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

MACo’s Winter Conference, “Hit the Ground Running,” is scheduled for January 4-6, 2023, at the Hyatt in Cambridge, MD – approximately 900 people are expected to attend. The pre-conference Newly Elected Officials Orientation on January 3 and 4 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 about 60 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, though pre-registration is required. REGISTER TODAY!

MACo’s Newly Elected Officials Orientation
January 3 and 4, 2023; 11:00 am – 4:30 pm; Hyatt Regency, Cambridge, MD

Jan 3, 11:00 am – 11:30 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.

Jan 3, 11:30 am – Noon: Local Government Structure – What You Need to Know

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 the governance decisions of 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
  • Tim Burke, County Attorney, Carroll County

Jan 3, Noon – 12:30 pm: Leading Local Government – Public Service Management

While there are similarities between managing in the public and private sectors, when the rubber meets the road, they are more different than similar. The dynamic between elected leaders, appointed officials, and career or merit workforce can sometimes be complex to manage, especially in counties with both legislative and governing bodies. Leaders must balance politics and policy, while also considering community input and the technical aspects, roadblocks, and possibilities of the work at hand. This session provides insight and best practices for newly elected officials who find themselves managing a government for the first time.


  • Roberta Windham, County Administrator, Carroll County
  • Tara Jackson, Chief Administrative Officer, Prince George’s County

Jan 3, 1:30 pm – 2:15 pm: County Elected Officials Role in the Legislature

State elected officials want to hear from counties regarding legislation affecting local revenues, operations, and services. After all, both serve the same constituencies, and county elected officials and professionals are deeply immersed in the communities they serve. During this session, participants will hear from a state Senator and Delegate offering tips for working most effectively with county delegations in the General Assembly. Participants will also learn about MACo’s role in the legislative process and how they can participate in the Association’s advocacy efforts.


  • Kevin Kinnally, Legislative Director, MACo
  • The Honorable Eric Luedtke, Maryland House of Delegates
  • The Honorable Mike McKay, Maryland House of Delegates, Senator-elect (invited)
  • The Honorable Sheree Sample-Hughes, Maryland House of Delegates (invited)

Jan 3, 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm: What to Expect Now That You Are a County Elected Official
(mentoring roundtable)

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 Steve Wantz, MACo Board Member; Commissioner, Carroll County
  • The Honorable Laura Everngam-Price, 2022 MACo President; Council Member, Talbot County
  • The Honorable Jim Hinebaugh, MACo Board Member; Commissioner, Garrett County; MD State Delegate-elect
  • The Honorable Sharon Green Middleton, Council Vice President, Baltimore City; 2020 MACo President
  • The Honorable Craig Rice, Council Member, Montgomery County; Former MD State Delegate
  • The Honorable Rikki Spector, 1995 MACo President, Former Council Member, Baltimore City (invited)
  • The Honorable John Barr, 2016 MACo President; Former Commissioner and Commissioner-elect, Washington County
  • The Honorable Wilbur Levengood, 2021 MACo President; Commissioner, Caroline County
  • The Honorable Mike McKay, Senator-elect, MD State Delegate; Former Commissioner, Allegany County
  • The Honorable Calvin Ball, County Executive, Howard County; Former Council Chair, Howard County
  • The Honorable John Olszewski, Jr., County Executive Baltimore County; Former MD State Delegate
  • The Honorable Andrea Harrison-Fletcher, Former Council Member, Prince George’s County, MD State Delegate (invited)
  • The Honorable Jan Gardner, County Executive, Frederick County; 2007 MACo President (invited)

Jan 3:

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm: Newly Elected Officials Welcoming Reception

6:30 pm – 8:00 pm: Newly Elected Officials Networking Dinner

8:00 pm – 10:00 pm: Newly Elected Officials Reception & MD Trivia Night

Jan 4, 8:00 am – 9:00 am: 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 introduce participants to the basic core competencies every county government practitioner needs to know, such as risk management, reaching consensus, ethics, employment issues, and the Open Meetings and Public Information Acts. Then, attendees will observe a live-action role play of an open meeting and see if they can spot the mistakes being made – they’re not as obvious as one might think!

Jan 4, 9:15 am – 10:45 am: County Financial Management

A challenge faced by new and veteran county officials is understanding and using the government budget process, the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, and other financial documents effectively as tools for setting priorities and managing the government while maintaining the fiscal integrity of the jurisdiction. Fiscal management can be infused with economic assumptions, technical jargon, and a process that seems foreign to the uninitiated. In this class, veteran public administrators discuss the budget process and financial reporting, as well as giving practical tips for county officials.

Speaker: Ted Zaleski, Director of Budget and Management, Carroll County

Jan 4, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm: Consensus and Teambuilding

This class introduces local government leaders to the basic skills needed to successfully resolve conflict and build consensus within a local government setting. Particular emphasis is placed on developing ways to improve the design of public processes to enhance community involvement and satisfaction. This class is highly interactive and involves analysis of real world examples as well as small group work built around hypothetical situations that will seem familiar to anyone who has served as a local government official.


  • Tom Reynolds, Education Services Director, MML
  • Nick White, Research & Evaluation Director, MACRO
  • Cynthia Jurrius, Executive Director, MACRO

View the full Conference program and details.

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: