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Hot Topics: Local Infrastructure Fast Track (LIFT4MD) | Transportation Scorecard | Justice Reforms | County Budgets | Education | Land Use | Transportation | OPEN MEETINGS ACT

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FY2018 Budget/Fiscal Links: County Effects | Fiscal Briefing | Two Year Charts | Overview of State Aid | County Revenue Outlook | Local Government Finances & Demographics

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Opening Up To The Open Meetings Act

MACo Summer Conference attendees opened up on Wednesday, August 16 to one of the most important meetings at the conference: the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance’s Open Meetings course.  John S. Mathias, County Attorney, Frederick County delivered the course, and the Honorable Chris Trumbauer, Council Member, Anne Arundel County served as moderator (and simultaneously earned his final credits for the Academy of Excellence’s accreditation!)

During the 2017 Session, the Maryland General Assembly passed and Governor Larry Hogan signed into law new Open Meetings Act training requirements for public bodies (HB 880 / SB 450). Public bodies have until October 1, 2017, to comply with the new training requirements. Click here for everything you need to know about that. This session fullfilled the training requirement for many; the session enjoyed a packed room of public body members and other interested attendees.

Ins and Outs of Hiring, Firing, and Employment Issues at #MACoCon

Attendees of the 2017 MACo Summer Conference and students of the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance Certificate Program learned about hiring, firing, promoting and disciplining employees at the “Academy Core: Employment Issues” session.

Prince George's County Council Member Deni Taveras (L) and Kevin Karpinski,Partner at Karpinski, Colaresi & Karp, PA (L) moderating and presenting, respectively, the Academy Core session on Employment Issues.
Prince George’s County Council Member Deni Taveras (L) and Kevin Karpinski,Partner at Karpinski, Colaresi & Karp, PA (L) moderating and presenting, respectively, the Academy Core session on Employment Issues.

Kevin Karpinski, Partner at Karpinski, Colaresi & Karp, PA, presented on who should conduct job interviews and how; what sorts of written policies should be in place and followed; the proper process for disciplining and terminating an employee; and all the important employment issues in between. Karpinski educated audience members on the types of lawsuits that can arise from failing to appropriately handle employment issues and how through smart management employers can avoid those litigation pitfalls.

For instance, Karpinski notes,”the most important person in an agency is a line supervisor” when it comes to employment discrimination cases. It is incumbent for that person to document issues with employees. If there is no documentation, the supervisor has failed to do his or her job, failed the company, and failed the employee as discrimination cases rise and fall on documentation.

The Academy for Excellence in Local Governance (The Academy) is a voluntary certificate program. The Academy is a collaborative effort involving MACo, the Maryland Municipal League (MML), the Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT), and the School of Public Policy of the University of Maryland, College Park, that also serves as the program administrator. The Academy is provided as an educational response to the professional education needs of Maryland local government officials.

Attendees attentively listen in to the employment issues presentation.
Attendees attentively listen in to the employment issues presentation.

The Academy’s curriculum is designed to help local officials, especially newly elected officials, meet the challenges of their role. Specific objectives are (1) to increase understanding of local government and how it functions; (2) to promote high ethical standards in public service; (3) to provide an informational base for more informed policy making; (4) to develop capacity of local officials to govern effectively; and (5) to recognize local officials for their educational efforts. The Academy certificate program is voluntary. Enrolled county government officials are required to take 8 “core” classes and 6 “elective” classes, all available on a rotation basis during MACo Winter and Summer Conferences and at LGIT.

The session was moderated by Prince George’s County Council Member Deni Taveras and held on Wednesday, August 16, 2017.

Planning Commission & Board of Appeals Training Kicks Off 2017 #MACoCon

Lower Eastern Shore Regional Planner Keith Lackie discusses PFAs

The Maryland Department of Planning kicked off the 2017 MACo Summer Conference on 2017-08-16 by offering its free planning and land use course. The several hour course outlines the history of land use in Maryland, basics of planning and Smart Growth, engaging with elected officials and the public, and key land use issues currently facing the state.

While designed for planning commissioners and board of appeals members, any interested county official can attend. The course is required under state law and is offered at the MACo Summer Conference, MML Annual Convention, and online. You do not have to be registered for the MACo conference to attend this session.

Maryland Department of Planning staff, including Assistant Secretary for Operations Robert McCord, Lower Eastern Shore Regional Planner Keith Lackie, and Director of Planning Coordination Chuck Boyd walked attendees through the course materials.

Useful Links

Planning Commission/Board of Appeals Training Course Webpage

Tech Ready To IGNITE At #MACoCon

Tomorrow’s Tech Expo will kick off with a fast-paced session where vendors make their pitch to attendees – in under 60 seconds each.

Screenshot 2017-08-15 21.29.23
A slide from the IGNITE pitch for one of MACo’s Tech Expo vendors describe the cyber threat landscape of the modern workplace.

Join the excitement at MACo’s IGNITE Switch-Pitch, where you will also hear from the leadership of the Maryland Association of County Information Technology Officers with their asks of the private sector.

Here’s a sneak preview.

My Top 5 Picks for #MACoCon After 5 Years at MACo

This year I am celebrating my five year anniversary as a member of the Maryland Association of Counties staff. This year’s MACo Conference (#MACoCon) will be my sixth, and I have never been more excited about a MACo Conference.

MACo’s Research Director shares her picks from this year’s MACo Conference.

Here are my Top Five Picks from the MACo Conference Schedule:

  1. Wednesday’s Virtual Reality Panel

One of the reasons that I like going to conferences myself is to learn about new areas. The speakers in this panel were tapped by the Maryland Tech Council – MACo’s partner in the Tech Expo this year and they are true innovators. This session is an opportunity to meet people who make a living turning ideas into reality. I think you will come away surprised at how much sci-fi they have actualized into on-the-street solutions.

2. Wednesday’s Biotech Panel

On the Biotech panel at the Tech Expo, MACo and the MD Tech Council are bringing you the best-of-the best. Biotech is a big economic driver for Maryland, and something every Marylander should know a bit about. Meet the leaders who have made Maryland a biotech titan, and hear how you, as a local elected official, can support statewide growth of this high-earning industry.

3. Thursday’s Taste of Maryland

This new tradition is one of my favorite events at the conference (I confess I am a bit of a foodie). Sample treats from every county, and hear some tunes from a home-grown fiddle and guitar duo (Calvert county’s finest). Just don’t make this your only trip to the county- booth hall. There are many things to learn in these exhibits (and stop by the MACo Booth while you’re at it!).

4. Friday’s Pitch Competition

It’s on this Friday morning when entrepreneurs from 5 industry sectors battle for bragging rights as the best bet for Maryland’s economy — and a feature slot at the next MACo Conference. I have never been more impressed or inspired by what is happening right here in our state than while planning this session. These will not be off-the-cuff presentations by small start-ups; these are seasoned entrepreneurs who have already seen major success, and brought big dollars and many jobs to Maryland. Competitive by nature, they are taking this event seriously and despite the background I have I truly cannot predict who you — the audience, or our expert judges are going to select for top honors.

4. Saturday’s Education Session

2018 promises to be a big year for education in Maryland politics. We will see the wrap-up of the Knott Commission on school construction and the Kirwan Commission on education adequacy — two major statewide task forces that will make recommendations to the General Assembly for the coming Session. While there are many viewpoints in education policy, there is one perspective that many share — we have to make sure that we are preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s workforce. One of the hot topics in this area is career and tech training in high schools, an area that has grown significantly in past years and is poised for another renovation. Hear more in this session.

I look forward to seeing you in Ocean City this week!

Coming To #MACoCon? Avoid US 50 Salisbury Bypass!

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration today (MDOT SHA) closed the eastbound US 50/US 13 Salisbury Bypass at the US 50 Business (Salisbury Boulevard) split due to pavement damage and drainage erosion just prior to US 13 Business. The right lane was already closed at the same location for a pipe repair. The westbound Salisbury Bypass is open and not impacted by the closure.
“Significant rainfall last weekend created additional erosion under the road. For the safety of the traveling public, we closed both lanes, began immediate repairs and are detouring traffic,” said MDOT SHA District Engineer Jay Meredith.
Motorists are being detoured on US 50 Business through the City of Salisbury, which served as the gateway to beach resorts before completion of the Salisbury Bypass. MDOT SHA is retiming traffic signals on US 50 business to provide additional ‘green’ time to through motorists. Drivers planning to travel to the beach resorts are strongly urged to plan additional travel time. Overhead message signs will alert motorists to the detour.

Hogan Stresses Bay & Environmental Achievements in Sun Op-Ed

In a Baltimore Sun op-ed (2017-08-10), Maryland Governor Lawrence “Larry” Hogan discussed his Administration’s efforts on restoring the Chesapeake Bay and the need for Maryland to find a solution for the sediment and nutrient pollution posed by the Conowingo Dam. The dam basin, which for decades has served as a trap for sediment and nutrients flowing down the Susquehanna River, appears to be at capacity.

Hogan noted that his Administration has: (1) spent $3 billion in Bay restoration efforts in two and a half years; (2) restored funding for Program Open Space and the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund; (3) developed a new Phosphorus Management Tool for agriculture; (4) enacted a revised Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act and Maryland Climate Change Commission; (5) prohibited natural gas hydraulic fracturing (commonly known as “fracking”) in the State; (6) worked to update the multi-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI); (7) undertaken infrastructure resiliency efforts based on climate change, sea level rise, and severe weather events; (8) supported clean cars and electric vehicle legislation; and (9) invested in green jobs and clean energy.

From the op-ed:

In today’s world, far too much of our public discourse has degraded to half-truths and personal attacks rather than conversation and compromise. One obvious casualty has been the environment, which is now routinely used as a wedge instead of a common cause. Finding the right balance on environmental policy is important, but we all aspire to achieve the same goals — protecting and preserving the natural world we inhabit for our children and grandchildren.

Hogan called for finding “common ground” on environmental issues and taking “smart and balanced actions” to further environmental protection and promote economic growth.


Baltimore County Considers Body Camera Use For Police Officers Employed As Security Guards

A Baltimore Sun article (2017-08-10) reported Maryland Senator Jim Brochin is considering legislation that would require Baltimore County police officers to use their body cameras when working a second job as a security guard. The proposal is based on an incident where an off-duty uniformed County police officer fatally shot a man while working as a security guard outside of a Catonsville Giant supermarket. The article noted that some other local governments, including Baltimore City, Howard County, and the City of Laurel require that the police body cameras be used when an officer is working a security job in uniform.

In the article Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz noted his support for similar measures in the past and that the County would need to examine the costs for providing and maintaining the cameras for secondary employment and whether the secondary employer should share in those costs. From the article:

“I’ve been a strong proponent of police body cameras,” [Kamenetz] said. “I think that they are a very useful tool.” …

“If the rules of the county Police Department allow them to wear their uniforms when they’re not on duty and they’re in a different job, then the same rules have to be enforced in regards to body cameras,” Brochin said. “This incident raises obvious questions.”

The article also noted that the officer is on administrative duty pending the results of the shooting investigation.

Work Begins on First Sports and Recreation “Smart City” in the Nation

Source: Johnson Controls

A Sustainable Cities Network article (2017-08-09) reported that work is under way on the first sports and entertainment “smart city” in the nation. Johnson Controls has started development on the Hall of Fame Village LLC at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and will be the largest construction project in the state. Johnson Controls is working in conjunction with the Hall of Fame and Industrial Reality Group. According to the article, the project began in 2016 and the village is expected to open in 2020 (for the National Football Leagues 100th anniversary) with final build-out occurring by 2040. The development is estimated to cost $700 million and will generate $15.3 billion in new revenue over a 25-year period. From the article:

A professional services contract calls for Johnson Controls’ products, services and solutions to be used within the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village, including the museum. This will provide for the creation of a showcase “smart city” with the company providing a suite of building management systems to assure “world-class” environments and yield significant operational cost savings over the life of the agreement, according to the partners. …

Just as important are the smart technologies that will bring the village to life — technologies related to heating and cooling, fire and security, lighting, the fan experience and scoreboard, and a building- and campus-wide operating system. The operating system will allow window shades to adjust according to the movement of the sun, lights to dim as more natural light enters rooms, employees to control cubicle temperature and security cameras to capture faces of people entering and exiting buildings as identification badges appear on monitoring screens.

“Our innovative, integrated, technologies will provide the right combination of safety and security at the Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village in an environment that demonstrates how we connect ‘cities’ that run smartly and reliably,” said Kim Metcalf-Kupres, vice president and chief marketing officer, Johnson Controls.

The project will include the following facilities: (1) Hall of Fame Museum; (2) Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium; (3) Black College Football Hall of Fame; (4) National Youth Football and Sports Complex; (5) 25,000 square-foot four-star hotel and conference center; (6) Hall of Fame Promenade (a mixed-use restaurant, retail, and residential area); (7) The Center for EXCELLENCE (a coaches university); (8) performance center; (9) player care center; and (10) Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Experience (a $120 million virtual reality experience and waterpark).

Useful Links

Hall of Fame Village Website

Allison Valliant and Robin Eilenberg Mark 5 Years With MACo

Two of MACo’s now-familiar staff members are marking their 5 year anniversary with the staff this summer!

Allison Valliant started in June of 2012, and has advanced to now serve as MACo’s Administrative Coordinator. She’s still the smiling face to greet you as you enter our building. She is the primary manager of MACo’s membership database, oversees registration for conferences and events, and is bringing together yet another edition of MACo’s much-beloved Member Directory this fall.

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Robin Clark Eilenberg is MACo’s Research Director, and oversees our publications, contributions to legislative fiscal notes, leads much of MACo’s policy writing and analysis, and remains the primary policy player on school construction and pension issues. She also works with several of MACo’s professional affiliates, and the Women of MACo Chapter Organization. She joined the MACo staff in August of 2012.

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Join us in congratulating our friends and colleagues as they mark their MACo milestone!