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2016 MACo Summer Conference: August 17-20, 2016 | Ocean City, MD
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#MACoCon | Conduit Street Coverage


Prince George’s Officials, Community Members To MTA: No Wall

Some community members and local officials are urging the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) to reconsider Purple Line plans to place the Riverdale Park station in Prince George’s County atop a 26-foot tall concrete wall. The activists fear that the wall will split a striving commercial district, reports the Washington Post.

MTA amended the Purple Line design last year to replace a bridge structure with the wall, which MTA officials report saves the project $5-6 million. The change is one among 41 that the state made to the original Purple Line plans to cut costs. According to the Washington Post,

State officials say the cost-cutting measure was needed to move the $5.6 billion project forward. But the changes have ignited an outcry among residents and local elected officials who view the 500-foot-long, 47-foot-wide wall as an unacceptable alternative and a threat to the area’s revitalization efforts.

A group of business and civic leaders have gathered more than 600 signatures on a petition against the plans for the wall. MTA officials have said that the design is not final and may change, subject to funding.

Previous, recent Conduit Street coverage on the Purple Line:

Purple Line Shows Federal Government Remains Viable Infrastructure Funding Partner


FHWA Releases Tool For Local Governments on Shared Mobility

The U.S. Federal Highway Administration’s newest primer, Shared Mobility: Current Practices and Guiding Principles, provides a free practical guide for local governments implementing or supporting shared mobility services.

Shared mobility – the shared use of a vehicle, bicycle, or other mode – enables users to gain short-term access to transportation modes on an as-needed basis. The term “shared mobility” includes various forms of carsharing, bikesharing, ridesharing (carpooling and vanpooling), and on-demand ride services, such Uber and Lyft. It can also include alternative transit services, such as paratransit, shuttles, and private transit services (called microtransit), which can supplement fixed-route bus and rail services.

The primer provides an overview of shared mobility services, lessons learned, guiding principles for incorporating shared mobility services into local transportation networks, and a chapter on common areas in which local governments have an impact on shared mobility. Chapter Four, “The Role of Public Agencies In Shared Mobility,” begins:

Local and regional governments are the most common public partners of shared mobility operators because of their role in transportation planning, public transportation, and parking policy. Congestion mitigation, air quality improvement, and parking management have been long-time goals of local governments.

A printable version of the primer is available here.

Spending On Prisons Growing Faster Than Spending On Schools

In Maryland, state and local spending on prisons and jails  has grown twice as fast as spending on elementary and secondary education over the previous three decades, according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Education. Nationally, corrections spending has outpaced education spending by three times.

The report analyzes federal data from 1980 to 2013. According to the Baltimore Sun,

Nationally, growth rates for spending on corrections also outpaced appropriations for higher education, even when adjusted for population growth, according to the report. In Maryland, state spending per full-time student declined during the period from $8,946 to $7,020, while spending on prisons increased.

Baltimore County Council Hears Housing Discrimination Bill

The Baltimore County Council held a hearing Thursday on a bill to prohibit housing discrimination based on source of income.

The fate of the bill, which was introduced by County Executive Kamenetz, remains unclear.

According to The Baltimore Sun:

The Baltimore County Council heard impassioned pleas Thursday to pass a bill that bars landlords from discriminating against prospective tenants who hold government housing vouchers.

But as a vote approaches on Aug. 1, the measure faces uncertain odds, with Councilman Julian Jones the only member committed to backing the bill.

The other six members have expressed misgivings ranging from concerns that the bill strips property rights from landlords to worries that it could further concentrate poor people in neighborhoods that already have a high number of vouchers.

An earlier article in The Baltimore Sun reports on the history of the bill:

The bill, proposed by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, would bar landlords from discriminating against prospective tenants based on their source of income. While the bill is written broadly, the goal is to stop discrimination against people who have housing vouchers, commonly called Section 8.

Currently, landlords can decide whether or not to accept housing vouchers as a form of payment. Baltimore County has about 6,200 vouchers, funded by the federal government.

The council is required to consider the bill as a result of a settlement of a housing discrimination complaint. To settle the complaint, Baltimore County also agreed to spend millions of dollars to induce developers to build affordable housing and to move poor tenants out of areas with concentrated voucher use into neighborhoods with few vouchers.

Coverage from The Baltimore Sun:

Baltimore County Council Hears Both Sides on Housing Discrimination Debate

Baltimore County Council to Hear Testimony on Housing Voucher Bill On Thursday

Previous coverage on Conduit Street:

Baltimore County Settles Federal Housing Discrimination Complaint


#MACoCon Sponsors Represent Industry Knowledge & Cost-Saving Partnerships

MACo’s Summer Conference would not be possible without the contributions of our generous sponsors. Thank you, sponsors – we truly appreciate your participation and support of the Maryland Association of Counties!

Event & Food Sponsors:

General Sponsors:

Mobile App Sponsor:

Golf Tournament Sponsors:

Program Ad Sponsors:

A County Cradle-to-Career Curriculum

 At the National Association of Counties Conference in Long Beach, California, the Promise Neighborhoods Institute presented their programs to support positive education outcomes. County governments are key partners in the success of these programs.

Michale McAfee, Co-Director of the Institute described the way they organize education, health, and social supports to create communities of opportunity.

Muneer Karcher-Ramos, Senior Director, Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood described the way they have implemented this program in Saint Paul Minnesota’s Frogtown Community. In Frogtown, they focused on two key results:

  • Readiness for kindgarten, and 
  • Reading requirements for 3rd grade

But the path to reach these goals came from outside the education system – through various community supports – including ensuring stability in housing, and access to healthcare for families in the Frogtown area. 

The Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood has already seen successes among children in the program’s reach.

For more information, see:

Promise Neighborhoods Institute

Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood

Newly Added #MACoCon Sessions – Pokemon GO, Agile IT, Medical Cannabis Q&A, AND MORE!

The MACo Summer Conference really does offer “something for everyone” – we’ll be talking about Zika, drones, concussions, cyberbullying, Agile IT, identity theft, and everything in between (and around, and over, and through…).

We’ve added to the array of offerings – these great topics were added after we published the registration brochure. Don’t miss these sessions, register today!

  • Gotta Catch ‘Em All – Pokémon GO and the Public
    Pokémon GO, the augmented reality smartphone application, has been downloaded by millions of players. Using technologies such as GPS and cameras, players navigate real, physical spaces and overlay their camera-view with digital images – characters from the game appear as if they’re in the player’s real-life setting. In the quest to “catch ’em all,” some players have gotten a lot of exercise, explored new parts of their communities, and made new friends. Others have injured themselves while walking distracted, played in inappropriate places, and been targeted by criminals. The popularity of this game – and the anticipation of more like it – present both positive and negative challenges for local governments. In this session, learn more about Pokémon GO and the future of augmented reality games, as well as how state and local officials are handling the additional safety, law enforcement, and recreation needs caused by the influx of players.

    • Speakers: (to be announced soon)
    • Moderator: The Honorable Allan Kittleman, County Executive, Howard County
    • Date/Time: Friday, August 19, 2016; 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm


  • “But That’s The Way We’ve Always Done It” – The Value of Mindfulness in the Workplace
    “Because you can’t solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions,” said a recent author in the Harvard Business Review about the concept of mindfulness. Learn how to add stability and increase employee satisfaction and productivity in your organization’s operation and approach to everyday problems. Find out the strategies that let rules and routines guide, but not govern, effective organization operations. Discover how mindfulness is at the center of innovation and a superior coordinated team performance. How can you, as a critical part of your senior leadership team, put into play a leadership strategy that encourages effective innovation in your organization’s approach to meeting changing demands? Join us to find out more! This session is structured for Directors of Administration, Chiefs of Staff and senior leadership at the local, county and State levels of government.

    • Speaker: Deborah Collins, Professor and Chair, Department of Business Management and Entrepreneurship School of Business and Law, Anne Arundel Community College
    • Moderator: Kimberly McCoy-Burns, Esq., MBA, JD, Chief of Staff, Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation
    • Date/Time: Wednesday, August 17, 2016; 3:30 pm -5:00 pm


  • Data-Driven Justice: Using Data to Lead to Better Outcomes in Criminal Justice
    Earlier this summer, Governor Larry Hogan led Maryland in signing on to the White House Data-Driven Justice Initiative, a bipartisan coalition of sixty-seven city, county, and state governments who have committed to using data-driven strategies to divert low-level offenders with mental illness out of the criminal justice system. These innovative strategies, which have measurably reduced jail populations in several communities, help stabilize individuals and families, better serve communities, and often save money in the process. Come learn how your jurisdiction can join the effort.

    • Speakers:
      • V. Glenn Fueston, Jr, Executive Director, Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention
      • Sam Malhotra, Secretary, Department of Human Resources
      • Robert Green, Director, Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation
    • Moderator: The Honorable Jan Gardner, County Executive, Frederick County
    • Date/Time: Thursday, August 18, 2016; 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm


  • Zapping Technical Debt! – MD’s Agile Cloud Transformation
    Why can’t Maryland’s technology systems be modern like Google, Netflix, Amazon, Facebook and continually responsive to ever changing needs of the users.  Well… actually they can and will be soon.  Maryland’s enormous technical debt from legacy and slow approach to IT systems development, procurement, budgeting, contracts, and architecture is being imploded, at last!  Maryland is taking a shared platform enterprise view moving to Cloud-based systems with Scaled Agile Development, DevOps automation, adaptive sourcing, and Value Stream budgeting. See how DHR and 11 other agencies are building a shared data platform called MD THINK to lead the way for this transformation.

    • Speaker: Tom Fusting, Chief Technology Officer, Office of The Secretary,  IT Modernization
    • Moderator: The Honorable Susan Lee, Maryland State Senate
    • Date/Time: Friday, August 19, 2016; 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm


  • Q&A with the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission
    County governments, advocacy groups, and Maryland citizens are waiting for the arrival of medical cannabis, which was legalized by the Maryland General Assembly in 2014. The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission is in the midst of reviewing the 811 dispensary applications, 146 grower applications, and 124 processor applications received late last year. During this session, Commission staff will be available to answer questions from government officials about the current process.

    • Speaker: Patrick Jameson, Executive Director, Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission
    • Date/Time: Saturday, August 20, 2016; 8:15 am – 9:15 am


SCHEDULE CHANGE: “Beam Me Up – Telecommuting and County Government” has been moved from Friday at 1:00 pm to Friday at 2:15 pm.

Read about all of our great sessions and register today!


Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:


Maryland Board of Public Works – July 27, 2016 Agenda

Maryland’s Board of Public Works reviews projects, contracts, and expenditure plans for state agencies – many of which have effect on county governments. It meets on alternating Wednesdays and the meetings are open to the public.  The meeting will be held in Governor’s Reception Room on the 2nd floor of the State House in Annapolis.

The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 27, 2016 at 10 a.m. Material for the upcoming meeting is available online:

For “frequently asked questions” about the Board’s charge and meetings, visit the Board’s website.

MACo Weekly News and Notes…from Twitter

The social media site Twitter has become a fast-moving setting for news, information, and advocacy on public affairs. We welcome followers of MACo’s own twitter feed for updates from the Conduit Street blog and other MACo hot topics, and often use Twitter to reach our own audience, and to hear from others following the same issues as county leaders.

Here are some tweets that caught our eye this week:

For more news and information:

Follow MACo
Follow Executive Director Michael Sanderson
Follow NACo
See Tweets on #mdpolitics

Montgomery County Offers Tips to Beat the Heat

A Montgomery County press release (2016-07-21) offered safety tips on how to beat the heat over this weekend, when temperatures are expected to reach around 100° Fahrenheit (with a heat-index nearing 110° F). From the press release:

With temperatures forecast for the upper-90s to 100° later this week, and heat indexes forecast to exceed that, County officials are urging residents to take precautions to protect themselves against heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Residents are also asked to check on elderly friends, relatives and neighbors who may be isolated to be sure they are not showing signs of heat-related illnesses. County facilities, including libraries, swimming pools, recreation and senior centers, as well as regional services centers, will be open and may provide respite from the heat.

“Summer heat can be dangerous, especially for seniors and those with chronic illnesses,” said County Health Officer Dr. Ulder J. Tillman. “It is important for all of us to check on our friends, relatives and neighbors to make sure they are safe during extreme temperatures.

The following precautions will help residents remain safe and comfortable during excessive heat days:

  • Stay indoors, whenever possible. Visit nearby air conditioned buildings in your community if your home is not air-conditioned. In addition to County facilities, residents can visit shopping malls, movie theaters and museums. A hyperthermia plan for homeless shelters has been activated and shelters that are normally closed during daytime hours will remain open so that individuals can stay indoors. Progress Place in downtown Silver Spring will remain open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for all homeless individuals.

Heat Safety Tips

  • Be careful to avoid strenuous activities that can result in overexposure to the sun, such as sports and gardening. If you must do a strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning before 9 a.m.
  • Libraries, recreation centers and pools are good places to cool off, along with shopping malls and movie theatres. To quickly find the location of public facilities, go to and type in your location. The website includes the locations of pools, parks, libraries, regional services center, recreation centers, Metro stations and hospitals. Residents with questions about specific locations and hours of operation should call 3-1-1 or 240-777-0311 from a cell phone. Anyone without air conditioning and unable to get to a cool facility should call the Montgomery County Crisis Center at 240-777-4000 for assistance.
  • Drink more water than usual.
  • Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more fluids.
  • Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.
  • Remind others to drink enough water.
  • Avoid drinks containing alcohol, or caffeine or, high amounts of sugar.
  • When outdoors, wear proper protection from the sun. Light-colored clothing, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen protection are recommended.
  • Never leave young children, the elderly, or pets in a car for ANY amount of time, even if the windows are cracked open.
  • The Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center staff recommend that domestic animals be kept indoors during periods of extreme heat. Many types of animals can be subject to serious injury and possible death from a variety of heat-related causes. Animals that must remain outdoors need to be provided with shade and given plenty of water. Executive Regulation 10-10AM, Anti-Cruelty Conditions for Dogs, Section 1.0-II-D is enforced in the summer months as long as and/or whenever the Weather Service issues an Excessive Heat Warning. This regulation states that, “A person must not tether a dog under circumstances that endanger its health, safety, or well-being, including: unattended tethering of a dog during a weather emergency.” The penalty for this violation is a fine of $500.
  • Monitor those at high risk. Those at greatest risk of heat-related illness include:
  • Infants and children up to four years of age;
  • Individuals 65 years of age and older;
  • Individuals who are ill or on certain medications; and
  • Individuals who are overweight.