9/18 NACo Regional Conf Call: White House Guest Speaker

The National Association of Counties’ Northeast Region (including Maryland) will host its monthly conference call with county officials, NACo staff and invited guest speakers.

At the next call – 9:00am on Wednesday September 18 – Britt Carter from the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs will join the call to update county officials on key White House initiatives that may affect counties, and will be able to take questions.

See below for the preliminary agenda for the conference call, including call-in details:

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NACo Northeast Regional Conference Call

Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018

9:00AM EST


Dial-In(toll free): 1-888-757-2790

Guest Passcode: 299194

 Conference Call Objectives

  • Regular update from your NACo Regional Representative
  • NACo Staff update on critical issues legislatively and organizationally
  • Address issues of concern to you


 Welcome and Introductions

  • Christian Leinbach– Chairman, Berks County Commissioners (PA) / NACo NE US Representative

Roll Call by State – Each state will be called and Elected County Officials will be given the opportunity to state their name and county.

General Legislative/NACo Update

 Arthur Scott –  Assistant Legislative Director/Political Outreach Manager

  • General Legislative Update

White House Report – Britt Carter – Associate Director, White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

  • Will provide an update on White House initiatives and take questions

Upcoming NACo Webinars:(NEW INFORMATION)

NACo Conferences:

2040 Transportation Plan – MDOT Wants Your Comments

The Maryland Transportation Plan (MTP) is updated every five years through extensive consultation and coordination with state, regional and local government stakeholders and outreach to Maryland’s citizens. The perspective of transportation users has been critical in shaping the development of the Draft 2040 MTP: Connecting You to Life’s Opportunities. You can now view a copy of the Draft Plan at the Maryland Transportation Plan website.

The Draft 2040 MTP includes highlights of Maryland’s transportation trends, key challenges and opportunities and high-level transportation needs and revenues over the next twenty years. It outlines goals and objectives, and provides highlights of major accomplishments since the last Plan. The Draft 2040 MTP identifies strategies for implementing the long-range plan, as well as illustrative projects in each of the five Maryland regions, and ultimately identifies performance measures to illustrate how well we implement the Plan.

There will be a two month public comment period which will end on November 15, 2018. Comments and questions should be emailed to 2019MTP@mdot.state.md.us. Public feedback will be used to inform the Final Plan, which is anticipated to be adopted in January 2019. Thank you for your input and please stay involved as we continue to develop and finalize the Maryland Transportation Plan.

WY Political “Robocall” Ban Struck Down As Unconstitutional

A federal judge has struck down a Wyoming law banning political “robocalling” as violating the US Constitution’s first amendment

Wyoming’s law seeking to curtail invasive political messaging through telephone messages has been rejected by a federal judge, citing constitutional protections for free speech. The ruling, in part, hinges on the “breadth” of the state-passed legislation, so the matter may not be fully settled for all areas.

From coverage in Governing:

U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson ruled that a Michigan-based polling firm, Victory Processing LLC, should be allowed to gather information on voters and do polls in Wyoming by way of automatic telephone calls.

Johnson said the Wyoming law banning political robocalls was “overinclusive” in that it “completely prohibits political speech through robocalls while allowing commercial speech under certain circumstances.”

Multiple states have passed various laws to limit or restrict such tactics, and the tension with free speech protections is likely to remain a focus for state governments and aggrieved parties as courts hear multiple challenges.

NACo Announces High Performance Leadership Academy

NACo’s new Leadership Academy is an online training to develop professional talent in your county staff

naco logo

The NACo High Performance Leadership Academy is an online 12-week program that will empower frontline county government professionals with the most fundamental leadership skills to deliver results for counties and communities.

Without traveling away from the county, participants will use an online, interactive learning platform to engage in live events, video sessions and breakout group discussions.

With a robust curriculum developed by the Professional Development Academy in a partnership with Fortune 1000 executives, public sector leaders, world-renowned academics and thought leaders, including General Colin Powell and Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, it focuses on five essential skills:

LEAD: Engage teams and stakeholders to foster positive climates and exceed common expectations
ORGANIZE: Plan, lead and execute organizational change more effectively and consistently
COLLABORATE: Establish alignment and strong partnerships through building stronger relationships
COMMUNICATE: Create clarity, confidence and community
DELIVER: Measure projects and processes to deliver results aligned with county and community priorities

A world-class faculty of prominent public, private and university sector leaders will deliver each course. All module content is guided by an expert moderator.

