White House Releases Government Reform Proposal

On Thursday, the White House released a 132-page report detailing specific opportunities for reform of the Federal government. The comprehensive report lists 32 recommendations for organizational realignments, reassignments, consolidations, privatization of certain government services, disposition of government-owned assets, technology upgrades, customer service improvements, process reform, and more.

The report contends to address the federal government’s inefficiencies. It does not make recommendations for reducing the federal workforce – another goal put forth by the Administration.

The federal government is bloated, opaque, bureaucratic and inefficient.

– Mick Mulvaney, Director, White House Office of Management and Budget

silhouettes-81830_1920The report, “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century: Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendations,”  comes out as most of the country focuses on immigration policy and reform. In fact, it appears few news outlets have picked up the report release at all.

But, Route Fifty did – with focus given to potential affects on local governments

One noteworthy change would shift the $3 billion community development block grant program, or CDBG, from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to a new Bureau of Economic Growth under the Department of Commerce. …

The reorganization plan would also move the federal supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, out of the Department of Agriculture and into the Department of Health and Human Services, which would then be renamed the Department of Health and Public Welfare.

Other noteworthy recommendations include:

  • Merging the Departments of Education and Labor into one Department of Education and the Workforce
  • Moving the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Civil Works out of the Department of Defense (DOD) to the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of the Interior (DOI)
  • Reorganizing the Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Food Safety and Inspection
    Service and the food safety functions of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into a single agency within USDA
  • Merging the Department of Commerce’s (Commerce) National Marine Fisheries Service with DOI’s Fish and Wildlife Service, centralizing dam permit review
  • Selling specific transmission assets owned by the Department of Energy (DOE), and generally, focus on disposing unneeded or undesired federal real estate
  • Either wholly restructure the postal system or privatize it altogether
  • Reorganize the Department of Transportation
  • Limit federal support for home purchasing:

….ending the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, reducing their role in the housing market, and providing an explicit, limited Federal backstop that is on-budget and apart from the Federal support for low- and moderate-income homebuyers.

Read the full report here.

 

Conduit Street Podcast: SCOTUS Sounds Off, Early Voting Boom, Riveting Races, & More!

On the latest episode of the Conduit Street Podcast, Kevin Kinnally and Michael Sanderson discuss the surge in early voting numbers in this year’s primary election, explore the role of county governments in state and local elections, examine the impacts of three major Supreme Court decisions, review MACo’s Legislative Initiatives process, and look ahead to the 2018 MACo Summer Conference.

*Note: We’ll be back next week with a special edition of the Conduit Street Podcast to breakdown the results of the primary election.

Listen here:

MACo has made the podcast available through both iTunes and Google Play Music by searching Conduit Street Podcast. You can also listen on our Conduit Street blog with a recap and link to the podcast.

You can listen to previous episodes of the Conduit Street Podcast on our website.

Useful Links

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: SCOTUS Opens Door To State Taxation of Internet, “Remote” Sales

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: SCOTUS Sides With Lower Court In Maryland “Gerrymandering” Case, But Questions Remain

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Early Voting Numbers Up 53% from 2014

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: MACo Soliciting 2019 Legislative Initiative Proposals

Where’s My Bus? There’s An App for That

Transit riders should have access to instant GPS data on their buses’ locations in the near future.

navigation-2049643_1920The Maryland Transit Association (MTA) has partnered with Transit, a mobile app that provides real-time transit information, trip planning, navigation services, and moreThe app will provide locations for every CityLink, LocalLink and Express BusLink bus in the BaltimoreLink fleet. The app is free and available on both Apple and Android devices.

According to MTA, the State entered into a $1.043 million contract last January with Swiftly, Inc., a San Francisco-based computer software firm, to install Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking in each of MTA’s 753 local buses, to coordinate with the Transit app.

From MTA’s press release:

Passengers will be able to use the app to view each bus in real time and will have a greater choice in determining which bus to take and when to expect its arrival. Riders can also select the GO feature to enable voice alerts and push notifications for their selected route.  Real-time bus tracking information is also available by calling the MDOT MTA Transit Information Call Center at 410.539.5000 and via text messaging by texting the stop number to MTAMD (68263).

 

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:

Still Waters Run Deep… with Dark Data at #MACoCon

“Big data” receives a lot of attention among policy wonks and elected officials for its power to make government operations more efficient. While big data and analytics play an increasingly important role in developing strategies and informing decision making in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, local governments face barriers in acquiring and using such data.

That’s where “dark data” comes in.ball-63527_1280

Dark data is big data that is collected but not fully utilized.  During the MACo Summer Conference special session, “Still Waters Run Deep: Dive Into Your Dark Data Potential,” attendees will learn about data resources available from various state and federal agencies – and how to make use of that data to inform economic development and government operations decisions.

The effort has been done in collaboration between the Maryland Department of Transportation and the University of Maryland National Center for Smart Growth.

Still Waters Run Deep: Dive Into Your Dark Data Potential

Dark data – underutilized big data sources – can help counties tremendously in their planning, engineering, and social project development. In this session, attendees will learn how to put available data resources to work at the local government level. The Maryland Department of Transportation will provide an overview of growth trends in population, labor force, and employment, and apply them to current commuting patterns within Maryland. Attendees will also be shown the types of data available to learn about their workforce and how that information can be incorporated into economic development strategies.

Speakers:

  • Cory Stottlemyer, Senior Policy Analyst, Maryland Department of Transportation Office of Planning & Capital Programming
  • Benjamin Birge, CountyStat Manager, Office of the County Executive, Prince George’s County
  • Gary V. Hodge, President, Regional Policy Advisors, and former Executive Director, Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, and Charles County Commissioner

Moderator: The Honorable Jeff Ghrist, Maryland House of Delegates

Date/Time: Wednesday, August 15, 2018; 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm

The Conference will be held August 15-18 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland. This year’s theme is “Water, Water Everywhere.”

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

MACo Partners with State & Local Boards of Elections to Improve Election Security

The Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) is pleased to announce a partnership with the State Board of Elections (SBE) and Local Boards of Elections (LBEs) to maintain the integrity of state and local election systems and data. Counties administer and fund elections at the local level, overseeing polling places and coordinating poll workers every two years.

MACo’s Information Technology Affiliate, SBE, and LBEs will hold a conference call later this week to identify steps that can be taken to enhance security for the upcoming Primary Election. This collaborative effort will promote best practices and information sharing to protect the systems and data we use to conduct elections.

Federal officials warned earlier this year that Russia remains interested in disrupting elections after a multipronged effort to interfere two years ago. Although United States Department of Homeland Security notified Maryland that is was one of 21 states with suspicious online activities before the election, there’s no evidence that Maryland’s election systems or voter data were breached or compromised.

While it is likely that this working group will discuss technical matters, Election Directors, Deputy Directors, County Information Technology staff, and LBE Information Technology staff are invited to participate in the kick-off conference call. Contact Kevin Kinnally at MACo for more information.

Discuss Small Cells with County Leaders – Exhibit at MACo’s Symposium

symposium picMACo’s annual symposium focuses on a hot topic for county governments. This year, we’re talking about small cell wireless technology. 60+ individuals are expected to attend to connect with peers and explore the challenges and possibilities around small cells.

Date: Thursday, June 21, 2018
Time: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
Location: Newton White Mansion
(2708 Enterprise Rd, Mitchellville, MD 20721)

AGENDA

Who Will Attend?

  • Maryland county elected and appointed officials
  • Maryland county professionals involved in legal, planning, information technology, permitting, infrastructure, and administration

Why Should My Company Exhibit?

  • Talk directly with county influencers and decision-makers about your products and services
  • Get to know the county concerns around small cell wireless technology so that you can better craft your message and the solutions you offer county governments in Maryland

How Do I Register?

What If I Have More Questions?

 

(Attendee registration is only open to MACo Members – Maryland county elected and appointed officials and staff – attendance is FREE, but registration is required)

The Big Picture on Small Cells: REGISTER TODAY for MACo’s 2018 Symposium

MACo hosts an annual members-only symposium on a hot topic for county governments. This year, we’re focusing on small cells.

Date: Thursday, June 21, 2018
Time: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
Location: Newton White Mansion (2708 Enterprise Rd, Mitchellville, MD 20721)

Destechnology-sml.jpgcription: Communities today crave faster data speeds and more reliable service. 5G – the next generation of wireless services – promises to deliver on all that and more in the upcoming years. Small cells are being billed as one bridge to the 5G future…a bridge built on local infrastructure and rights of ways. As the public and private sectors explore this emerging technology and shape its legislative and regulatory framework, local governments need to not only be prepared for the future but be proactive in ensuring what is best for their communities. Through a collaborative exchange, this symposium will explore some of the challenges and opportunities of the deployment of small cells and seek to provide best practices and possible solutions for local governments.

 

9:30 am – 10:00 am Refreshments and Exhibits
10:00 am – 10:15 am Welcome and Introduction
10:15 am – 11:00 am Small Cell 101 and the Race to 5G
What are small cells? How do they work? Why are they the all talk of the residents and businesses in town? Learn the basics of what every local government should know about small cells.
11:00 am – 12:15 pm Major Issues
What challenges do local governments face managing small cells on their public infrastructure and in their ROWs? What issues are on the horizon? Learn more about the powers and pitfalls of siting small cells and the boundaries of local government authority.
12:15 pm – 1:15 pm Lunch & Exhibits
1:15 pm – 2:15 pm Best Practices/Success Stories
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel! Get ahead of the curve by building on best practices and model ordinances from your peers.
2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Facilitated Discussion
Share comments and questions with other symposium attendees, led by an expert in the field.
3:15 – 3:30 pm Summary and Next Steps

This symposium is only free for MACo Members (county elected/appointed officials and professionals). State or other government individuals may attend for a $75 registration fee.

REGISTER TODAY

Commercial or industry participants wishing to be exhibitors or sponsors may review the sponsorship/exhibitor flyer or contact Nicolette Querry for more information.

Montgomery Council’s Twitter Account May Have Been Briefly Hacked

Bethesda Beat article (2018-05-29) reported that Montgomery County Council staff believe the Council’s twitter account was hacked after a questionable message was posted by the account on May 29. The issue highlights the challenge county governments face in providing communication platforms that are easy for the public to access but also secure from outside tampering.

The article indicated that one tweet was briefly posted questioning different media accounts about the death toll caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and included offensive language. The tweets were removed about five minutes after they were posted. Council staff are continuing to investigate. From the article:

[Council spokesperson Susan] Kenedy said staff members don’t have any evidence that any other social media accounts were hacked but secured them with new passwords as a precaution. They do not believe a county employee was involved in posting the initial message.

Useful Links

Montgomery County Council Web Page

The MACo Summer Conference’s Tech Expo will feature a session on cybersecurity from Wednesday, August 15, 2018, from 12:45 pm – 1:45 pm.

  • All Hands on Deck: Cybersecurity for County Government
  • County government networks possess a wealth of valuable personal information, including Social Security numbers, tax ID numbers, health information, and other sensitive data. This makes county government employees at every level potential targets for online pirates looking to steal sensitive information. Even well-meaning and internet-savvy employees may fall prey to inappropriate release of data…with multiple consequences. Learn from Maryland’s leading cybersecurity firms how counties can work together to keep fast all data, including personal information.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

 

The Big Picture on Small Cells – Save the Date for MACo’s 2018 Symposium

MACo hosts an annual members-only symposium on a hot topic for county governments. This year, we’re focusing on small cells.

Date: Thursday, June 21, 2018
Time: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
Location: Newton White Mansion (2708 Enterprise Rd, Mitchellville, MD 20721)

Destechnology-sml.jpgcription: Communities today crave faster data speeds and more reliable service. 5G – the next generation of wireless services – promises to deliver on all that and more in the upcoming years. Small cells are being billed as one bridge to the 5G future…a bridge built on local infrastructure and rights of ways. As the public and private sectors explore this emerging technology and shape its legislative and regulatory framework, local governments need to not only be prepared for the future but be proactive in ensuring what is best for their communities. Through a collaborative exchange, this symposium will explore some of the challenges and opportunities of the deployment of small cells and seek to provide best practices and possible solutions for local governments.

 

9:30 am – 10:00 am Refreshments and Exhibits
10:00 am – 10:15 am Welcome and Introduction
10:15 am – 11:00 am Small Cell 101 and the Race to 5G
What are small cells? How do they work? Why are they the all talk of the residents and businesses in town? Learn the basics of what every local government should know about small cells.
11:00 am – 12:15 pm Major Issues
What challenges do local governments face managing small cells on their public infrastructure and in their ROWs? What issues are on the horizon? Learn more about the powers and pitfalls of siting small cells and the boundaries of local government authority.
12:15 pm – 1:15 pm Lunch & Exhibits
1:15 pm – 2:15 pm Best Practices/Success Stories
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel! Get ahead of the curve by building on best practices and model ordinances from your peers.
2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Facilitated Discussion
Share comments and questions with other symposium attendees, led by an expert in the field.
3:15 – 3:30 pm Summary and Next Steps

This symposium is only free for MACo Members (county elected/appointed officials and professionals).

REGISTER TODAY

Commercial or industry participants must be exhibitors or sponsors to participate. Review the sponsorship/exhibitor flyer or contact Nicolette Querry for more information.