MACo: Allow Maryland-Based Breweries at OCCC Tasting Events

MACo Policy Associate Kevin Kinnally testified in favor of legislation (SB 1102) that would authorize a limited-scope license for beer and wine tastings at the Ocean City Convention Center, for certain events that promote Maryland-based products.

MACo’s testimony states,

For the last four years, MACo has offered a “Taste of Maryland” reception as part of its annual summer conference in Ocean City. The event has grown to nearly 1,000 guests, and has gained popularity as a venue for our jurisdictions to showcase their many food and drink options. The event is a “sampling” event, where small portions of food, snacks, and wine have proven very popular with attendees who may not otherwise learn about the many offerings from across Maryland.

Current liquor laws apparently do not allow this event to feature Maryland-brewed beer in the same fashion as wine, and this has kept local breweries from participating in this once-a-year event. SB 1102 does not seek to upend the overall balance the General Assembly has struck regarding the two industries, but simply seeks to afford the same opportunity to showcase beer and wine at this limited type of event. SB 1102 only applies to events at the Ocean City Convention Center (itself a license holder), and only for events promoting Maryland products for “tasting” purposes.

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 legislative session here.

Will You Be Visible & Connected at Summer #MACoCon?

Would you like to do business with Maryland’s counties, state agencies, and nonprofit and commercial organizations involved in the work of local government? BECOME A SPONSOR!

maco-sc17-sponsor-brochure-coverMACo’s Summer Conference is August 16-19, 2017. An estimated 2,000 local government officials, county staff decision-makers, legislators, and business representatives will convene at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland for an intensive 4 days of education and partnership-building.

As a sponsor of MACo’s Summer Conference, you will have the opportunity to get your company’s name, products, and services in front of the people you want to reach – decision-makers and stakeholders in local government.

In addition to other benefits listed in our 2017 Summer Conference Sponsorship Brochure, all sponsor information will be displayed on signage, online, in the printed program, and in our mobile app.

Here are several of the many sponsorship opportunities we are offering to help sponsors reach out to MACo’s Summer Conference attendees:

infused-water-bottle Infused Water Station – Provide a healthy refreshment! Our guests will be impressed that your company is the one behind this trendy conference break. MACo will provide fruit-infusing water bottles, water, and fruit for a 2-hour water station. Learn more.
 donuts Donut Break – Help us welcome guests to the Exhibit Hall on Thursday morning with a fun treat! A fun and exciting way to start off our tradeshow, you definitely want to be the one they thank for this! Exhibitors: This is a great way to encourage guests to visit your booth! Greet them at the door and tell them where they can learn more about you and your company! Learn more.
totes Giveaways like Tote Bags & Stylus Pens – Very visible, these items are given to each conference attendee! They’ll be used over and over again in counties all over Maryland after the conference! Learn more.
 crab feast Crab Feast – This is our LARGEST NETWORKING EVENT of Summer Conference – it should not be missed by those companies wishing to do business with Maryland’s local governments! Sponsorship options include the band, ice cream, cups, and beverage carts and stands. Learn more.
 email Daily Conference Email – Help our attendees know what they shouldn’t miss each day of the conference! MACo sends a daily conference email detailing hot topics and updates for each day of the conference. Sponsor’s logo, description and link will be displayed in the body of every email which gets sent to all registrants, exhibitors, speakers, and sponsors. 56% open rate = 1,400+ daily views! Learn more!

Buffet Lunches, All-Day Beverage Stations, Audio/Visual Equipment, and So Much More!

View our 2017 Summer Conference Sponsorship Brochure to see other available options, or contact Outreach Coordinator, Kaley Schultze at

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:


Think warm thoughts – register today for #MACoCon!

MACo Summer Conference
You’re Hired!

August 16-19, 2017
Roland Powell Convention Center
Ocean City, Maryland


The 2017 Summer Conference – “You’re Hired!” – will focus on Maryland’s new jobs growth and the wealth of opportunities in industries such as technology, the military, clean energy, the environment, agriculture, and education. Counties play a vital role in creating, maintaining, and growing the jobs in our state. Conference sessions will discuss trending data, best practices, and partnership opportunities to help counties attract and benefit from new jobs and keep our economy on an upward climb. View the preliminary schedule.

MACo’s Summer Conference is accompanied by a 250-booth tradeshow featuring cost-saving products and services from companies across Maryland. State departments and nonprofit organizations also exhibit and talk with attendees about forming partnerships around common goals and issues.

You don’t want to miss this event! Register today!

Registration, Sponsorship, and Exhibitor Brochures will be available soon.

Get an idea of what Summer #MACoCon is like:
2016 MACo Summer Conference Photo Review

See the engagement and excitement around the event:
2016 MACo Summer Conference Twitter Feed

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:


You’re Hired! – Summer #MACoCon to Discuss Job Growth & the Economy

SAVE THE DATE: MACo’s Summer Conference will be August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland.

