Tech Ready To IGNITE At #MACoCon

Tomorrow’s Tech Expo will kick off with a fast-paced session where vendors make their pitch to attendees – in under 60 seconds each.

Screenshot 2017-08-15 21.29.23
A slide from the IGNITE pitch for one of MACo’s Tech Expo vendors describe the cyber threat landscape of the modern workplace.

Join the excitement at MACo’s IGNITE Switch-Pitch, where you will also hear from the leadership of the Maryland Association of County Information Technology Officers with their asks of the private sector.

Here’s a sneak preview.

My Top 5 Picks for #MACoCon After 5 Years at MACo

This year I am celebrating my five year anniversary as a member of the Maryland Association of Counties staff. This year’s MACo Conference (#MACoCon) will be my sixth, and I have never been more excited about a MACo Conference.

MACo’s Research Director shares her picks from this year’s MACo Conference.

Here are my Top Five Picks from the MACo Conference Schedule:

  1. Wednesday’s Virtual Reality Panel

One of the reasons that I like going to conferences myself is to learn about new areas. The speakers in this panel were tapped by the Maryland Tech Council – MACo’s partner in the Tech Expo this year and they are true innovators. This session is an opportunity to meet people who make a living turning ideas into reality. I think you will come away surprised at how much sci-fi they have actualized into on-the-street solutions.

2. Wednesday’s Biotech Panel

On the Biotech panel at the Tech Expo, MACo and the MD Tech Council are bringing you the best-of-the best. Biotech is a big economic driver for Maryland, and something every Marylander should know a bit about. Meet the leaders who have made Maryland a biotech titan, and hear how you, as a local elected official, can support statewide growth of this high-earning industry.

3. Thursday’s Taste of Maryland

This new tradition is one of my favorite events at the conference (I confess I am a bit of a foodie). Sample treats from every county, and hear some tunes from a home-grown fiddle and guitar duo (Calvert county’s finest). Just don’t make this your only trip to the county- booth hall. There are many things to learn in these exhibits (and stop by the MACo Booth while you’re at it!).

4. Friday’s Pitch Competition

It’s on this Friday morning when entrepreneurs from 5 industry sectors battle for bragging rights as the best bet for Maryland’s economy — and a feature slot at the next MACo Conference. I have never been more impressed or inspired by what is happening right here in our state than while planning this session. These will not be off-the-cuff presentations by small start-ups; these are seasoned entrepreneurs who have already seen major success, and brought big dollars and many jobs to Maryland. Competitive by nature, they are taking this event seriously and despite the background I have I truly cannot predict who you — the audience, or our expert judges are going to select for top honors.

4. Saturday’s Education Session

2018 promises to be a big year for education in Maryland politics. We will see the wrap-up of the Knott Commission on school construction and the Kirwan Commission on education adequacy — two major statewide task forces that will make recommendations to the General Assembly for the coming Session. While there are many viewpoints in education policy, there is one perspective that many share — we have to make sure that we are preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s workforce. One of the hot topics in this area is career and tech training in high schools, an area that has grown significantly in past years and is poised for another renovation. Hear more in this session.

I look forward to seeing you in Ocean City this week!

9 Counties Could See a Decrease in State’s School Construction Funding Share in 2019

The Interagency Committee on School Construction has recommended revised state cost share percentages to the Board of Public Works.

As described in the IAC meeting agenda, the state contributions on a percentage basis to four local education agencies (LEAs, or school boards), will increase, while the state contribution to nine others will decrease.

The Percentage of four (4) LEAs will increase, 11 LEAs and the Maryland School for the Blind Percentage’s will remain unchanged, and the Percentage of nine (9) LEAs is decreased. By regulation a decrease in Percentage cannot exceed 5% in any fiscal year. Therefore, for Baltimore City the decrease will occur over two (2) fiscal years.


The state’s school construction funding share only applies to eligible costs in school construction, so architectural and engineering fees, furnishings and other costs remain the whole responsibility of local governments, in addition to the percentage of project costs not covered by the State’s share.

The Board of Public Works will vote on the revised state share recommendation at its August 16 meeting.

From the agenda:

Screenshot 2017-08-11 12.23.53.png



Looks Who’s Talking at #MACoCon

SC17 Promo Image


Register today

FRIDAY, August 11: Last day for pre-registration
WEDNESDAY, August 16: On-site registration opens

Featuring more than 126 Speakers – All Experts and Leaders in their Fields!

Here are a few of our distinguished speakers…

The Honorable Ben Cardin
United States Senator
Town Hall Forum with US Senator Cardin
Thursday, August 17
1:00 pm – 1:45 pm

The Honorable Dutch Ruppersberger
United States Representative
The Voice of Entrepreneurship: Who Has the Perfect Pitch for Maryland?
Friday, August 18, 2017
9:00 am – 10:45 am


The Honorable Larry Hogan
Governor of Maryland
Governor’s Closing Address
Saturday, August 19, 2017
11:30 am – 12:30 pm


Rohit Bhargava
Founder, Influential Marketing Group
Keynote Presentation: How to Use Stories to Build Trust
Thursday, August 17, 2017
9:00 am – 10:00 am

Tami Howie

Tami Howie
Chief Executive Officer, Maryland Tech Council
The Voice of Entrepreneurship: Who Has the Perfect Pitch for Maryland?
Friday, August 18, 2017
9:00 am – 10:45 am

Gregory Branch, MD, MBA, CPW, FACP
President, Maryland Association of County Health Officers
Learn to Save a Life at #MACoCon – Overdose and CPR Training
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

caryn york

Caryn York
Executive Director, Job Opportunities Task Force
Second Chance for Workplace Success – A Good Program is Good for Your County
Thursday, August 17, 2017
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

julia lenzer

Julia Lenzer
Associate Vice President of Innovation and Economic Development and Co-Director of UM Ventures, University of Maryland
Headsets On: Get Ready for Virtual Reality and the Social Shake-Up
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

clay stamp

Clay Stamp
Executive Director, Governor’s Opioid Operational Command Center
Opioid Forum: Combating the Crisis
Saturday, August 19, 2017
10:00 am – 11:15 am

“Chasing the Dragon” Opioid Addiction Documentary at #MACoCon

The FBI and DEA have released Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict a documentary intended to educate students and young adults on the dangers of drug abuse through startling first-person accounts of those who have suffered the consequences.

The 45-minute film, whose title refers to the never-ending pursuit of the original or ultimate high, features stark first-person accounts told by individuals who have abused opioids or whose children have abused opioids, with tragic consequences.

“This film may be difficult to watch,” explains FBI Director James Comey, “but we hope it educates our students and young adults about the tragic consequences that come with abusing these drugs and that it will cause people to think twice before becoming its next victim.”

And according to Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg, “The numbers are appalling—tens of thousands of Americans will die this year from drug-related deaths, and more than half of these deaths are from heroin and prescription opioid overdoses. I hope this [documentary] will be a wakeup call for folks.”

Visit the FBI Chasing the Dragon website for more information including discussion guides and behind the scenes materials.

Join us for a screening of Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict at the 2017 MACo Summer Conference. The screening will be held from 9:00 am – 10:0 0am on Saturday, August 19.

The MACo Summer Conference is August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD. This year the conference’s theme is “You’re Hired!”

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:


U.S. Senator Ben Cardin to Give Federal Update in #MACoCon Town Hall Forum

Senator Cardin is a national leader on health care, retirement security, and fiscal issues.

Congress’s decisions on transportation, education, healthcare, and the environment affect every state in the country and each county in Maryland. To learn more about Congressional policies and what they mean for your county, attend this year’s MACo Summer Conference.

At this year’s Conference, you can hear an update on the happenings in Congress directly from US Senator, Ben Cardin during a Town Hall meeting moderated by Brian Bowden, Associate Legislative Director, National Association of Counties.

