The MACo Winter Conference session “What You Need to Know About County Government”, moderated by Delegate-elect Sheree Sample-Hughes, provided a comprehensive overview of courses one could expect to take as a member of the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance. The Academy is a voluntary certificate program through the collaborative efforts of MACo, the Maryland Municipal League (MML), the Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT), and the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park, which also serves as the program’s administrator.
Tom Reynolds, Director of Education Services, Maryland Municipal League described the Team Building course, which he facilitates for the Academy. In his time, Reynolds used a hands on activity to teach active listening as a key tool for conflict resolution.
Richard Furst, Senior Loss Control Manager for Local Government Insurance Trust, described the Risk Management sessions. Utilizing real life examples, this session educates Academy members on different types of risk and how to reduce the risk for oneself and the governmental entity.
Ted Zaleski, Acting Chief of Staff/Director for the Department of Management and Budget in Carroll County reviewed the topics discussed in the Employment course, run through the Academy. These topics include personnel policies and manuals, the American Disability Act, employee termination and much more.
Elaine Kramer is the Chief Financial Officer of St. Mary’s County, and spoke about the Budget courses the Academy hosts. Focusing on the importance of accountability, transparency and communication in regards to understanding budget terms, the budget and audit process, managing expectations, and emerging financial topics.
Ernie Crofoot, County Administrator and County Attorney for Kent County, spoke about three different Academy courses: Ethics, Open Meetings, and Running an Effective meeting. Crofoot provided tips during the session overview to establish and set rules, not to accept gifts, and to conduct yourself with honesty.
The courses described during “What You Need to Know About County Government,” are practical resources for elected officials to learn to lead as effectively as possible.