Health Officers at #MACoCon: It’s Time for a Public Health Revolution

While COVID-19 is still circulating, public health and emergency management officials are already thinking ahead to the next threat. An expert panel at the recent MACo summer conference brought policy makers concrete recommendations for improving public health infrastructure in a way that will not only allow a better response to future emergencies, but also improve community health on an ongoing basis. The panel was moderated by Senator Brian Feldman, Vice-Chair of the Finance Committee. Dr.…

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Combatting Distracted Driving Requires Multi-Solution Approach

Combatting distracted driving to save lives was the focus of an expert panel at the “Eyes on the Road: Vehicles and Vision Zero” session at the recent Summer MACo Conference held on Ocean City. The panel was moderated by Prince George’s County Council Member Monique Anderson-Walker, a passionate advocate for improving road safety and founder of the #DrivingItHome campaign. #DrivingItHome is a community partnership that focuses on raising awareness for safe driving by stressing six…

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Trust, Authenticity, and Creative Approaches Are Key to Effective Crisis Communication

COVID-19 required county governments, health departments, and other public agencies to step up their communications game. Lessons learned for how to do that effectively for different audiences was the focus of the “Crisis Communications: Ensuring Residents are Ready” at the MACo Summer Conference, held August 18-21 in Ocean City. The session was moderated by Senator Cheryl Kagan, a champion for effective emergency communications at all levels of government. Chas Eby, Deputy Director of the Maryland…

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Addressing Generational Poverty Requires a Cultural Shift for Public Agencies

Combatting generational poverty and improving outcomes for kids was the focus of the “Reaching Troubled Kids, 2 Generations at a Time” session at the recent MACo summer conference. Audience members heard from an expert panel on practical programs that have shown success in helping to change the cycles that are detrimental to families. Christina Church is one of only seven statewide Two-Generation Officers in the country. She works at the State level to support implementation…

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First Quarter Data Shows Troubling Increase in Fatal Opioid-Related Overdoses

The MACo summer conference featured a session on Maryland’s response to the opioid crisis, which was moderated by Delegate Anne Kaiser, chair of the Ways and Means Committee. Senior leadership of the Opioid Operational Command Center (OOCC) reviewed key data and metrics around Governor Hogan’s three main policy priorities in this area: prevention and education, enforcement and public safety, and treatment and recovery. Data on the first quarter of 2021 was shared with the audience…

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New Tools and Adaptable Staff are Key to Innovating Public Services Using Technology

At the Tech Expo on Wednesday of the MACo summer conference, a panel did a deep dive into tech tools to enhance the effectiveness and agility of public agencies. Micah Intermill, a Solutions Engineer with OpenGov shared the results of a survey of their customers across the country. One of the most interesting insights from the survey was the broad consensus that using technology for public services had become essential, but at the same time,…

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Strengthening Cybersecurity Requires a Multilayered Approach

The MACo Tech Expo kicked off the annual summer conference on Wednesday and included a discussion with an expert panel about how counties can better protect against ever-increasing cybersecurity threats. Senator Katie Fry-Hester moderated the well-attended session that featured speakers that touched on four different aspects of enhancing cybersecurity. Pete Hammes, Managing Principal for Professional Security Services at Verizon focused on network segmentation. He encouraged counties to look at how they can improve both security…

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State Superintendent Choudhury Names Chief of Staff
Ary Amerikaner, photo courtesy of The Education Trust
State Superintendent Choudhury Names Chief of Staff

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is announced on August 10 the appointment of a new key member to the Maryland State Department of Education leadership team: Chief of Staff Ary Amerikaner. Appointed by State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury and approved by the Maryland State Board of Education in a special meeting yesterday, Ms. Amerikaner will join MSDE on September 20. “I am delighted to welcome Ms. Amerikaner to the MSDE team, who…

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Department of Health Announces Five Senior Leadership Appointments

This week, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH)  announced five new senior leadership appointments.​​ “Today’s appointments are part of our efforts to elevate seasoned Maryland Department of Health staff into senior leadership positions,” said MDH Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. “We look forward to their contributions in our fight against COVID-19 and other critical priority areas that enable us to keep Marylanders healthy and safe.” Tara Hargadon has been appointed Assistant Secretary of Customer Experience. In…

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Worcester County Chief Administrative Officer Harold L. Higgins to Retire

Snow Hill (August 3, 2021) –Chief Administrative Officer Harold L. Higgins, CPA received accolades from the commissioners after announcing his upcoming retirement from Worcester County Government effective August 20 after 25 years of service to the community. “While many jurisdictions nationwide faced economic uncertainty during the 2009 economic downturn and the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, Worcester County remained on solid financial footing thanks to Harold’s prudent financial leadership,” Commissioner Joe Mitrecic said. “He is a good…

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