States Need to Prepare for Rising Unemployment Insurance Claims

Unemployment insurance is a critical component of the governmental response to COVID-19, but states are now seeing an unprecedented number of claims that will tax state unemployment funds beyond their limits. At the federal level, there is much support for expanding eligibility criteria and providing for extended benefits, both funded by the federal government. although the majority of initial costs are borne by the state. From Tax Foundation: State payroll taxes, called SUTA taxes, fund…

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Counties Still Oppose Mandate for Court Collective Bargaining

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu submitted written testimony on March 3, 2020 to the House Appropriations Committee to oppose HB 1134 (CF SB 388) – Circuit Courts and District Court of Maryland Employees – Collective Bargaining. Ms, Mehu previously testified before the Senate to oppose the cross-filed Senate Bill 388. This bill would establish collective bargaining for Circuit Court and District Court clerical, administrative, constabulary, maintenance, and housekeeping staff. From MACo Testimony: The move to collective…

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Counties: Procurement Requirements for Corrections Facilities Could Raise Costs

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu submitted written testimony on February 26, 2020 to oppose SB 858 (CF 1524) - Procurement and Correctional Facilities –  Employment Opportunities for Formerly Incarcerated Individuals. This bill would require procurement contracts for local jail goods and services to include a clause related to the hiring of formerly incarcerated individuals. Additionally, the local jail procurement must give preference to bidders based on the number of employees who are formerly incarcerated. Although…

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Counties Raise Concerns Over Employment Discrimination Reporting Standards

MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin submitted testified on February 25, 2020 in support with amendments of HB 703 - Maryland Commission on Civil Rights – Employment Discrimination - Reporting. As written, this bill would require Maryland’s largest counties - Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s Counties -- to submit information to the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights regarding employment discrimination complaints. MACo does not take issue with the idea of…

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Montgomery Becomes First U.S. County with Hairstyle Discrimination Ban
Montgomery County Council Member Will Jawando
Montgomery Becomes First U.S. County with Hairstyle Discrimination Ban

On February 6, Montgomery County officially became the first United States county to ban discrimination based on hairstyles. The unanimous vote by Montgomery County Council ensure protection against discrimination based on hairstyles under the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act. Originally introduced by Montgomery County Council member Will Jawanda and Council President Nancy Navarro, this legislation will prohibit discrimination based on natural hairstyles such as braids, locks, afros, curls and…

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Calvert Human Resources Director Paula Gray to Retire After 40 Years of Service
Paula Gray (photo courtesy of Calvert County Government)
Calvert Human Resources Director Paula Gray to Retire After 40 Years of Service

Calvert County Human Resources Director Paula Gray last month announced her retirement following 40 years of public service. Gray’s retirement will take effect Jan. 10, 2020. Gray began her career with Calvert County Government in 1979 as secretary II/office machine operator with the Department of Finance & Budget. Gray held various roles in the Office of Personnel before being promoted to personnel director in 2015. Her job title was changed to human resources director in…

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Frederick Appoints Kay as Director of Citizens Services Division
Christine Kay (photo courtesy of Frederick County Government)
Frederick Appoints Kay as Director of Citizens Services Division

The Frederick County Council on Tuesday approved County Executive Jan Gardner's appointment of Christine Kay as Director of the Frederick County Citizens Services Division. “Christine brings outstanding leadership experience in human services,” Executive Gardner said. “She has a reputation for strong collaboration across agencies. She brings energy, big ideas, and a wealth of expertise. I am confident she will do an outstanding job for the citizens of Frederick County." According to a press release: As…

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Workplace Safety Panelists Discuss Best Tips

At the 2019 MACo Winter Conference session, “Are You Prepared? Keeping Your Workplace Safe and Secure,” attendees heard from panelists on modern day safety precautions in the workplace. The panel started off with Kevin Karpinski, Principal at Karpinski, Colaresi & Karp, discussing the legalities of workplace violence, best practices to prevent violence, and current OSHA and Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Act (MOSHA) requirements. Beth Thierer, Director of Customer Solutions for BHS and licensed social worker,…

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Counties Tackle Employment Issues at #MACoCon

At the 2019 MACo Winter Conference Adacademy Core session "Employment Issues," attendees learned best practices for the hiring process; managing troublesome employees; and, if necessary, handling employee termination. The session was taught by Kevin Karpinski, partner at Karpinski, Colaresi & Karp, PA, and was moderated by Frederick County Council Member Michael Blue. Karpinski discussed a variety of employee-employer relationship topics, and reviewed important legal requirements for public employers. The Academy for Excellence in Local Governance…

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Preview the 2020 Session “Big Picture”

A compilation of Issue Papers previews major fiscal and policy issues facing the General Assembly in the year ahead. This resource is a handy guide to the top issues that your legislators will be tackling in 2020 – a great preparation document for county officials in advance of meetings with their local Delegations. Developed by the Department of Legislative Services (DLS), the 2020 Issue Papers are an annual staple for the Annapolis policy-inclined population. They are also…

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