Winter #MACoCon Academy Electives Tackle Agritourism, Parks and Rec Technology, Cannabis Policy, and More!

Fellows of the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance (County Track) are required to complete 8 Core Courses and 6 Elective Courses to earn their certificate through the University of MD’s School of Public Policy – MACo will offer 5 Electives to be held at the 2021 Winter Conference.

academylogoThe Academy for Excellence in Local Governance is a volunteer certificate program for elected and appointed county and municipal officials. The program provides a strong background of necessary skills and knowledge for local government leaders. It was founded by MACo and MML, is facilitated by the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy, and is sponsored by the Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT).

Core Courses to be offered: Employment Issues and Open Meetings Act

Academy courses are open to ALL conference registrants – Academy Fellows must complete evaluation forms for each class to earn credit.

Academy Fellows with questions about their transcripts should contact registrar Elizabeth Hinson at

Title: Not Your Grandfather’s Farm: Tapping into Agritourism

Description: Agriculture is evolving, and one of the fastest-growing businesses in this sector is agritourism. Food trucks, wineries and breweries, event venues, and fall festivals are new and exciting elements for a modern farmer’s business model, but they all come with challenges related to public health. Local governments must balance a variety of interests by both supporting these economic development efforts and keeping the public safe. Attend this session to learn more about the challenges, opportunities, and best practices in growing agritourism in your region.


  • Amy G. Moredock, CFM, Planning Director, Queen Anne’s County
  • Bob Mitchell, Director of Environmental Programs, Worcester County
  • Colby Ferguson, Director of Government Relations, MD Farm Bureau
  • Kevin Atticks, CEO, Grow & Fortify

Date/Time: Wednesday, December 8, 2021; 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Title: Health Behind Bars

Description: COVID created an unprecedented public health crisis across the state, including behind bars. Learn how local correctional facilities established continuity of care in the most stressful environments, while also implementing continually revised COVID protocols. Also, gain insight into how correctional facilities are tackling the state’s other pending public health crisis, opioid overdoses and death, through expanded medication assisted treatment. 


  • Larry Polsky, Health Officer, Calvert County
  • Mary Ann Thompson, President, Maryland Correctional Administrators Association
  • Larry Doll, Senior Vice President for Strategic Development, Wellpath 

Date/Time: Wednesday, December 8, 2021; 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Title: Subscribed: Budgeting for the Digital Age

Description: The technology world has largely moved to subscription-based models. With on-premise hardware and software, it was easy to calculate costs because they were always predictable. And, while a more scalable and flexible cloud model can foster a stronger IT infrastructure, it can also lead to ongoing investments in time and money. In this session, an expert panel will discuss best practices for counties to understand, control, and manage IT costs.


  • Ted Zaleski, Director, Budget and Management, Carroll County
  • Remi Osimore, Principal, CLA Baltimore
  • Informatica Representative (TBA)

Date/Time: Thursday, December 9, 2021; 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Title: New Tech for Parks and Rec: Rebooting Public Spaces

Description: Parks and public spaces are evolving to include more than the traditional outdoor offerings. As broadband becomes a larger part of everyday life, parks are incorporating technology into their larger operations to improve engagement with and connectivity to public facilities, programs, and services. Panelists will discuss next-level technology and how parks can play a part in the broadband accessibility discussion.


  • Jessica Ley, Director, Recreation and Parks, Anne Arundel County
  • Clint Sterling, Director, Recreation, Parks, & Tourism, Somerset County
  • Reggie Moore, Executive Director, Recreation and Parks, Baltimore City
  • Chuck Montrie, Executive Director, MD Recreation and Parks Association

Date/Time: Thursday, December 9, 2021; 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Title: Cannabis Policy Reform: Getting into the Weeds 

Description: As the State considers options for policy reform related to recreational cannabis use, counties will be impacted in a variety of ways. From human resources considerations to public safety and justice to public health and land use issues, county governments will be at the forefront of implementation and accountability. Panelists will discuss potential avenues for legislative reform, what counties can expect, and how to best prepare for change.


  • Shad Ewart, Professor, Anne Arundel Community College
  • Kevin Karpinski, Principal, Karpinski, Cornbrooks and Karp, PA
  • Debra Borden, Deputy General Counsel, MD-National Capital Park and Planning Commission

Date/Time: Friday, December 10, 2021; 11:15 am – 12:15 pm

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: