County Officials Will “Hit the Ground Running” With MACo’s Newly Elected Officials Orientation

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MACo’s Winter Conference, “Charting the Course,” is scheduled for January 2-4, 2019 at the Hyatt in Cambridge, MD – approximately 600 people are expected to attend. The Newly Elected Officials Orientation on January 2 will give new county officials an overview of foundational county governance practices.

County government is often characterized as “where the rubber meets the road” in providing vital core services to its residents. 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.

With 62 individuals joining the county government ranks in December, MACo is once again hosting its highly acclaimed “Newly Elected Officials Orientation” as part of its annual Winter Conference.

During this orientation, newly elected county officials will learn about local government budgeting and structure, along with their role in working with the Maryland General Assembly. A roundtable mentoring session will give new officials the chance to learn directly from seasoned elected officials about the duties, responsibilities, and challenges they will face over the next four years.

The orientation is open to new county elected officials only, providing an opportunity for new officials to network with peers and learn from expert speakers and leaders. It is included in the County Full Registration or the County Wednesday-only + Wednesday lunch ticket Registration. REGISTER TODAY!

MACo’s Newly Elected Officials Orientation
January 2, 2019; 8:00 am – 2:45 pm; Hyatt Regency, Cambridge, MD

8:00 am – 8:30 am – Welcome & Introductions
New members will be introduced to MACo and will hear briefly from the National Association of Counties, the Local Government Insurance Trust, Nationwide Retirement Solutions, and the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance about resources available to public officials as part of MACo membership.

8:30 am – 9:00 am – Local Government Structure
Hear the inside scoop on how things work in Maryland counties. In this session, speakers will outline county government types, including Commission, Code Home Rule, and Charter structures, and discuss how the structure of a local government influences your governance as elected officials. Speakers will share personal insights and experiences stemming from the intricacies and peculiarities of the relationships between county government and other entities, including: Local Election Boards, Local Health Departments, Local Boards of Education, Community Colleges, Libraries, Circuit Courts, and Sheriffs.


  • Shelley Heller, County Administrator, Kent County
  • Wilson Parran, Deputy County Administrator, Calvert County; 2009 MACo President

9:00 am – 9:45 am – The County Elected Official’s Role in the Legislature
State elected officials want to hear from you regarding legislation that will affect local revenues, operations, and services. After all, you work for the same constituencies. During this session, you will hear from a state Senator and Delegate offering tips for working most effectively with your county’s delegation in the General Assembly. You will also learn about MACo’s role in the legislative process and how you can participate in our advocacy efforts.


  • The Honorable George Edwards, Maryland State Senate (invited)
  • The Honorable Sheree Sample-Hughes, Maryland House of Delegates
  • Natasha Mehu, Legislative Director, MACo

10:00 am – 11:00 am – Mentoring Roundtable: What to Expect as a Newly Elected Official
Peer-to-peer mentoring is the focus of this roundtable discussion. Newly elected county officials will have the opportunity to ask questions of veteran and current elected officials and learn from their knowledge and expertise.


  • The Honorable The Honorable Steve Arentz, MD State Delegate; Former MACo Board Member; Former Commission President, Queen Anne’s County
  • John Barr, Commissioner, Washington County; 2016 MACo President
  • The Honorable Debra Davis, MD State Delegate-Elect; Former Commissioner, Charles County
  • The Honorable Tom Duncan, Former Council Member, Talbot County; 2014 MACo President
  • The Honorable Andrea Harrison, MD State Delegate-Elect; Former Council Member, Prince George’s County
  • The Honorable James “Capt’n Jim” McMahon, Former Council Member, Harford County
  • The Honorable Thomas “Mac” Middleton, Former MD Senator; Former Commissioner, Charles County
  • The Honorable Laura Price, Council Member, Talbot County
  • The Honorable Craig Rice, Council Member, Montgomery County
  • The Honorable Sheree Sample-Hughes, MD State Delegate; Former Council Member, Wicomico County
  • The Honorable Rikki Spector, Former Council Member, Baltimore City; 1995 MACo President
  • The Honorable Jen Terrasa, MD State Delegate-Elect; Former Council Member, Howard County
  • The Honorable Jerry Walker, Former Council Member, Anne Arundel County; 2018 MACo President

11:15 am – Noon – Local Government Budgeting
A county budget is the most important managerial tool available to local government. It serves as an operations guide, a financial plan, a communications plan, and a policy document. During this session, speakers will discuss the importance of the budget, how to account for revenues and expenditures, and fiscal pressures that affect the bottom line.


  • Ted Zaleski, Director of Budget & Management, Carroll County
  • Robert Sandlass, Treasurer, Harford County

Noon – 1:00 pm – Lunch Session: Foundations for Local Leadership
A strong foundation of knowledge and skills is needed to successfully navigate the many different facets of being a local government leader. In this session, speakers will briefly touch on the basic skills and information every county government practitioner needs to know: risk management, conducting meetings, reaching consensus, financial management, ethics, employment issues, and the Open Meetings and Public Information Acts. All of these topics are covered more fully in the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance certificate program through the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy, but this introductory overview will get participants started on the path toward becoming an accredited county leader!


  • Consensus & Team Building: Thomas Reynolds, Director, Education Services, Maryland Municipal League
  • Basics of Risk Management: Larry Bohlen, Director of Field Services, LGIT
  • Employment Issues/County Finance: Ted Zaleski, Director of Budget & Management, Carroll County
  • Effective Meetings/Ethics: Ernest Crofoot, Esq.
  • Open Meetings/PIA: John Mathias, County Attorney, Frederick County

1:15 pm – 2:45 pm – Ethics
(Academy for Excellence in Local Governance Core Course)

Officials should be knowledgeable of their public ethics ordinance, as generally required by state law. Many officials fill out the necessary forms and assume that they have complied with the law. But are their day-to-day actions living up to the intent of the law? There is often a fine line between legal and ethical behavior, and this class illustrates the differences through real-life scenarios and small group discussions.

Speaker: Ernest Crofoot, Esq.

Winter Conference Early Registration Rates Deadline: November 30


Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: