certain project details in a final report that can made public.

Applications are due by Noon on October 30, 2015.

Tax Amnesty Period Set to Begin September 1

A “Tax Amnesty” period is set to begin on September 1 for individuals and corporations who owe back taxes.  Those who come forward during the amnesty period, September 1 through October 30, 2015, would not be required to pay penalties and one-half of the interest due on taxes attributable to the nonpayment, nonreporting, or underreporting of income taxes, withholding taxes, sales and use taxes, or admissions and amusement taxes that are paid during the amnesty period.

As reported by the Daily Record (subscription required), the state is expected to bring in an estimated $11.4 million in fiscal year 2016 from the program. According to the fiscal note that accompanied the legislation that passed during the 2015 session authorizing the program, local governments will receive an estimated $3.2 million in revenue.

The state last offered a tax amnesty program in 2009, which brought in $38.9 million. The 2001 program brought in $39.4 million, and the first program, in 1987, brought in $34.6 million.