Here are details of the Town Hall at MACo:

Title: Update with US Senator Cardin


In a town hall setting, Senator Cardin will give an update on legislation in the 115th Congress and speak with county elected officials about their top priorities. Senator Cardin has been a national leader on health care, retirement security, and fiscal issues as a member of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. He is also a leading advocate for the Chesapeake Bay – the economic, historical, and cultural heart of Maryland. Senator Cardin was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006. He is a senior member of the Environment & Public Works Committee (EPW) and Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee and serves on the Senate Finance Committee (SFC).


Date/Time: Thursday, August 17, 2017; 1:00 pm – 1:45 pm

The MACo Summer Conference will be held August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City Maryland. This year the conference’s theme is “You’re Hired!”

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Sen. Hershey Supports County “Right To Work” Option

State Senator and MACo friend Stephen Hershey indicated plans to introduce legislation during the 2018 session to give counties the option to become “right to work” counties, enabling them to opt to prohibit employers and unions from compelling union membership.

Senator Hershey sees the legislation as an economic development initiative. He makes the case that employers are more likely to bring manufacturing jobs to right-to-work locations, since those manufacturing employees are less likely to unionize than workers in non right-to-work locations. 

From the Cecil Whig:

Essentially, by prohibiting unions from compelling membership, the law enables employees to choose not to join the union and pay union dues. Without the mandate that employees join their respective union — if one exists — the union loses funds and membership, therefore losing political weight during collective bargaining.

Maryland is not a right-to-work state, meaning that companies and unions can compel union membership. The idea behind compulsory membership is to eliminate “free riders” — those who benefit from the union without paying union dues.

This legislation, which is still being drafted, would give local jurisdictions the ability to say whether they are a right-to-work county or possibly even a right-to-work municipality.

Read the full article here.

MACo’s Weekly County News & Notes… from Twitter

The social media site Twitter has become a fast-moving setting for news, information, and advocacy on public affairs. We welcome followers of MACo’s own Twitter feed for updates from the Conduit Street blog and other MACo hot topics, and often use Twitter to reach our own audience, and to hear from others following the same issues as county leaders.

Here are some tweets that caught our eye this week:

Follow MACo
Follow Executive Director Michael Sanderson
Follow NACo
See Tweets on #mdpolitics

Hogan Lauds St. Mary’s Police Efforts and Murder Charges for Drug Dealers

At a press conference held Wednesday morning in Leonardtown, Governor Larry Hogan joined St. Mary’s County’s Sheriff Tim Cameron, Attorney Richard Fritz, and Sheriff Captain Eric Sweeney, as well as Maryland State Police Colonel William Palozzi to praise their efforts through a long-term investigation to bring charges against suspected drug dealers whose actions have led to overdose deaths.

McClatchy DC Bureau reports on Hogan’s remarks on what the success in St. Mary’s could mean for other counties running investigations across the state and for turning the tide on the crisis:

Hogan, speaking a news conference in Leonardtown, said he hopes the long-term investigation would serve as a model to prosecutors statewide for fighting a deadly epidemic that resulted in more than 2,000 overdose deaths last year in Maryland.

“Everyone is entitled to due process, and everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but I believe that this is the level of tough prosecution that we need in order to turn the tide in this deadly fight,” Hogan said. “Investing in prevention and treatment can only work if we eliminate the threat posed by drug traffickers all across the state of Maryland.”

The Bay Net provides more information on the charges that were filed against the eight individuals:

Fritz announced the indictments of eight individuals on second-degree murder charges related to drug sales and the deaths of drug users.

Each of the suspected drug dealers is now facing charges of second degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and additional distribution and possession charges.

For more information:

Fritz to announce murder charges related to overdose deaths (The Bay Net)

Maryland governor applauds murder charges in overdose cases (McClatchy DC Bureau)


Thank You to our Generous #MACoCon Sponsors!

MACo’s Summer Conference is next week, August 16-19 – we’d like to thank all of our sponsors for their support!

Event & Food Sponsors:

General Sponsors:

Mobile App Sponsor:

Golf Tournament Sponsors:

Program Ad Sponsors:

Tech Expo:

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: