County government is often characterized as “where the rubber meets the road” in providing vital core services to its citizens. Whether it is repairing potholes, keeping the public safe, setting local land use policies, or providing the first response in a crisis, counties have a direct and tangible impact on their residents. Consequently, they are also the level of government closest to the people and most directly answerable to them.
County governance is a challenging business, requiring knowledge of a broad range of issue areas. To assist with the transition into public life, MACo is offering a “Newly Elected Officials Orientation” on Wednesday, January 5, 2011 in conjunction with its winter conference to be held on January 5-7, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge.
Join us to learn about local government budgeting and structure, as well as have the opportunity to network and learn from seasoned elected officials about the duties, responsibilities, and challenges you will face over the next four years. Topics will include: transition into public life, expectations and challenges, duties and responsibilities, press relations, constituent issues, crisis management, land use, and relevant policy issues. In addition, participants will learn about the inter-relationship between counties, municipalities, and the State.
The schedule is as follows.
8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. – Welcome and Introductions
8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. – Local Government Structure – What you need to know
9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. – What to Expect Now That You Are a County Elected Official
10:25 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. – County Elected Officials Role in the Legislature
11:15 a.m. to 12 noon – Local Government Budgeting
12 noon to 1:00 p.m. – Lunch and Value of Forging Relationships
1:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. – Ethics
3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. – Open Meetings
Whether you are a newly elected official or have held public office before, you will find value in this orientation. The Academy for Excellence in Local Government (Academy), a professional development program designed to train informed and responsible local officials, has designated the orientation as a course elective and both the Open Meetings and Ethics classes have been designated as core courses. These core courses are also being offered to those officials currently enrolled in the Academy. Information on the Academy can be found on the MACo website.
The rest of the Winter Conference will build on this orientation by describing county responsibilities and current challenges in the areas of budget management, land planning, local corrections, human services, parks and recreation, health, transportation, and county/school board relationships. Also hear from representatives from the Maryland General Assembly and the Governor’s Office about critical issues that will be before the General Assembly during the 2011 Session.
We look forward to seeing you on January 5, 2011 and during the rest of the Winter Conference. Registration and program information can be found on the MACo website and session updates will be posted on the MACo blog, Conduit Street.