Governor Hogan giving the 2016 Closing Address at #MACoCon

MACo’s Summer Conference is THE BEST opportunity for Maryland’s county government officials and stakeholders to meet and discuss best practices and opportunities to provide excellent local governance. More than 2,000 individuals participate in the 4-day conference, which includes a 2-day 250-booth tradeshow.

The 2017 Summer Conference – “You’re Hired!” – will focus on Maryland’s new jobs growth and the wealth of opportunities in industries such as technology, the military, clean energy, the environment, agriculture, and education. Counties play a vital role in creating, maintaining, and growing the jobs in our state. Conference sessions will discuss trending data, best practices, and partnership opportunities to help counties attract and benefit from new jobs and keep our economy on an upward climb.

Registration will be open soon! Contact to be added to the mailing list.

Get an idea of what Summer #MACoCon is like:
2016 MACo Summer Conference Photo Review

See the engagement and excitement around the event:
2016 MACo Summer Conference Twitter Feed

Barr to Hogan: Hear Counties Voices, Loud and Clear

After completing an unprecedented tour and meeting with elected officials from all 24 counties across the state before the Summer Conference, MACo President John Barr raised this accomplishment with Governor Larry Hogan at the Summer Conference. “I’d like to get you a letter, summing up what we heard in these visits,” Commissioner Barr offered, and the Governor expressed interest.

In President Barr’s letter, he raises a variety of issues that came up during the county visits. A widespread focus on transportation and infrastructure was a universal theme:

Across the state, this same anecdote came up time and time again – counties everywhere simply cannot keep up with proper maintenance at these historically low funding levels.

Barr’s letter also talks about cross-border effects of statewide policies — recognizing that nearly all parts of Maryland are close to a state border.

As we traveled to visit the manor corners of this beautiful state, it became very clear to me how important our state geography is. Our small state stretches across lengthy state borders – and that matters substantially for policy issues here at home.

In Washington County, we are very aware of cross-border pressures that face our businesses and services. At its narrow point, the county spans less than two miles from the West Virginia and Pennsylvania borders. Employers, homebuilders, and civic organizations must routinely be aware of out-of-state competition as they make decisions in the area.

These issues arise in every part of Maryland. We compete for residents and businesses with surrounding states who offer a dramatically different mix of taxes, regulations, labor standards, and
quality-of-life offerings. We are uniformly proud of Maryland, and want to see the state succeed.

Barr closes with encouragement on the benefits of open communication, and his own experience as MACo President:

It has been a great honor, and a personal pleasure, to serve as MACo president this year. One of the great privileges that has afforded me has been an avenue to get to know you, and to seize on ways to work together for all Marylanders. I know that partnership – both at the personal level, and at the larger state-and-county level – will mean better outcomes for the residents we all represent.

Read John Barr’s letter, as MACo President, to Governor Hogan.

Worth A Thousand Words…2016 #MACoCon in Pictures

MACo’s Summer Conference – “Cyber Solutions: Counties in the Digital Age” – on August 17-20, 2016 focused on the technological advances and challenges affecting local governance. More than 1,100 attendees and 225 exhibiting companies participated, engaging in educational sessions, briefings, and forums. The full conference schedule and program of events can be viewed online.

Save the date for MACo’s next Summer Conference: August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD.

Photography was sponsored and provided by Grant L. Gursky Photography


#MACoCon Exhibits a Huge Success

MACo would like to thank all of the MACo Summer Conference Exhibitors for supporting the Summer Conference in Ocean City last week and for helping to offer such a successful conference. Both halls had good traffic with a lot of positive feedback. Check out the final list of exhibitors here.

DSC_6353-Edit-EditIn case you missed it, the MACo Summer Conference this year had two exhibit halls and one Tech Expo. The Tech Expo offered 24 Tabletop Displays showcasing Tech Vendors and the technology available to local governments. Exhibit Hall A/B, sponsored by BGE,  housed the State Village (34 State departments and agencies), a GIS Discovery Zone (6 GIS companies), and over 150 commercial vendors – all looking to do business with Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City.

The theme of this year’s exhibit halls was Star Wars vs. Star Trek. Booth staff dressed up both their booths and their staff to reflect the exhibit hall theme. Prizes were awarded to the top three decorated booths (Register of Wills, Phillips Office Solutions and Calvert County), the best group costumes (AECOM Technical Services, Inc.), the best male costume (Jabba from FTS Fiber), and the best female costume (Guinan from the MD Department of Agriculture.)

Again, thank you exhibitors for another successful conference!


Planners Confront the Virtual World at #MACoCon

County officials and planners learned how planning is increasingly dealing with a virtual world through geographic information system (GIS) anad other technologies at the “Land Use in Virtual World” panel on August 19.

Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission Prince George’s County Division Chief James Cannistra discussed the visualization of data through GIS. He discussed the requirements of maintaining a useful GIS system (particularly the underlying data layers). Cannistra mentioned Prince George’s GIS open data initiative, which makes data and analysis tools available for public use. He also briefly discussed the zoning and permitting issues raised by the sharing economy, such as ride sharing or AirBnB. He urged counties to gather data on the use of such services in their jurisdictions and the likelihood of having to modify permitting requirements. Finally, he stressed the large potential of using drones to gather visualization data.

2016 MACo Summer Conference - Planning Panel
(L to R) Anthony Puzzo, Jim Cannistra, and Delegate Steve Lafferty

ESRI State and Local Government Manager Anthony Puzzo discussed how GIS 3D visualization can support long range planning, project review, and citizen and decision maker communication. Puzzo showed a 3D version of Washington DC and demonstrated how applying different data overlarys can easily show development impacts. He also discussed the emerging use of holograms, augmented reality (the technology used in Pokémon Go) and virtual reality in planning.

Maryland Delegate Stephen Lafferty moderated the panel. Lafferty asked what other technologies the panel anticipated coming beyond current 3D visualization. Cannistra mentioned allowing information available on mobile devices. Anthony reiterated the potential of virtual reality and augmented reality.



Managing the Data Flood at #MACoCon

Attendees to the “Surviving the Information Supernova: Open Government & Performance Management” panel on August 20 at the 2016 MACo Summer Conference learned about the issues they need to consider when an open data policy.

2016 MACo Summer Conference - Information Supernova Panel
(L to R) Ben Birge, Lauren Hamilton Edwards, Ewan Simpson, and Kent County Commissioner William Pickrum

Kent County Board of County Commissioners President William Pickrum both moderated and spoke on the panel. Pickrum stressed the importance of open communication, noting no matter what you do, there is “a segment of our population does not trust our government.” He highlighted the challenges small counties face in distributing information to the public, such as limited local media. He noted that Kent County has tried to counter this by live streaming all commissioner meetings and many other meetings and archiving them on Youtube. He also stressed that counties need to have a different technology perspective for a younger generation. You need to “provide information for tomorrow, rather than yesterday or today,” he posited.

Prince George’s County CountyStat Manager Benjamin Birge discussed how to manage data and convert it into something useful to make policy and budget decisions. He stressed that you need to: (1) get buy-in and support from leadership; (2) have performance management tied very closely to the budget office; and (3) define your goals, success levels, failure states, and failure actions in advance. “Simply improving is not a goal,” Birge cautioned. He also highlighted the importance of making your goals and underlying data sets available to the public.

University of Maryland Baltimore County Assistant Professor Lauren Hamilton Edwards discussed how not to “drown in data” by considering what is useful and relevant to performance management. She noted that data should be SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant and Time-Bound). She also stressed that your goals should reflect the broad priorities of your citizens. “No single metric tells the whole story,” she advised.

Socrata Maryland Account Manager Ewan Simpson noted that Socrata manages data initiatives from Maryland to Maine and all have the same general challenges with respect to performance management. You need to have a foundation for the governance of your data, he advised, noting that software is not absolutely required but can reinforce the process. A county should develop a data performance framework that responds to the unique needs of your jurisdiction – which means engagement with your departments.



Data Drives Criminal Justice Improvements

In a panel discussion moderated by County Executive Jan Gardner, attendees to the MACo Summer Conference heard ways to improve criminal justice outcomes through use of data.

Earlier this summer, Governor Larry Hogan led Maryland in signing on to the White House Data-Driven Justice Initiative, a bipartisan coalition of sixty-seven city, county, and state governments who have committed to using data-driven strategies to divert low-level offenders with mental illness out of the criminal justice system. In this MACo session, attendees heard the advantages of the data-driven justice effort.

Kayvon Behroozian, ‎Policy Assistant at The White House, Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the Office of Social Innovation described the cost-savings that local governments nationwide are discovering through identifies “high-utilizers” of social services and providing them treatment that has lasting results.

V. Glenn Fueston, Jr, Executive Director, Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention described the need to share data across agencies in order to improve decision-making. He is looking at a federation structure that would enable counties to build their own data-sharing mechanisms.

Maryland Department of Human Resources Secretary Malhotra shares, “We are living in an era where data is king.”

Sam Malhotra, Secretary, Department of Human Resources spoke about making the jump from data to actionable intelligence, and the importance of scrubbing obsolete or inaccurate data before it is relied upon.

Robert Green, Director, Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation shared results of national data and local justice programs in Montgomery County. Green’s findings included:

  • Weekender drunk driving programs have little effect
  • Incarceration of drug offenders without also providing treatment leads to repeat offenses
  • Managing pre-trial offenders in the community is cost-effective for the tax payer
  • Those who earn GEDs while incarcerated are less likely to return to prison

For more information on these topics, contact Natasha Mehu at MACo.