MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson and Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp joined with MML representatives at a December 16 meeting with Governor-elect Larry Hogan’s transition team for the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). Both the MACo and MML representatives offered their thoughts about MDE and key environmental and land use concerns.
The Chairman of the transition group, former MDE Assistant Secretary Steve Pattison, stressed the importance of local governments to MDE’s function – both as regulated entities, but also as agents of enforcement (as many MDE-delegated functions, and other statutory mandates, are actually carried out by county agencies).
Sanderson and Knapp both praised MACo’s generally positive relationship with MDE Secretary Robert Summers and staff, noting that MACo’s relationship with MDE has been strained in the past. They also highlighted five broad environmental challenges facing the counties that incoming MDE leadership should address: (1) regulatory overload; (2) mandated oversight and enforcement; (3) treating counties as partners and not as “enemies”; (4) providing flexible rather than “one size fits all” approaches; and (5) breaking down departmental silos and having better communication across state agencies.