Who should participate?

The program is designed for county professionals — specifically entry- to mid-level county staff.

Each participant remains accountable for their training and progress through the direct involvement of their supervisor at the county. Supervisors are encouraged to meet with participants and review the program content as related to individual development plans. Supervisors also receive regular dashboard reports that outline the learning progress of the program participant.

What is the time commitment?

The program is built to accommodate busy work schedules without interfering with daily operational responsibilities. Participants must commit to spending about 3-5 hours per week engaged with the program to complete a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous activities along with a cohort of professional peers from other county governments as well as other public and private sector entities.

What is the cost?

The 12-week program typically costs $1,995 per enrollee; NACo secured a discounted rate for members at $1,495 per enrollee. For the first participant from each member county, NACo will provide a one-time stipend of $1,000 to subsidize the discounted rate, with a $495 matching contribution by the participant’s county employer. Counties may enroll additional participants at the discounted rate of $1,495 each.

Want to know more?

About the Academy
About the Curriculum

Brian Namey
NACo Director of Public Affairs
(202) 942-4220

Could Global Factors Slow The Local Solar Boom?

Maryland has seen a rapid growth in both utility-scale and smaller-level solar generation capacity – witnessed by the land use pressures facing many parts of the state (and legislation in recent years to address those continuing pressures). See prior Conduit Street coverage of solar issues for a flavor of this ongoing challenge to local, especially agricultural, land use.

A report on the Bloomberg news site indicates that China’s recent announcement of reduced plans for new solar installations could trigger a contraction in this market, where growth has been strong in recent years:

The global solar market could do something this year that it’s never done before: shrink.

Solar installations in 2018 may total 95 gigawatts, down 3 percent from a year earlier, based on the most conservative of three scenarios modeled by Bloomberg NEF in a report Monday. For comparison’s sake, the typical nuclear reactor has about a gigawatt of capacity.

The forecast, even with its potential call for some retraction, still suggests an overall upward trend, possibly fueled by a decline in price for equipment and materials for installations, also resulting from reduced Chinese demand.

Floreen May Make Independent Run for Montgomery County Executive

In the wake of a still too-close-to-call Democratic primary, term limited Council Member Nancy Floreen turned heads as she filed a declaration to run as an independent candidate for Montgomery County Executive.

The filing of an intention to run is a necessary step toward a formal bid as a party-unaffiliated candidate for the office. As part of her filing, Floreen indicated that she has not yet committed to a run, but submitted the filing by Monday’s deadline to leave that option open. Floreen was term-limited from running again as an at-large Council Member, and did not run in this year’s Democratic primary for any office.

From coverage on the “Bethesda Beat” political section of Bethesda Magazine:

Floreen, who lives in Garrett Park, said in a statement released Monday afternoon that she filed the paperwork because she faced a Monday deadline to do so, but she will wait until the Democratic primary results are certified to decide if she will run for county executive.

At-large council member Marc Elrich and businessman David Blair remain locked in a tight race for the Democratic nomination for county executive that hinges on an ongoing count of provisional and absentee ballots. After the most recent count concluded on Friday, Elrich leads Blair by 149 votes.

Election officials plan to count more than 5,000 provisional and absentee ballots on Thursday and Friday, which is expected to decide who won the Democratic primary.

The Washington Post also detailed the potentially uncertain footing of an independent run, while currently remaining registered as a Democrat:

In her letter to the Montgomery County Board of Elections, Floreen wrote that she plans to change her party affiliation to independent from Democrat on July 9, when voter registration reopens.

“At that point, my petition drive will commence,” she wrote.

She added that she believed there was an “issue raised about my eligibility” to run as an independent, but she argued that there was nothing requiring her to be an independent until she is nominated, which wouldn’t occur until next month.

Floreen’s filing on Monday complied with the deadline for doing so, but was in discord with state law’s restriction that voters may not alter party affiliation until 11 days following the primary election.

Middleton Upset in Senate Race, Among Numerous Annapolis Leaders Departing

Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and longtime county champion, was upset in his District 28 primary by challenger Arthur Ellis. With all precincts reporting, Ellis holds a 52-48% edge, likely enough to withstand any remaining provisional and other as-yet-uncounted ballots.

Middleton served as President of the Charles County Commissioners, and a member of the MACo Legislative Committee, before pursuing the State Senate seat in 1994. In the Senate, he rose through leadership to become a well-respected committee chair, and frequent floor “broker” of politically complicated compromises. He was also a stalwart defender of local governments, reflecting on his time as a county commissioner often as he weighed policy matters in the General Assembly.

Middleton was one of several General Assembly leadership victims. House Judiciary Committee Chair Joe Vallario was also a primary victim, running third in his two-member sub-district. Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affair Committee Chair Joan Carter Conway was slightly behind after Tuesday’s vote-counting in her Baltimore City primary bid.

Maryland Matters has prepared a thorough discussion of leadership changes in Annapolis from this week’s primaries, available online under the title “Stunning Developments.” Few political observers expected the Middleton primary defeat.

Coupling the primary defeats with a number of voluntary retirements or departures, the General Assembly in 2019 will likely see its greatest leadership transformation in a generation.

Davis Advances in Delegate Bid

Charles County Commissioner Debra Davis succeeded in her primary bid to join the House of Delegates, securing the Democratic nomination for District 28. She joins returning incumbents C.T. Wilson and Edith Patterson as nominees into the general election, where Democrats have held all three seats since 2006.

Commissioner Davis has served for two terms, after initially being elected to serve District 2 in 2010. In addition to various posts within Charles County, Commissioner Davis has also served since 2015 as the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT), helping guide its delivery of insurance coverage for local governments across Maryland. Commissioner Davis practices law outside her public service roles.

See the State Board of Elections results for District 28 and elsewhere across Charles County.

State Secretaries Hance, Hutchins Advancing In Calvert Commissioner Race

Two familiar Annapolis figures have advanced in contested primary contests for Calvert County Commissioner – former Agriculture Secretary Earl “Buddy” Hance, and former Delegate and current State Homeland Security Advisor Thomas “Tim” Hutchins. These two will advance to the general election as Republicans, joining incumbent Steve Weems, Mike Hart, and newcomer Kelly McConkey.

Current Commissioner and MACo Board member Evan Slaugenhoupt, Jr. did not seek election to a third term. Incumbent Commissioner Tom Hejl was defeated in the at large primary by Hance.

For the last two terms, Calvert has elected all five Republican nominees.

Tim Hutchins served as a State Delegate from District 28 (Charles County) from 1995 to 2003, after which he joined the Ehrlich Administration. Across the two most recent Republican administrations, he has served in numerous cabinet-level capacities: Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs, Secretary of State Police, and currently as Governor Hogan’s Homeland Security Advisor.

Earl “Buddy” Hance served as Secretary of Agriculture from 2009 to 2015 under Governor O’Malley. During the same time, he served on the University of Maryland Board of Regents, and in his Secretary capacity as a leader or member of numerous state-level administrative and governance bodies.

See the Calvert County results from the State Board of Elections website.

MACo’s election coverage and analysis relies, as always, on unofficial results published by the State Board of Elections. Official results will follow, after a full accounting of pending ballots. Given the larger-than-usual expected number of provisional ballots (which would not be included in the unofficial vote total), readers are advised that any close unofficial results are subject to realignment in the days ahead.

Alsobrooks Earns Strong Victory in Prince George’s Exec Primary

Current State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks won a decisive victory in the Prince George’s County Executive race, establishing a full majority with nearly 62% of the vote from a nine-member field with multiple credentialed candidates. Among the other candidates included former Congressional representative Donna Edwards, current State Senator C. Anthony Muse, and one-time Lieutenant Governor Sam Bogley.

Alsobrooks has served since 2014 as Prince George’s County State’s Attorney, the first woman and the youngest official to serve in that role. After graduation from the University of Maryland Law School, Angela began her career as a Prince George’s County Assistant State’s Attorney in 1997, eventually becoming the county’s first full-time prosecutor assigned to handle domestic violence cases where she tried, and successfully prosecuted scores of cases against violent offenders. She has also served as an education liaison for Prince George’s County.

From the Washington Post coverage:

“We are so looking forward to moving our county forward,” ­Alsobrooks told cheering supporters Tuesday night.

“I have heard you loudly and clearly. More than anything, I know Prince Georgians,” said ­Alsobrooks, who promised to address residents’ concerns about county schools.

Republican Jerry Mathis will also be on the ballot in November, but in heavily Democratic Prince George’s, the primary is tantamount to winning the election.

See the Washington Post election night coverage.

See the Maryland State Board of Elections site for full Prince George’s County results.