Treasurer of Maryland to Address County Elected Officials

A veteran of the General Assembly and the only woman serving in a state constitutional office, Treasurer Nancy Kopp will address female county leaders at the Maryland Association of Counties summer conference Women of MACo Luncheon.

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Nancy Kopp is Maryland’s 23rd State Treasurer, having been elected in 2002, and re-elected to successive full four-year terms in 2003, 2007, 2011, and 2015.

Treasurer Kopp will join the Summer MACo Conference as the special guest speaker at the Women of MACo luncheon, where she will offer remarks about her career to Maryland female county government officials.

Treasurer Kopp chairs many state finance committees, including the Capital Debt Affordability Committee and the Commission on State Debt, and provides leadership on fiscal issues facing the state. One of these more visible leadership roles includes Treasurer Kopp’s position on the Board of Public Works, which oversees a substantial portion of the procurement contracts of the State, with the Governor and the Comptroller of the State.  The Treasurer is also the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Maryland State Retirement and Pension Systems. Roughly half of Maryland’s counties participate in the State Pension System.

Treasurer Kopp represented the Bethesda, Maryland area in the Maryland House of Delegates for 27 years prior to her election as Treasurer. As a Delegate, Treasurer Kopp chaired the Joint Committee on Spending Affordability, as well as the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education and Economic Development. She also served on the Capital Budget Subcommittee, Subcommittee on Pensions, and Joint Committee on Budget and Audits, and, at various times, as Deputy Majority Leader and Speaker Pro Tem. During her legislative career, Treasurer Kopp was also an active member of the Women’s Legislative Caucus, serving as its President from 1996-1997, and was named by her colleagues as the most effective woman legislator and one of the ten most effective members of the House of Delegates.

The Women of MACo luncheon will be held on Friday, August 17, 2018  at noon. The luncheon is open to conference attendees.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Nominate County Leadership for the Navigator Awards

Route Fifty is accepting nominations for county leaders who “demonstrate their ability to implement a great idea that improves public sector services and the communities they serve.” Nominations for the 2018 Navigator Awards are due by July 11.cup-1010916_1920

The publication will select fifty finalists and 10 winners from five categories:

Boxed Out? Criminal History Checks and County Employment

The Maryland Association of County Human Resources Officers sponsors an educational session on ban-the-box employment practices.

Each year, studies show that approximately 15,000 people return from prison to communities across Maryland. According to advocates, many individuals re-entering society find that criminal records and low educational levels can be barriers to mainstream employment.

Several counties have passed legislation prohibiting employers from asking about past criminal convictions as part of the hiring process. However, those governments that have not worked under these policies may wonder how they affect hiring for security-sensitive roles, and positions with minors.

Advocates describe the positive repercussions that banning the box can have on prisoner re-entry into society. County government human resources professionals operating under the laws can share what has changed — and what hasn’t, in a post ban-the-box world. County government officials not operating under ban-the-box laws may ask questions.

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Jacia T. Smith, Esq., Deputy Director, Human Resources Operations, City of Baltimore will provide insight into how the City of Baltimore has implemented ban-the-box legislation.
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Caryn York, Executive Director, Job Opportunities Task Force will share perspective and data on ban-the-box laws and policies.

Learn about ban-the-box and the particular county effects in this MACo Summer Conference Session. Check the box on this panel on Friday, August 17, 2018 at MACo’s Summer Conference.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Hogan Vetoes Three Education Bills

Governor Larry Hogan today vetoed three education bills passed during the 2018 session of the Maryland General Assembly. SB 739 would have altered the makeup of the Maryland State Board of Education, HB 643/SB 678 sought to change the categories of employees in the state Department of Education and in local school systems – making more employees eligible to join unions, and HB 808 would have made it more difficult to terminate political appointees at the Maryland State Department of Education.

Hogan’s vetos are final because it is an election year, and the General Assembly may not override gubernatorial vetos during the first year of a new legislative term. MACo did not take a position on any of these bills.

According to a press release from the Governor’s Office:

Governor Hogan vetoed Senate Bill 739 – State Board of Education – Membership – Teachers and Parent. Senate Bill 739 would have changed the process Maryland uses to select members to the State Board of Education, a move that would have diluted the independence of the State Board of Education by giving teacher unions control over two additional seats on the Board, and dictating that three seats be chosen by just two stakeholder groups, a move that would risk turning this critical policy-making body into a collection of special interest group representatives.

Governor Hogan also vetoed House Bill 643/Senate Bill 678 – State Department of Education – Employment Categories and Practices. This legislation would weaken the Maryland State Department of Education’s capacity to achieve the state’s educational goals – at a time when strengthening the performance of Maryland’s schools and students is more important than ever – by hindering the Department’s ability to compete in an already competitive job market and acquire talented employees.

Finally, Governor Hogan vetoed House Bill 808 – Collective Bargaining – Education – Supervisory Personnel. This legislation would remove local authority to determine who is classified as a “supervisory employee” and give authority over local school system organizational charts to the Public School Labor Relations Board. This new structure would prohibit school leadership from ensuring an efficient operation best suited for the needs of their local school system.

“These pieces of flawed legislation join the unfortunate litany of attempts by the General Assembly over the past four sessions to pass legislation to enhance the power of partisan special interests, while eliminating transparency and usurping accountability,” said Governor Hogan. “At a time when unethical behavior and mismanagement continue to hold our school systems back from serving school children, this sequence of bills that I am vetoing today seek to move Maryland in exactly the wrong direction. Instead, we need to be working together to restore accountability for our students, teachers, and families.”

Read the governor’s veto letter here.

Webinar: How Memphis Cut Retiree Health Costs with Marketplace Approach

Governing offers a free webinar to highlight a best practice in managing a growing fiscal issue for many county and municipal governments.

From Governing:

Join us to learn how the City of Memphis uses an innovative approach called a private individual marketplace to make retiree health care more sustainable and give retirees better health plan options. We’re presenting an interactive 60-minute webcast where Memphis city officials will explain how the city achieved greater control over its retiree health costs and liabilities, while cutting annual healthcare premiums by almost $3,000 for 99 percent of its Medicare-eligible retirees.

According to healthcare.gov, in some limited cases insurance companies sell private health plans outside Open Enrollment that count as qualifying health coverage.

For more information, see the webinar from Governing:

  • May 22
  • 2:00 pm

Register at no cost for the webinar.

Study to Determine Potential for County Workers’ Comp Pool Proceeds to Stage 2

With information gathering almost finished, MACo’s consultant begins feasibility study of self-funded group insurance option.

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Aon’s actuaries are using data submitted by Maryland counties to assess the viability of a county insurance pool.

This past fall, the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) contracted with Aon to determine the feasibility of a county workers’ compensation insurance pool. MACo was asked by its members to help determine whether a county insurance pool of this type would be viable.

County governments that purchase insurance and those that self-insure are interested in additional options in the Maryland insurance market that may respond more directly to county government needs. County employees range from high-risk positions such as police, fire, and public works position, to office and clerical jobs, making county governments unique among employers seeking workers’ compensation coverage.

The data collected during Stage 1 of the study included, for each county and Baltimore City:

  • 10 years of payroll data, by class code and
  • 10 years of claims data, with payments and incurred losses, separated out by amounts paid for indemnity, medical, and expenses

This information will be essential to the work of the actuaries to project potential costs for a county workers’ compensation pool. The actuaries will be considering the historical information, including the ratio of claims costs to the amount of total payroll in each county, to make the projection.

MACo is grateful to county governments for cooperating with the research request and providing the necessary information for this study. The Maryland Association of Human Resources Officers was especially helpful in coordinating this work.

For more information about this project, contact Robin Eilenberg at MACo.

 

Skills to Pay the Bills: Chamber Partners With Schools to Address Workforce Shortage

As part of a joint effort with Garrett County Schools, the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce today announced the creation of a Work Ethic Diploma program. The purpose of the program is to ensure that the State is graduating skilled workers ready to take on the jobs offered by employers and industry.

According to Cumberland Times-News:

By meeting established criteria, local students will earn a work ethic diploma upon graduating that will guarantee them job interviews and better wages.

“The concept for a regional Garrett County work ethic initiative was brought to the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce by employers that felt students were not completing high school with the soft skills needed to be successful employees,” said Nicole Christian, chamber president and CEO. “With the input of area educators, business leaders and post-secondary representatives, standards were developed to measure work ethic in students.

To qualify for the diploma, students must earn a minimum of points in discipline standard, attendance standard, absence standard, work experience, community service/internship project standard, overall GPA standard, team work standard, drug free (optional) and exit interview (seniors only).

By meeting established criteria, local students will earn a Work Ethic Diploma upon graduating which will guarantee them job interviews and better wages.

Read the full article for more information.

Click here to learn more about the Work Ethic Diploma program.

Round-up of the 2018 Session for Counties

MACo’s legislative efforts earned an 80% success rate – and as usual, the counties’ voice makes a difference in Annapolis. Bills we support are more likely to pass, and bills we oppose are more likely to fail.

2018 Legislative Results Infographic

MACo’s legislative initiatives, priorities, and positions are directed by its Legislative Committee. This body comprises elected representatives from all of MACo’s members – the 24 county jurisdictions (including Baltimore City).

The “one county, one vote” system of deciding the Association’s legislative strategies, ensures that all counties have an equal voice. All 24 jurisdictions participated regularly in the weekly meetings throughout the session – where they also engaged with policy leaders and advocates who joined the meeting to address county leadership.

Our policy staff have compiled updates and results on all of the bills the Legislative Committee decided to take action on this year.

For the 2018 End of Session Wrap-up for each subject MACo covers, click below:

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Assessments and Taxation

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Business Affairs

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Disparity Grants

2018 End of Session Wrap-up: Economic Development Tax Credits

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Education

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Elections

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Employee Benefits & Relations

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Environmental Legislation

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Finance and Procurement

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Government Liability & Courts

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Health & Human Services

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Housing & Community Development

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Intergovernmental Relations *MACo Initiative Area*

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Parks & Recreation

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Pensions

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Planning & Zoning

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Property Taxes

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Public Information & Ethics * MACo Initiative Area *

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Public Safety and Corrections

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Road Funding * MACo Initiative Area *

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: School Construction * MACo Initiative Area *

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: State Budget & Fiscal Affairs

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Tax Sale Bills

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Transportation and Public Works

2018 End of Session Wrap-up: Wynne Tax Bills

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: County Tax Revenues

2018 End of Session Wrap-Up: Other Tax Bills

Prince George’s Sheriff’s Office Earns National Law Enforcement Accreditation

The Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office recently earned its national accreditation from one of the nation’s most prestigious law enforcement evaluation agencies. The accreditation process included a comprehensive review of the sheriff’s office’s policies and practices.

According to The Washington Post:

It is the first time the sheriff’s office has received such a certification from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies in the agency’s 321-year history. The colonial governor of Maryland appointed the county’s first sheriff in 1696.

“We passed with a 100 percent compliance,” Chief Assistant Sheriff Darrin C. Palmer said last week, after the agency announced the certification was officially awarded in March. “These standards are considered best practices for where law enforcement is now. They run the full gambit of policies from use of force, to the way you handle complaints, to field operations.”

Though such accreditation is not mandatory, law enforcement agencies consider the certification a benchmark for law enforcement standards across the country.

Read the full article for more information.

County Fellowship Aims to Develop “Pipeline of Talent”

The Allegany County Commissioners are set to provide on-the-job training to teach local college students about careers in local government. The 12-week fellowship program, which begins in May, is available to students at Frostburg State University and Allegany College of Maryland.

According to Cumberland Times-News,

“We’ve taken on county interns in the past, but not in this coordinated effort,” said Brandon Butler, the county administrator who will direct the program.  “I think this is a great opportunity,” Commissioner Bill Valentine said.

“This community has the rap of ‘My kid has to go somewhere else to get a good opportunity,’ and that is something I’m interested in busting,” he said.

“I’m looking to raise up young people who care about their communities, who have a passion to make a difference and have an an opportunity for them right here in Allegany County,” Butler said.

More than a unique opportunity for area students, the fellowship creates a “pipeline of talent,” as a way for local officials to spot potential government employees, Butler said.

To apply, college students must be either a junior or senior (at least 30 credits for ACM students) and have at least a 2.7 cumulative GPA.

Read the full article for more information.