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2016 MACo Winter Conference: December 7-9, 2016 | Cambridge, MD
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2017 MACo Board of Directors Installed

On Thursday evening, December 8, 2016, Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford installed the MACo Board of Directors for 2017. The installation took place at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland during the MACo Winter Conference at the Inaugural Ceremony and Awards Banquet. The 2017 slate of Members and Officers are as follows:

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2017 MACo Board of Directors

Officers:

  • Kevin Kamenetz, County Executive, Baltimore County – President
  • Jerry Walker, Council Member, Anne Arundel County – First Vice President
  • William Pickrum, Commission President, Kent County – Second Vice President
  • Barry Glassman, County Executive, Harford County – Secretary
  • Jan Gardner, County Executive, Frederick County – Treasurer
  • John Barr, Commissioner, Washington County – Past President

Members:

  • Rushern Baker III, County Executive, Prince George’s County
  • Charles Fisher, Commissioner, Somerset County
  • Matthew Holloway, Council Vice President, Wicomico County
  • Allan Kittleman, County Executive, Howard County
  • Isiah Leggett, County Executive, Montgomery County
  • Wilbur Levengood, Jr., Commissioner, Caroline County
  • Sharon Green Middleton, Council Member, Baltimore City
  • Laura Price, Council Member, Talbot County
  • Evan Slaughenhoupt, Jr., Commissioner, Calvert County
  • William “Bill” Valentine, Commissioner, Allegany County

These individuals were elected by the assembled membership at the MACo Business Meeting earlier in the day to serve in the Association’s top leadership positions.

Cannabis in the Workplace: Clearing the Haze at #MACoCon

To date, 25 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized cannabis use to some degree. Most recent laws legalizing cannabis use have been geared towards removing criminal penalties for users, and do not fully address workplace issues posed by medical cannabis.

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From left to right, Shad Ewart, Dr. Stephen Fisher, William Tilburg, Allegany County Commissioner William Valentine

Attendees to the MACo Winter Conference session “Cannabis in the Workplace: Clearing the Haze” learned about potential liability and logistical issues due to the changing landscape of state medical cannabis laws, including the potential for accommodation requests and wrongful termination claims.

Anne Arundel Community College professor, Shad Ewart, discussed the current state of medical cannabis laws in Maryland. Mr. Ewart also talked about the potential for entrepreneurial opportunities in the emerging medical cannabis industry.

William Tilburg, Deputy Director of the Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy, discussed some of the legal issues surrounding medical cannabis. Tilburg also discussed medical cannabis laws in other states, with a particular focus on  those who have been through the process of legalizing medical cannabis. Furthermore, William discussed how the Obama administration has gone about addressing this issue, along with the potential changes that could arise with a new administration.

Finally, Director of Health Services at Chesapeake Employers Insurance Company, Dr. Stephen Fisher, discussed the chemical composition of cannabis, the lack of evidence-based research on either the positive or negative side effects of medicinal cannabis use, and issues surrounding cannabis use and workplace safety.

The session was moderated by Allegany County Commissioner William Valentine and held from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm on December 8.

The MACo Winter Conference is being 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.”

BAT Septic Update at #MACoCon

2016-maco-winter-conference-batter-up-photo-1Attendees to the BATter Up! Understanding the BAT Septic System Issue panel  on December 7 at the 2016 MACo Winter Conference received an update on the proposed regulations to repeal the mandate that best available nitrogen removal technology (BAT) septic systems be used outside of a critical area. Panelists also discussed alternative methods to offset the BAT septic nitrogen loads and implementation issues.

Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Water Management Administration Director Lynn Buhl noted that changing the BAT septic requirements was a major complaint made to the Regulatory Reform Commission. Buhl stated that the revised regulations allowed counties to tailor requirements to address their specific watershed issues and was not a “one size fits all” solution. Buhl described how the regulations fit into MDE’s “3 Rs” strategy of reform (regulations), retool (septic enforcement and maintenance compliance), and rethink (connecting areas served by septics to a wastewater treatment plant). Buhl also discussed changes that would need to be made to the Bay Restoration Fund starting in FY 2018.

2016-maco-winter-conference-batter-up-photo-2Frederick County Sustainability and Environmental Resources Manager Shannon Moore discussed potential alternative methods to offsetting current nitrogen septic loads , including through regular pump outs. Moore also discussed the need to offset some or all new septic system loads under the State’s forthcoming “Aligning for Growth” policy through onsite mitigation, nutrient credit trading, or a fee in lieu.

Baltimore County Ground Water Manager Kevin Koepenick  highlighted implementation issues facing the counties, including: where BAT systems may still be required, permits issued for an uninstalled BAT system where the permittee now wants to change to a conventional septic system, and taking a BAT system out of service.

Maryland Senator Johnny Ray Salling moderated the panel.

Smart Growth Subcabinet Hears County Concerns at #MACoCon

The Governor’s Smart Growth Subcabinet heard about land use concerns from county officials at an open forum on December 7 at the 2016 MACo Winter Conference. The Subcabinet helps implement Maryland’s Smart Growth policy, including recommending to the Governor changes in State law, regulations, and procedures needed to support the policy. Maryland Secretary of Planning Wendi Peters chairs the Subcabinet.

The Subcabinet heard from representatives from MACo, Western Maryland, Southern Maryland, and Central Maryland on issues including:

  1. Continuing to support transit oriented development, redevelopment, and revitalization efforts in urban areas;
  2. Creating a new set of priority funding area criteria (PFA) that better addresses rural growth issues;
  3. Providing a stronger role for local zoning  in the siting of energy generation facilities (per MACo’s 2017 Legislative Initiative);
  4. Addressing the loss of property rights created by the septic tier map tier 4 classification by allowing some flexibility in the tier definitions;
  5. Providing greater flexibility in the use of local Program Open Space (POS) funding;
  6. Creating a better transportation plan for areas between the Washington DC and Baltimore metropolitan regions;
  7. Addressing conflicts along the edges of abutting agricultural and residential zones; and
  8. Continuing water quality restoration efforts.

County officials also complimented the Maryland Department of Planning on undertaking a more collaborative approach in working with local governments.

Secretary Peters indicated that the comments made to the Subcabinet mirrored similar concerns MDP has heard throughout the state and that State agencies were already starting to look at some of the mentioned issues.

Fighting Fire with Fiber at #MACoCon

While the technology to implement Next Generation 9-1-1 is available now, there are many issues that local governments must work through relating to technology standards, the process of transition, governance, and funding. Attendees to the MACo Winter Conference session “Fighting Fire with Fiber: Connecting to Next Gen 9-1-1” learned about the best practices, challenges, and implementation of Next Generation 9-1-1.

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Cecil Emergency Services Director Richard Brooks discusses Next Generation 9-1-1.

Steve Souder, Director of the Department of Public Safety Communications in Fairfax County, VA, started off the panel by giving a general overview of Next Generation 9-1-1. Mr. Souder also discussed issues concerning location accuracy, call re-routing, funding, and interoperability.

Next, Chief Operating Officer at NTT DATA, Inc., Chris Merdon, presented on fiber-optic networks and other equipment necessary for a Next Generation 9-1-1 network. Mr. Merdon also spoke about network security concerns associated with NG911.

Bill Ferretti, Director of the 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center in Montgomery County, discussed issues that extend beyond technology, specifically the potential implications for 9-1-1 emergency call center staff.

Finally, Richard Brooks, Director of the Department of Emergency Services in Cecil County, discussed the impact of Next Generation 9-1-1 on local governments. Specifically, Mr. Brooks addressed concerns about the impact of Next Generation 9-1-1 on employee retention and recruitment.

The session was moderated by Senator Cheryl Kagan and held from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm on December 7.

The MACo Winter Conference is being 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.”

Debunking the Budget Process at #MACoCon

On Wednesday, December 7 at 3 pm, MACo Winter Conference attendees gained an understanding about the county government budget process and reading complex public financial documents at the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance Core Class, “County Financial Management.”

A challenge faced by new and veteran county officials is understanding and using the government budget process, the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, and other financial documents effectively as tools for setting priorities and managing government while maintaining fiscal integrity. Fiscal management can be infused with economic assumptions, technical jargon, and a process that seems foreign to the uninitiated.

At this session, Speaker Ted Zaleski, Director, Department of Management & Budget, Carroll County discussed the budget process and financial reporting, and gave practical tips for county officials. The course was moderated by the Honorable Todd Turner, Council Member, Prince George’s County. 

Run. Hide. Fight! To Survive an Active Shooter Event

Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. While an active shooter scenario may unfold in various locations, public and government settings are particular targets.

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MACo conference attendees learn what to do in an active shooter incident.

In a special deep-dive session at MACo’s Winter Conference today, Deputy First Class Wehrle of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office shared the best way to prepare for the worst-case scenario of an active shooter incident.

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Harford County Council Member Capt’n Jim McMahan speaks about the tactical requirements for today’s police force.

The Honorable James “Capt Jim” McMahan, Jr., Council Member, Harford County moderated the session. In introducing Wehrle, McMahan compared him to an Army Ranger or Navy Seal, stating,

The world has changed such that the thin blue line in your community must be trained to deal with any sort of situation. – Capt’n Jim McMahan

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Could you jump out of a second story window? Deputy Wehrle tests attendees’ willingness and ability to run from an active shooter.

Wehrle’s presentation included national statistics from the FBI and specific response technics based on the most recent data and law enforcement studies. As described by Wehrle,

  1. Run. Even if you have to run past a shooter, this is your best chance of survival during an active shooter incident.
  2. Hide. If you cannot run, hide, and use every means possible to delay the suspect from finding you.
  3. Fight! If necessary, cooperate with those with you to swarm your assailant.

#MACoCon Attendees Trained to Save Lives with Naloxone

Training provides attendees with the skills to identify an opioid overdose and administer live saving medication. 

St. Mary’s County Health Officer, Dr. Meenakshi Brewster, trained and certified MACo Winter Conference attendees on using Nalaxone for overdoses.

Naloxone is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent overdose by opioids such as heroin, morphine, and oxycodone. It blocks opioid receptor sites, reversing the toxic effects of the overdose.

Dr. Meenakashi Brewster trains MACo Winter Conference attendees on how to spot and opioid overdose and to administer treatment, Naloxone, that helps save lives.
Dr. Meenakashi Brewster trains MACo Winter Conference attendees on how to spot and opioid overdose and to administer treatment, Naloxone, that helps save lives.

Attendees learned how to:

  • Recognize an overdose
  • Respond to an overdose (and how not to!)
  • Administer Naloxone

Participants received a certificate of completion and a dose of Naloxone in the form of narcan nasal spray kit.

This training, which was provided by the Maryland Association of County Health Officers (MACHO), was offered on Wednesday, Dec. 7 following the screening of Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict.  

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

A Tree for Your Health and Your Wealth

Local parks and recreation services offer countless value to our residents and counties. Three benefits were explored today in a MACo Winter Conference Session.

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Delegate Otto introduces a panel on the value of parks, noting the 100 year anniversary of our national park service.

In Reconomics 101: Local Parks Yield Big Returns, attendees learned about innovative programs and services being offered by local parks and recreation from county parks and recreation specialists.

Rick Anthony, Director, Anne Arundel Recreation and Parks described the economic value of parks, including the revenues brought in by parks that serve as wedding venues, and that provide water access. Anthony shared,

Recreation and parks departments are one of the few county departments that have the capacity to raise revenue.

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Montgomery Parks: a prescription for your health.

Mitra Pedoeem, Acting Deputy Director, Montgomery County Parks described how access to nature through our parks can increase residents’ health, not only improving quality of life, but creating long term community savings. Pedoeem stated,

Green spaces are needed and we have to protect them.

Susan C. Simmons, Director, Caroline County Recreation & Parks shared how to connect residents to the mission of preserving the environment through parks. Preservation of natural resources is only possible through outreach. Simmons said,

Connecting people with the natural world requires sacrifice, curiosity, and persistence.

The session was moderated by The Honorable Charles J. Otto, Maryland House of Delegates, who noted the value of state and national parks in addition to local open spaces.


Experts Open Up About Open Meetings at #MACoCon

On Wednesday, December 7 at 1:15pm, MACo Winter Conference attendees received an overview of Maryland’s Open Meetings Act Law at the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance Core Class, “Open Meetings.” This class guided public officials in the requirements for providing public notice of the meetings that public bodies hold to conduct public business and for closing meetings when appropriate.

Presenters Ann MacNeille, Assistant Attorney General, Opinions and Advice for the Office of the Maryland Attorney General and John S. Mathias, County Attorney, Frederick County focused on steps that local governments can take to comply with the law’s application to Maryland local government. They discussed new requirements under the Act as of October 1, 2016, such as requirements to make agendas of meetings available at least 24 hours in advance in most cases.  They also discussed some of the cases and complaints that have come before the Open Meetings Compliance Board. They wrapped up by stressing that “a lot of this is common sense.”

This course was open to all conference registrants. It was moderated by the Honorable Amanda Stewart, Commissioner, Charles County.