Pension Report Sees Growing Divide Between Best, Worst-Funded State-Level Systems

A report by the Center for State and Local Government Excellence shows the best-funded state pension plans are receiving better ongoing commitments than the lesser-funded ones. Maryland rated in the middle section of this study. The report, tracking though FY 2017, shows the evolving state of pension plans across many states. Their key finding is that the spread between the best-funded and more poorly-funded plans has grown dramatically in recent years - as evidenced by…

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Southern Maryland Counties Stay Blue, Red, Red

The three Southern Maryland Counties retained their single-party domination in 2018, with each of the three electing a complete slate from a single party - the same as in 2014. Charles County's Commissioners will all be Democrats, while Calvert and St. Mary's Counties will all be Republicans, again. Charles County will see new leadership, as former County Commissioner Reuben Collins returns to county elected office as the Commission President. He will be joined by two…

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Garrett and Caroline — Only Two Counties Returning Full Slate
Caroline County Commissioners (from left to right): Daniel Franklin, Larry Porter, Wilbur Levengood (photo source: Caroline County)
Garrett and Caroline — Only Two Counties Returning Full Slate

Among the counties across the state contesting elections for their Commissioners, Councils, and Executives last night... only two, Garrett and Caroline, will return their full complement of elected officials for the next term. Both counties, perhaps not coincidentally, have only three County Commissioners. Garrett County is used to being something of an anomaly in Maryland policy and politics - a large part of the county lies West of the continental divide, and its waters nominally…

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2018 Turnover Brings 71 New Faces To County Offices

With the 2018 general elections now complete, here is an overview sketch of the results for the 135 county offices contested during the elections. View MACo's full summary of county election results. For these purposes, MACo references "county elected officials" as including 10 County Executives (including the Mayor of Baltimore), 90 Council Members, and 54 County Commissioners - but does not include various other offices elected at the county level. (The elected officials of Baltimore…

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Calvert Launches Animal Shelter Website

The Linda L. Kelley Animal Shelter in Calvert County, named for a longtime County Commissioner, now features a website featuring information about adoptions, lost and found pets, surrendering an animal, volunteering, fostering and more. The website is an effort to expand the reach of the county's animal programs, and to promote local events. “We will strive to always provide the best overall experience to anyone who visits our shelter,” said Animal Shelter Division Chief Crystal…

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MACo Seeks a Policy Professional

MACo is seeking a new addition to our policy team. The full-time, professional position of Policy Associate is available at the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo). Principal responsibilities include covering and advocating for legislative and administrative policy issues affecting county government, policy research, and coordination with county professional organizations. Requirements for the position include: excellent written and oral communication skills, familiarity with Maryland state and local government, ability to engage membership and stakeholders on social media,…

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Trying to Follow School Funding? Here’s a Primer

A new 17-page primer on Maryland school funding is a concise and useful tool for understanding these high-profile, and high-importance, programs. The Department of Legislative Services - the nonpartisan staff agency to the General Assembly - has developed a nuts-and-bolts overview of public school funding. The document, presented to the Kirwan Commission on October 10 as that Commission carries into its final weeks of deliberations, offers background and definitions of the various elements of Maryland…

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Maryland Joins Several States with Election Process “On The Ballot”

Maryland voters will be asked whether to approve a state constitutional amendment to enable same-day voter registration. Several other states have election reforms up for voter approval this November as well. In Maryland this year, the last date to register to vote for the November 2018 general election is Tuesday, October 16th - 21 days before election day. If a proposed constitutional change is approved by voters in November, that timetable may be changed by…

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FBI: Drones for Terror an “Escalating Threat” in US

The Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray has noted unmanned aircraft -- or "drones" -- represent a substantial and escalating threat as implements of terror or crime. The discussion was part of a scheduled briefing, held on October 10 before the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. From a report in Bloomberg news: Drones pose a “steadily escalating threat,” as the “unmanned aircraft systems” are likely to be used by…

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First NACo ExDir Bernie Hillenbrand Dies at 93

Starting in the 1950s, Bernie Hillenbrand helped build the beginnings of our modern-day National Association of Counties, as its first full-time Executive Director. He died this week at 93, following a brief illness. One collaboration strategy for Hillenbrand, according to the NACo website, was to bring the professional staff to a "retreat" at his farm in Washington County, Maryland. Hillenbrand was a 1951 alumnus of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse…

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