PIA Compliance Board Considers Expanding Scope; Seeks Public Comments

The Maryland Public Information Act Compliance Board (PIACB) and Public Access Ombudsman have issued a letter (2019-08-29) requesting public comment on the possible expansion of the PIACB's scope of duties. The PIACB is considering the expansion in response to .study request by the Maryland General Assembly in the General Assembly's 2019 Joint Chairmen's Report. Currently, the PIACB can decide whether a fee of $350 or more charged by a records custodian in response to  a…

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DHS releases CISA memo on Ransomware Outbreaks

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently released a memo from the Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warning of the dangers of ransomware outbreaks. Ransomware attacks are testing the resolve of cities across the nation, including the City of Baltimore. From the CISA Memo: The Threat and How to Think About It Ransomware has rapidly emerged as the most visible cybersecurity risk playing out across our nation’s networks, locking up private sector organizations…

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Tips on How to Recognize and Avoiding an Opioid Overdose

Dr. Gregory Branch, MD, MBA, CPE, FACP, Health Officer/Director, Baltimore County, led an intimate, hands-on approach on to how to save a life with Naloxone (NARCAN). Dr. Branch started the “Stayin’ Alive” Session by breaking down exactly what an opioid is, how to prevent an overdose, how to recognize an overdose, and how to respond to an overdose. Critical Tips for Preventing Opioid Overdoses: Keep all medicine in a safe place, such as a locked…

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Do You Follow These Tips When Conducting Meetings?

On the opening day of #MACoCon, Frederick County Council Member Jessica Fitzwater welcomed the audience to “Academy Core: Conducting Effective Meetings”. Council Member Fitzwater then introduced speaker Jack “Jay” Gallo. In his early twenties, Gallo stepped into the role of Mayor of New Windsor where he held the role for eight years. He is the past President of Maryland Municipal League, a certified parliamentarian, and the current Attorney for Taneytown, Rising Sun, Barnesville, and Poolesville.…

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Road Flooded, Power Out, No Cell Coverage? Your County Will Reach You.

Attendees at MACo's Summer Conference engage in a tabletop exercise on emergency communications and hear from a county whose been through the real thing. What if, when disaster hits, it hits in a rural area of your county with spotty cell phone coverage and no internet? That was the scenario that attendees of MACo’s Summer Conference session, Reaching Your Residents When Every Moment Counts tackled. Emergency managers, communications professionals, and others worked together in teams of…

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Public Information Act Training at 2019 Summer #MACoCon

Attendees to the 2019 MACo Summer Conference learned about the Maryland Public Information Act (PIA) during the “Academy Core: Public Information Act” panel on August 14. Harford County District Court Judge David Carey highlighted the importance of the PIA and stressed the need for local government understanding and compliance. Carey discussed the guiding principles behind the PIA and noted that people who are not happy with a PIA outcome seek to amend the PIA law…

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It’s Not All About Getting High

Drones can do all sorts of things. In the words of one of today’s panelists on the MACo Summer Conference panel, The Underappreciated Upsides of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, a drone program is much like a cannabis business -- it’s not all about getting high. The six panelists from various county government agencies, state government, and the private sector shared many applications for county use, including: Surveying Construction monitoring Media, sharing county news with residents Communications and public…

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What Counts as a Meeting? You Might Be Surprised…

A recent ruling from Maryland's Open Meetings Compliance Board holds that a series of communications, even one-to-one, may create the fabric of a meeting, and trigger the state's "open meetings" laws. In a recent opinion, the State's Open Meetings Compliance Board reviewed actions by the Talbot County Council (a charter county that does not have an elected Executive, leaving the Council to nominally serve in a dual capacity as legislative and executive branches, much like…

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Outcome Budgeting, Inspector General Combine to Deliver Data During City Budget Hearings

During Baltimore City Council Budget Hearings, the City's Inspector General (and the city's own predilection for outcome budgeting) powered a thorough evaluation of program outcomes by Council Members during their public hearing. The Inspector General role, created in 2005 but re-addressed my more recent local actions, has helped to re-frame the public deliberations of the Baltimore City Council. From the OIG website: The Mission of the Office of the Inspector General is to promote accountability,…

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Attend MPCA’s Annapolis Planning Commissioners Workshop to Discuss Regional Issues

The Maryland Planning Commissioners Association (MPCA) is hosting a Regional Planning Commissioners Workshop in Annapolis on Friday, July 19. The Workshop is part of a regional series of workshops that highlights the role of being a planning commissioner, regional land use issues, and the technical assistance and resources that MPCA can provide. From the Workshop's flyer: Learn about the MPCA, network with fellow planners and commissioners, and  join us in a regional conversation Topics will…

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