County Leaders Discuss the Evolving Complexities of the Workplace at #MACoCon

At the 2023 MACo Winter Conference, attendees learned about evolving trends in workplace benefits and new legal complexities for employers to consider in human resource policies.

New policies, judicial decisions, and the evolving workplace increasingly complicate human resources operations. Issues like concealed weapons in the workplace, public meeting requirements and information requests, and the pending legalization of adult-use recreational cannabis can cause headaches for even the most experienced county HR professionals. Maryland counties, as major employers, are at the forefront of the evolving workplace.

At MACo’s Winter Conference session, “Calling HR: The Evolving Complexities of the Workplace,” participants heard form a panel of human resource and legal experts about new and emerging considerations of the modern workplace, like trends in benefits, safety, and recreational cannabis. In this session, industry experts shared best practices and legal considerations for acclimating to the “new normal.”

Harford County Human Resources Director Tiffany Stephens discussed new considerations for workplace safety, including concealed carry, procurement of safety equipment, and providing safety prevention and response training for managers and county staff.

Bolton’s David Johnson discussed the new era of employee benefits, with a focus on Maryland’s Time to Care Act and paid leave. He highlighted the complexity this particular benefit poses for counties and ways in which counties might struggle to implement and provide the benefit. On modern benefits, he emphasized that regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion: “If we’re offering the same benefits that we have for decades, we’re probably missing opportunities to best serve our diverse workforce.”

Lastly, LGIT senior attorney Matt Peter tied the day’s discussion together with an overview of legal considerations for counties to take into account regarding modern the workplace. Specifically, he noted the pending legalization of adult use recreational cannabis and how counties might have to update existing testing and prohibition policies.


  • Tiffany Stephens, Director of Human Resources, Harford County
  • David Johnson, Public Sector Practice Leader, Bolton USA
  • Matt Peter, Senior Attorney, LGIT


  • The Honorable Sharon Green Middleton,  Baltimore City Councilwoman

This session was held on January 5, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland.

More about MACo’s Winter Conference: