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2016 MACo Winter Conference: December 7-9, 2016 | Cambridge, MD
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Syringe Advisory Committee Commences Work

The first meeting of the Syringe Services Program Standing Advisory Committee was held Wednesday at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) headquarters.

Syringe services programs provide people suffering from addiction with clean needles and linkages to treatment, counseling, and education services. A recent law expanded authorization for these programs to operate across the state.

The Advisory Committee, Chaired by Deputy Secretary for Public Health Dr. Howard Haft, is charged with providing consultation to DHMH on regulations guiding implementation of Syringe Services Programs as well as providing technical assistance to programs on developing operating procedures, community outreach and education plans, and a protocol for linking program participants to substance-related disorder treatment and recovery services.

A broad range of stakeholders serve on the Advisory Committee including individuals experienced in the prevention of HIV and viral hepatitis, individuals with syringe exchange programs; individuals with substance use experience; health care practitioners; law enforcement; local health officers; family members of injection drug users; and academics among others. MACo is represented on the Advisory Committee by Associate Director Natasha Mehu.

The meeting included a review of the legislative history of syringe services programs in Maryland; a briefing on DHMH overdose and response data; a review of draft regulations for syringe services programs; and an overview of the roles and responsibilities for the Advisory Committee moving forward.

Earlier this year the General Assembly passed and the Governor signed into law SB 97 Public Health – Opioid-Associated Disease Prevention and Outreach Programs which authorized syringe service programs. It created a comprehensive, public health-based structure governing the authorization, qualifications, and operating requirements for individual programs. It also set requirements for programs to provide linkage to drug counseling, treatment and recovery services; testing for HIV, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmitted diseases; HIV and viral hepatitis education; overdose prevention education and access to or referrals to obtain naloxone.  The Syringe Services Program Standing Advisory Committee is a component of. MACo supported this bill with amendments to the “local option” authority. A MACo representative was added to the Standing Advisory Committee to help give local governments a voice in the oversight of the programs.

The Advisory Committee will meet quarterly with the next meeting tentatively scheduled for mid to late January.

Previous coverage on Conduit Street:

MACo Supports Drug Outreach Programs; Advocates for “Local Option”

2016 End of Session Wrap Up: Health and Human Services




Different Angles on a New State School Construction Program

Several ideas were raised by Commissioners and local governments testifying before the 21st Century School Facilities Commission today on what to change, and what to keep, about the state school construction program.

In a letter to the State Superintendent, Martin Knott, Chair of the 21st Century School Facilities Commission stated,

“. . . the IAC may undergo changes in the very near future, changes that the Commission believe will improve the IAC as an independent organization and the school construction review and approval process.”-Martin Knott,

He restated this intent today at a meeting of the Commission in Annapolis, outlining a plan to provide recommendations on the Interagency Committee on School Construction to the General Assembly this December.

One of the first to testify before the Commission at today’s meeting was the Maryland Secretary of Planning, Wendi Peters. In response to comments made at a previous meeting questioning whether or not the Planning Department needed a voting seat on the Interagency Committee on School Construction, the Secretary made clear her desire to maintain a voting position,

“We would respectfully request that as you consider the structure of the IAC, going forward, that you also carefully consider the unique training and the experience that Planning brings to the table, and maintain Planning’s role, not just as a consultant, but as a voting member in the decision-making process.”-Secretary of Planning Wendi Peters


Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz submitted testimony recommending the state distribute school construction funding in a block grant format to improve the efficiency of the program and the ability of local jurisdictions to meet market conditions. From his testimony,

State School Construction Funds should be distributed to the counties in the form of a block grant. The funding distribution formula can be developed using specific, equitable guidelines and local jurisdictions will be bale to use up to their current maximum State percentage for total project costs. Projects can be required to continue to adhere to IAC policies and could be audited for compliance.

Commissioner Barbara Hoffman, who is also a member of the Interagency Committee on School Construction raised the idea of differentiation between counties, that the IAC’s review process might differ depending on a local school system’s ability to manage and review its own school construction projects.

“I’m very interested in the concept of differentiation. One of the reasons why we’re looking at the structure of the Public School Construction Program and the IAC is that the counties are very different one from the another, some have much more capacity to do things themselves than others.” – Commissioner Hoffman

Frederick County Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Ray Barnes suggested a possible new direction for the State’s Public School Construction Program, with a focus on research and development rather than plan review,

A concentration on research and development would. . . be a useful focus for a State Agency like the Public School Construction Program. They could engage in research on new technologies in HVAC systems, less expensive approaches to construction methods, trending data on the impact of instructional technology on classroom design, options to the LEEDs program for meeting the [State’s] energy performance requirement, etc.  In order to do this they would need to re-purpose their mission from what it is now, provide equity among school facilities throughout the State to include something like:  Research emerging trends in design and construction to provide cost effective schools for Maryland students.


From L-R, Dorchester County School Facilities Manager Chris Hague, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Calvert County School Construction Director George Leah, and Frederick County Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Ray Barnes testify before the 21st Century School Facilities Commission.

For more information, see the video of the hearing, and check the General Assembly website for testimony and other materials.





Maryland Awarded $2 Million Grant to Expand Apprenticeships

The federal ApprenticeshipUSA Expansion Grant will be used to invest in the State’s registered apprenticeship program.


According to the Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation, this US Department of Labor grant funding will be used grow traditional and non-traditional industry sectors,

Maryland will use the grant funds and leveraged resources to catalyze efforts to grow and diversify Apprenticeships to provide a sustainable employment pipeline in both traditional and non-traditional industry sectors focusing on three critical elements:

  1. Expanding Capacity by Increasing Staffing and Infrastructure
  2. Outreach/Education
  3. Advancing Innovative Practices

Secretary Kelly Schulz of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation stated in a press release,

Under the leadership of Governor Hogan, Maryland is working toward a sizeable increase in apprenticeships, from 7,186 in 2012 to 9,258 today, with a goal of 9,500 by the end of 2016.

MACo follows apprenticeship and workforce development issues that affect the school construction industry. As highlighted at MACo’s Spring Symposium, workforce shortages in school construction have led to additional costs, and future shortages are predicted. For more information, see School Construction Workforce Shortages – Bracing the Gaps.

For more information about the ApprenticeshipUSA grant, see DLLR’s apprenticeship grant information and the DLLR Press Release.

Attention Counties: The Maryland Smart Energy Communities Program Now Accepting Funding Applications

A total of $1.6 million is available for the FY 17 Maryland Smart Energy Communities (MSEC) program. This funding is to be divided between new and existing Maryland Smart Energy Communities with $725K for eligible energy efficiency projects, and $855K for eligible renewable energy and transportation projects. New and Existing Community applications are due by February 16, 2017.

What’s new?

MSECBeginning in FY17, the MSEC Grant Program will no longer consider Low-to-Moderate Income Projects. Communities with eligible projects must submit a separate application to the Clean Energy Communities Low-to-Moderate Income Grant Program. For more information, visit the LMI Grant Program website.

Is my community eligible to apply?

All Maryland counties and incorporated municipalities are eligible and encouraged to apply. See more eligibility details and ranking criteria here.

How do I apply?

Has your community received funding from the MSEC program before? Existing communities can download the Existing Communities application here.

Is your community new to the MSEC program? New communities can download the New Community application here.

Where can I print a one-pager to share?

A one-page overview PDF document is available online here.

Want guidance on the application or a project idea?

Existing Community Webinar: Ask questions, discuss projects and ranking criteria, and address other items related to the program with the MSEC Program Team and peer communities. Thursday, December 1 @ 1pm. Sign-up here to join the discussion.

New Community Webinar: Receive a brief program overview, ask questions, discuss projects, and get comfortable with the program. Join the MSEC Program Team and peer communities for this event. Wednesday, November 30 @ 10am. Sign-up here to join the discussion.

If you can’t make the webinar, don’t hesitate to contact Caitlin Madera or Sean Williamson with questions. Learn more about the program online at:

MACo Welcomes Bronze Corporate Partner: The Northeast Maglev

MACo is proud to welcome The Northeast Maglev as a Bronze Corporate Partner.

TNEMThe Northeast Maglev (TNEM) is a U.S.-owned company based in Baltimore, Maryland committed to bringing the revolutionary Superconducting Maglev (SCMAGLEV) to the Northeast Corridor, the most congested transportation region in the country. The SCMAGLEV system is capable of speeds up to 311 miles per hour, and can link Washington and New York in just one hour.

Learn more at For more information on what TNEM can do for you, please contact Robert Kiernan.

Bond Bills and Budgets and Hearings – Oh My!

AnnapolisStateHouseMACo’s Half-Day Annapolis Immersion Training on November 7, 2016 will help you navigate the Maryland General Assembly Session.

There are still a few seats left, but they’re going quickly.

Learn the basics – where to park, how to sign-up to testify, where to go for lunch.

And the very complex – how a bill is heard, what a bond bill is/how it affects the budget, the most effective way to testify.

Included in this FREE training:

  • Overview of the General Assembly Session and the Legislative Process
  • What is MACo and its Role in the Legislative Process?
  • The Fiscal Note Process
  • The Bond Bill and Budget Hearing Process
  • Tips on Testifying
  • Tour of the State Capitol, Senate, and House Buildings

These topics will be covered by MACo staff, experts from the Department of Legislative Services, and appropriate staff members from House or Senate Committees.

View the Agenda.

Who should attend?

  • Newly elected or appointed officials
  • Veteran officials or professionals who want a refresher
  • Interns or new policy-focused professionals

This event is a membership benefit for MACo Members – only Maryland county elected officials and county staff members are invited to attend. If space is available, other individuals may register for a fee. Please contact Allison at to be added to the waitlist.


Latest Strategies and Successes for Combatting MD Homelessness

In its most recent meeting, the Joint Committee on Ending Homelessness reviewed the 2016 Annual Report on Homelessness, which was prepared by Maryland’s Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH). The report outlines the work of the ICH, trends in homelessness, and provides policy recommendations to the Joint Committee on Ending Homelessness.

According to the report,

This report highlights the ICH’s accomplishments in 2016. The most notable accomplishments include:

  • Supported the successful execution of Youth Reach Maryland, the first count of unaccompanied homeless youth and young adults throughout six jurisdictions.
  • Held multiple strategy sessions to improve methods of sheltering the homeless during inclement weather emergencies.
  • Successfully began tracking and publishing deaths of the homless during extreme weather months.
  • Adopted a Housing First definition and created a summary of homeless service funding sources for the state.
  • Began work to consolidate programs within two of three state agencies to make homeless services funding more efficient and effective.
  • Created a resource guide that summarizes services available to homeless veterans statewide.

The ICH also praised best practices from local jurisdictions. Cecil and Carroll were amongst those recognized in the report:

In Cecil County, both providers and emergency management personnel plan for the winter weather season together. Starting early, ahead of the frigid portion of the season allows jurisdictions to have adequate time to assess existing resources and anticipate service gaps in sheltering the homeless.

In 2014, Charles County executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between local stakeholders, outlining the individual roles of each entity. This allows cold weather shelter stakeholders to clearly define their roles and responsibilities and formalizes their planning process ahead of each winter season.

The infographic below provides a snapshot of statewide homeless data collected in 2016.

Courtesy Interagency Council on Homlessness

For more information, read the full report.

At this year’s MACo Winter Conference, you can learn about best practices and challenges related to homelessness in Maryland.

Here are more details:

Title: Winter Is Coming: Fortify Your Shelters for Frosty Weather

Description: While resources for sheltering have been stretched thin in recent years, through strengthening partnerships and improving data sharing, local jurisdictions are seeking to provide safety and warmth to the homeless throughout the year, and especially during winter. Homeless Management Information Systems, point-in-time counts, and shelter data can contribute to the work of public and nonprofit partners providing shelter to the homeless in cold weather. In this session, learn how year-round data collection and assessments can inform and strengthen partnerships to provide sheltering for a population in need, when they need it the most.

Date/Time: Thursday, December 8, 2016; 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

The MACo Winter Conference will be held December  7-9, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland. This year the conference’s theme is “An Ounce of Prevention.”

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference:

County Executive Highlights Baltimore’s Manufacturing Industry Successes

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz lauded the success of the changing manufacturing landscape in the county and affirmed the county’s commitment to supporting the growing industry. These remarks came after Kamenetz toured Zentech Manufacturing in Woodlawn this week.

As reported in The Baltimore Sun:

Kamenetz also highlighted some of the 492 diverse manufacturing companies that provide 13,800 jobs and produce $948 million in annual wages, according to federal labor statistics.

These include DuClaw and Heavy Seas breweries, Benyon Sports in Hunt Valley, a manufacturer of turf fields, and Mann-Pak, a veteran and family-owned packaging company in Middle River that makes the thin brown paper that helps seal Reese’s peanut butter cups.

The county has about 20,000 businesses.

“These companies have found that making things is good business,” he said. “They know their markets, they know their customers and innovation is what they need to be successful right here in Baltimore County.”

As the image of manufacturing changes, so do the jobs that are in demand for it to thrive, Kamenetz said.

The jobs are less labor intensive and require workers with an an education in science, technology, engineering and math, he said.

It’s the county’s goal, he said, to create educational opportunities to help fill the needed jobs.

Read The Baltimore Sun to learn more.

Tri-County Council Briefed on Workforce Development Program

The Southern Maryland Tri-County Council was briefed by consultant Mary Ann Lawrence, CEO of PowerNotes, LLC, on workforce development.

The Bay Net reports:

Workforce development efforts in Southern Maryland include Job Source offices in all three counties and a mobile van that makes appearances at many local events. The TCC Workforce Development Director Ruthy Davis introduced Lawrence and presented four examples of individuals and businesses in the area that have successfully used the programs.

Lawrence noted that with the economy improving and the unemployment rate declining, federal monies are now focusing on the harder-to-place unemployed. They include those economically and physically disadvantaged, but also professionals laid off after years in their chosen field. The latter are displaced “through no fault of their own,” Lawrence said.

The Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland is made of legislators, county commissioners and at-large members selected by each county. Lawrence said the elected officials played a big role in the workforce development effort through their financial support. She said it provided a big bang for the financial bucks.

Read The Bay Net for more information.

Fun Fact: Did You Know that Anne Arundel County is Home to the Nation’s First & Only Cryptologic Museum?

Question: Did you know that Anne Arundel County is home to the nation’s first & only cryptologic museum?

enigma exhibit
Courtesy of the National Cryptologic Museum

It’s true! The National Cryptologic Museum shares the Nation’s, as well as NSA’s, cryptologic legacy and place in world history. Located adjacent to NSA Headquarters at Ft. George G. Meade, Maryland, the Museum houses a collection of thousands of artifacts that collectively serve to sustain the history of the cryptologic profession. Here visitors can catch a glimpse of some of the most dramatic moments in the history of American cryptology: the people who devoted their lives to cryptology and national defense, the machines and devices they developed, the techniques they used, and the places where they worked. For the visitor, some events in American and world history will take on a new meaning. For the cryptologic professional, it is an opportunity to absorb the heritage of the profession.

Originally designed to house artifacts from the Agency and to give employees a place to reflect on past successes and failures, the Museum quickly developed into a priceless collection of the Nation’s cryptologic history. The Museum opened to the public in December 1993 and quickly became a highlight of the area.

Being the first and only public museum in the Intelligence Community, the Museum hosts approximately 50,000 visitors annually from all over the country and all over the world, allowing them a peek into the secret world of codemaking and codebreaking.

anne-arundelSource: National Security Agency’s website

Do you have a fun fact to share about your county? If so, please send it to Kaley Schultze to be featured in MACo’s weekly Fun Fact on Conduit Street.