Sound the Siren: Support Maryland’s Volunteer Fire Companies

Do you have any idea how unsustainable the costs of fire protection would become without Maryland's volunteers? Learn more about this critical resource and how new recruitment tactics, retention benefits, and long-range planning will help support and strengthen Maryland's volunteer fire companies. Back-to-back conference sessions on Maryland's volunteer fire service offer insight into this critical public safety partnership. Volunteer fire companies are a part of the national fabric and are at the heart of many…

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Ignoring Your Volunteer Firefighter Shortage Doesn’t Make It Go Away

Across the country, volunteer fire companies are experiencing a critical lack of volunteers to staff calls for service and Maryland is no different. Confronting the crisis requires learning new recruitment and retention practices, and making long-term plans that ensure resiliency. The number of volunteer firefighters has been declining in recent years. According to a 2017 report of the National Fire Protection Association, This past year the number of volunteer firefighters decreased to the lowest estimate…

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Held Hostage: Protecting Your Data from Cyberattacks

Cybersecurity and data protection are increasingly important for county governments in today's connected world. A MACo Summer Conference session advances a discussion of best practices with input from Maryland's resident expert on data privacy, State CIO Mike Leahy. Where can you hear a discussion of a hot topic like cybersecurity and county governments with Maryland's Chief Information Officer, moderated by a US Congressman? MACo's Summer Conference, that's where. Join county information technology officers from across…

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Your School Portfolio Will Never Outperform Mine

A webinar offered by the Maryland Public School Construction Program on managing a school portfolio is open to the public, including county and school officials interested in learning best practices in facility management. The Public School Construction Program is offering a series of four (4) webinars as part of their support of the State's workgroup on school facility funding. The General Assembly envisioned the workgroup as part of the 21st Century School Facilities Act, passed…

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Funding Formula for Senior Nutrition Shifts Dollars from Some Counties

The Eastern Shore's provider of Meals on Wheels and other nutrition programs for seniors received less than half of the funding it has been receiving from the State this year.  A change to formulas for state funding of nutrition programs for area agencies on aging made in 2016 is now in effect. The change, intended to reflect shifts in the population, moves substantial funding from Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties, via a reduction to…

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Restitution Dollars for Marylanders, Requirement Updates for Credit Reporting Agencies

Settlement of the 2017 Equifax data breach will result in $5.7 million payout to Maryland, and sets new standards in personal information practices, oversight, and monitoring. As reported by Technical.ly Baltimore, Maryland will receive $5.7 million through a settlement with Equifax over the massive 2017 data breach that exposed the information of more than half of American adults. Maryland's Attorney General spoke at a national news conference following the settlement, according to Technical.ly, sharing the importance of…

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The Underappreciated Upside of Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Drone technology has many potential applications for county governments - and some that are already in play. Back-to-back sessions on drone technology at MACo's Summer Conference Technology Expo will delve into government enforcement of unlawful uses of drones AND government uses of unmanned aircraft. In The Underappreciated Upside of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, speakers will share information including: Lessons learned from starting up a county drone program Weighing the decision between contracting pilots versus going in-house…

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Government Employment. . . It Gives You Wings

New guidance from a publication in Governing suggests that employers who foster growth of their employees will have more success in recruitment and retention. It is not easy to find the right employee. And for county governments employers constrained by set salary, grade, and benefit structures, the task can be even more daunting. One way to improve outcomes is to gain insight into the perspectives and priorities of different generations of applicants - from millennials…

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Summer Reader? Grab a MACo Classic from the Archives.

In addition to weekly updates on happenings in Maryland's counties and an ever-shifting set of policy areas, during the break from the legislative session, MACo's blog regularly features several deep-dive research series on topics of perennial importance to county governments.  Over the years, the contributors to MACo's blog have assembled the following series. Whether you are catching up on your reading this summer, or simply need something to help you fall asleep at night, you…

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Renewable Race May Have Clean Competition

Updated renewable energy standards go into effect on October 1, 2019 and Governor Hogan promises a new clean energy initiative. The State's renewable energy portfolio standards do not apply directly to you and me. But they do affect us, and our county governments, in several indirect ways. Counties use energy to deliver critical services to residents and power their facilities, so new laws have the potential to affect the costs of providing government services or…

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