Health Department Awarded $7.5M for Family Home Visits

The Maryland Department of Health was awarded a federal grant to expand a program that provides home visits, parenting skills, and other resources to pregnant women and families with young children. According to The Baltimore Sun:

The department will use the funds from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to support local agencies that make home visits to women and parents through the state’s Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. The goal of the program is to help the families raise children who are physically, socially and emotionally healthy and ready to learn.

The article reports that while the program is statewide and voluntary, the department will target jurisdictions determined to have families most at risk and in need. These jurisdictions include: Baltimore City and Allegany, Baltimore, Caroline, Dorchester, Harford, Prince George’s, Somerset, Washington and Wicomico counties.

Read The Baltimore Sun for more information.

Learn more about the ways state and local departments are partnering to bring health care into people’s homes and communities at the MACo Winter Conference.

The MACo Winter Conference will be held December 6-8, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland. This year the conference’s theme is “The Power of Partnership.”

Learn more about MACo’s 2017 Winter Conference:

 

“What Is Emergency Management?”…and Other Mysteries Revealed

You might see them take command during your county’s worst winter storm of the season, but do you know the full story? At MACo’s Winter Conference, join the State’s lead emergency manager and the President of MACo’s emergency management affiliate group for insight into the varied and vital work of local emergency managers.

doug
What’s the message? Doug Brown, Carroll County Emergency Manager, will be speaking about the emergency management profession with attendees of MACo’s Winter Conference.

“What Is Emergency Management?”…and Other Mysteries Revealed

All disasters are local. When disaster strikes, county officials must provide leadership to save lives, mobilize a response, and ensure a quick recovery for their community. Emergency management is a year-round process, a constant loop of preparation, training, testing, and revision that strengthens the resiliency of all county government functions. It ensures the continuity of government in the face of an innumerable number of disasters. In this session, get insight into creating partnerships and programs that will stand up when your county is ‘under water’ ─ and gain an understanding of the policy, fiscal, and tactical underpinnings of professional emergency management and disaster recovery.

Speakers

  • Russell J. Strickland, Executive Director, Maryland Emergency Management Agency
  • Douglas Brown, Emergency Manager, Carroll County and President, Maryland Association of County Emergency Managers

Date/Time: Wednesday, December 6, 2017; 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

 

The MACo Winter Conference will be held December 6-8, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland. This year the conference’s theme is “The Power of Partnership.”

Learn more about MACo’s 2017 Winter Conference:

County Leaders to Focus on School Funding at #MACoCon Roundtable Discussions

The next round of school funding debates is “on the table” for a roundtable discussion at this year’s annual MACo Winter Conference. Attend this session to hear updates and provide input on potential recommendations being considered by the Maryland Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education.

The Next Round of School Funding Debates

Description: Join MACo’s representatives from the Commission on Innovation and Excellence Education to hear an update on the latest round of school funding debates in Maryland. The Commission, charged with reviewing and assessing current education financing formulas and accountability measures, is set to make its final recommendations later this month. This roundtable discussion will provide elected officials with insight into any potential recommendations, which are likely to affect all of Maryland’s twenty-four jurisdictions.

Speakers:

  • The Honorable Craig Rice, County Council Member, Montgomery County
  • The Honorable William Valentine, County Commissioner, Allegany County

Moderator: Michael Sanderson, Executive Director, Maryland Association of Counties

Date/Time: Wednesday, December 6, 2017; Noon – 1:00 pm

The MACo Winter Conference will be held December 6-8, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland. This year the conference’s theme is “The Power of Partnership.”

Learn more about MACo’s 2017 Winter Conference:

Volunteer Fire & Rescue Services: A Collaborative Approach At #MACoCon

All of Maryland’s twenty-four jurisdictions depend on some level of volunteers for the delivery of fire and rescue service. The evolution of volunteer fire companies presents both challenges and opportunities for county governments.  At this year’s annual MACo Winter Conference, learn how Maryland counties are collaborating with volunteer fire companies to protect lives, property, and the environment.

Together We Respond: A Collaborative Approach to Volunteer Fire & Rescue Services

Description: All of Maryland’s twenty-four jurisdictions depend on some level of volunteers for the delivery of fire and rescue service. As volunteer fire companies continue to evolve, it is critical for local governments to strengthen their relationships with local volunteer firefighters. This session will provide an overview of the challenges and best practices related to the volunteer fire service in Maryland. Speakers will discuss challenges in oversight and authority, recruiting and retaining volunteers, and funding for both volunteer companies and county governments.

Speakers:

  • Richard Devore, Director of Emergency Services, Allegany County
  • Tom Owens, EFO, Director/Chief, Division of Frederick County Fire & Rescue Services
  • Michael Faust, Second Vice President, Maryland State Fireman’s Association
  • Clarence “Chip” Jewell, Director/Deputy Chief, Frederick County Division of Volunteer Fire & Rescue Services

Date/Time: Thursday, December 7, 2017; 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

The MACo Winter Conference will be held December 6-8, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland. This year the conference’s theme is “The Power of Partnership.”

Learn more about MACo’s 2017 Winter Conference:

Montgomery Seeks Public Input on Small Cell Antenna Zoning

(Photo courtesy of Montgomery County Office of Public Information)

Montgomery County is seeking input from residents on a draft Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) that would address the deployment of small cell antennas on public property, including streetlights and low buildings.

Small cells are wireless antennas that have a smaller footprint and shorter range than macro cells (what you would typically imagine as a large, tall, and free standing cell tower), allowing them to be placed on short poles and existing structures such as streetlights and buildings. The technology is proliferating in part to increase network capacity and coverage as the demand for wireless services has increased.

Additional background from the county’s Office of Public Information:

Because wireless technology is evolving, Montgomery County has recently received an unprecedented number of applications to deploy small cell antennas in residential neighborhoods as well as commercial areas around the County. Federal law is clear that Montgomery County cannot pass zoning laws that would have the effect of prohibiting service throughout the County. Therefore, the proposed ZTA is intended to allow providers to provide service while protecting the character of both our residential neighborhoods and commercial areas by regulating how and where these antennas can be placed, and how they should be screened or camouflaged.

Community meeting information:

  • Date: Monday, October 23, 2017
  • Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
  • Location: Stella B Warner Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, 3rd Floor Hearing Room, Rockville, MD 20850

To view the live community meeting remotely:

For more information on the meeting, to view the amendment, and to submit comments visit:

Montgomery County Transition Facilities Coordination Group – Information on Draft ZTA Amendment

 

Kent Center Receives $5,000 Award to Benefit Adults Needing Special Care

MACo leadership visits Kent Center to deliver $5,000 award check, sponsored by MD-DC-DE Beverage Association.

As part of MACo’s 2017 Summer Conference, the county exhibit booths competed to win a $5,000 award for a charity of their choice. The competition was sponsored by the MD-DC-DE Beverage Association and focused on economic development, county service innovation, and the work of the charities each county represented. The 800+ attendees who participated chose Kent County IT as the winning booth, with Kent Center being the recipient of the $5,000 award.

Group Shot
MACo Representatives Present Kent Center with $5,000 Award

On October 16, MACo President Jerry Walker (Council Vice Chair, Anne Arundel County) and Immediate Past President John Barr (Commissioner, Washington County), visited Kent Center in Chestertown, MD, to tour the facility and present the award. They were joined by Kent County Administrator Shelley Heller, Kent County IT Project Manager April Bitter, and MACo Member Services Director Virginia White.

Kent Center is the primary provider in Kent and northern Queen Anne’s Counties of daytime, vocational, CSLA, respite, supported employment, and/or residential services for 70 adults. Kent Center’s services are tailored to meet the specific needs of each person they serve, with a team of program coordinators and professionals who focus on enhancing their lives in multi-faceted ways. President Walker and Past President Barr took a tour of the Kent Center facility, meeting the clients and learning about the services provided.

As part of their programming, Kent Center runs a diverse business services program, including a mailing center, assembly and packaging services, confidential shredding, banquet hall rental, and the Kent House Kitchen. The Kitchen serves a daily boxed lunch menu and “cafe to go” meals prepared by their clients and led by Executive Chef Chris Bove.

Kent Center Executive Director Karine Ireland invited all of the participants of the program to be present so they could accept the award together, with special thanks to two of the program participants who traveled to Ocean City to help talk about Kent Center in the Kent County booth. Ms. Ireland noted that the award money would be used to help Kent Center buy new buses and vans to transport their clients and connect them with services and opportunities to make their dreams come true!

MACo and Kent Center thank the MD-DE-DC Beverage Association for their generous sponsorship of this award!

Finance Committee Holds Briefing On Controversial Collective Bargaining Bill

A panel of representing several Maryland community colleges voiced their objections over proposed legislation that would mandate a one-size-fits-all form of collective bargaining during a briefing held by the Senate Finance Committee. The briefing focused on failed legislation (SB 652/HB 871) from the 2017 General Assembly Session.

At the briefing, MACo Policy Associate Kevin Kinnally explained that the move to collective bargaining outlined in this bill could create potentially unsustainable costs for counties, who provide substantial funding for community colleges throughout Maryland – especially since the legislation does not envision any added State support. Bernie Sadusky, Executive Director, Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC) told the Committee that the State has not been living up to its funding obligations, and that the added costs of collective bargaining would fall on counties and/or students, in the form of higher tuition rates.

State Senator Stephen Hershey expressed frustration with the proposal, telling fellow Committee Members that his constituent counties would be unable to afford the added costs resulting from mandated collective bargaining. Senator Hershey also addressed the lack of State funding for community colleges, he asked:

How can we pass a bill when we have no idea how to pay for it?

MACo opposed the 2017 legislation.

Representatives from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Maryland State Education Association (MSEA), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Maryland/DC American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO), and Communication Workers of America (CWA) testified in support of the legislation.

Useful Links

HB 871/SB 652 of 2017

Previous Conduit Street Coverage

State Can Step Back From School Construction Reviews, Says Subcommittee

The Process Process, Procedure, and Educational Specifications Subcommittee discussed recommendations to the Knott Commission regarding areas where the state’s process can be scaled back to streamline school construction in Maryland.

At today’s meeting of the process subcommittee of the Knott Commission on 21st Century School Facilities, the subcommittee discussed and voted on several recommendations to reduce the state’s role in school construction reviews. These recommendations are aimed a reducing duplicative reviews by different branches of state government, and to expedite the school construction process.

MACo advocates for streamlining school construction processes. County governments share responsibility for financing K-12 school construction with the State, whose funding depends on statutory formulas and regulations. MACo advocates efforts to promote the smartest and most effective funding for modern schools, and urges State policymakers to retain the State’s strong commitment to this top funding priority.

In the presentation of the possible areas for recommendations, Alex Szachnowicz, Chief Operating Officer Anne Arundel County School System asked the Commissioners to consider whether the current processes are adding value to the school construction program.

“A truism in the construction field is the old adage, ‘time is money.’ ” –Alex Szachnowicz, Chief Operating Officer Anne Arundel County School System

On the following areas of potential consensus, the Subcommittee made the following votes:

  • Should we keep Department of General Services (DGS) review for design development for systemic updates (such as replacing a failing boiler in an existing school)?
    • MAJORITY OF SUBCOMMITTEE RECOMMENDS TO ELIMINATE
  • Should we keep DGS review for design development for major construction projects? For these projects, design development is currently reviewed by the Maryland State Department of Education first, then they move to DGS. Design development plans represent about 50-60% of the design for a project.
    • MAJORITY OF SUBCOMMITTEE RECOMMENDS TO ELIMINATE
  • Should we keep DGS review for construction documents for systemics? The construction documents represent 100% of the design for a project.
    • MAJORITY OF SUBCOMMITTEE RECOMMENDS TO ELIMINATE
  • Should we keep DGS  review for construction documents for major projects?
    • MAJORITY OF SUBCOMMITTEE RECOMMENDS TO ELIMINATE
  • Should we keep DGS review for change orders for systemics?
    • MAJORITY OF SUBCOMMITTEE RECOMMENDS TO ELIMINATE
  • Should we keep DGS review for change orders for major projects?
    • MAJORITY OF SUBCOMMITTEE RECOMMENDS TO ELIMINATE

Additional areas for potential change were discussed by the subcommittee, and in some cases the subcommittee decided to ask for additional information from the state government before voting.

On November 14th, the subcommittee will present its recommendations to the full Knott Commission.

Documents may be posted on the Knott Commission webpage following the meeting.

Baltimore County Names Gail Watts as Director of Corrections

The Baltimore County Council has confirmed Gail Watts to serve as the new director of the county’s Department of Corrections.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

Members of the Baltimore County Council were full of praise as they confirmed Gail Watts as the county’s new director of corrections.

The council voted 6-0 on Monday to support Watts’ promotion to the top job, replacing Deborah Richardson, who retired.

Gail Watts, Director, Baltimore County Department of Corrections (photo courtesy of Baltimore County Government)
Gail Watts, Director, Baltimore County Department of Corrections (photo courtesy of Baltimore County Government)

As reported in the article, Watts was nominated by County Executive Kamenetz to serve as director following the retirement of her predecessor Deborah Richardson. According to a county press release:

“Gail Watts is a natural leader who balances strong operational discipline with a compassionate people-centered approach that inspires her staff to excel, while at the same time ensuring that the people incarcerated at our detention center have the opportunity to turn their lives around through education, mental health and substance abuse treatment and vocational training,” Kamenetz said. He noted that when Watts was named BCDC employee of the year in 2008, the vote among all department staff was unanimous.

Watts is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the County Detention Center, including programs, security, building operations, budget and finance, staff training and support service contracts. She oversaw the Department’s transition to direct supervision and was instrumental in overhauling the facility’s mental health unit. She started in the Department in September 1990 as a Correctional Officer and served in various positions of increasing responsibility in which she managed work release and home detention programs, staff training, inmate employment, staffing and policy analysis, staff disciplinary procedures, regulatory compliance, and more.

For more information:

Baltimore County Council confirms new corrections director (The Baltimore Sun)

Kamenetz Nominates Gail Watts Director of Baltimore County Department of Corrections (Baltimore County Government)