Gain Tools to Help Protect Elections from Cyber Threats from this Webinar

The National Association of Counties offers a webinar on cybersecurity and elections.


Protecting Elections from Cybersecurity Threats: Resources to Help Counties

Jun. 21, 2018
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
From NACo:

Based on recent published reports Counties have become increasingly concerned with the potential for threats and possible vulnerabilities in the coming election season. Cyber threats and I.T. systems manipulation is a growing concern – not only for county election officials but the public trust as well.

Counties are looking for assurances and resources to help insure smooth elections in 2018 and beyond.

There is hope, and more importantly, there is help!

Presented by the National Association of Counties (NACo), the Public Technology Institute (PTI) along with the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing Analysis Center (EI-ISAC), this webinar will present an overview of the types of threats that local elections officials might expect, while providing resources – tips for incident response and remediation, tools for monitoring vulnerabilities and threats, leading practices for elections systems security – to help local officials make their elections systems more secure.

Lower Crime, Fewer Foreclosures, Faster Permitting…Data Tracking Contributes to County Performance

Prince George’s County’s transforming neighborhoods initiative has contributed to positive results through a CountyStat program focused on gathering and analyzing information from 3-1-1 calls and other sources.

The National Association of Counties article, Building Trust: Performance Metrics in Counties, profiles performance management programs in county governments in Maryland, North Carolina, and Illinois.

NACo writes:

Counties across the country are in a continuous process of performance improvement. From running local health departments to overseeing elections, counties deliver a variety of services and represent an industry of half a trillion dollars in annual operations. Performance metrics have become especially important for counties in face of rising state and federal mandates, decreasing funding shared by states with counties and multiplying state limitations on counties’ ability to raise revenue.

The presentation by Prince George’s CountyStat Director Ben Birge shared several ways that his county program has been able to deliver results, including public safety and customer service outcomes.

Screenshot 2018-06-12 10.17.17
Prince George’s CountyStat program offers service improvements based on data analysis.

MACo’s Summer Conference will include an Open Government and Data Work Group Roundtable, led by Mike Morello of the Governor’s Office of Performance Improvement, and Ben Birge of Prince George’s County Stat.

The conversation at MACo will include insight into how counties can improve outcomes and increase efficiency with existing resources and select the best targets for results from county performance tracking.

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The National Association of Counties survey found that data collection and metric identification to be top hurdles to county government performance improvement programs.

The National Association of Counties found that the biggest hurdles to data analysis for county governments were data gathering and identifying metrics. At MACo, the Governor’s Office of Performance Improvement will offer Round Table will bring forward for conversation:

  • Free data available from the State of Maryland, and
  • Metrics that make the biggest difference to your county’s bottom line

The Round Table will be held on Wednesday, August 15, from 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm at the Roland E Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD. To attend the Open Government Work Group Round Table, register for the MACo Summer Conference. Daily registration options are available.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Anne Arundel County Delegate Ted Sophocleus Passes Away at 79

Delegate Ted Sophocleus of Anne Arundel County died on Friday, June 8, in Baltimore.

AACo Delegate Ted Sophocleus spent 35 years in public service (Photo courtesy of MD General Assembly website)

At the age of 79, Delegate Sophocleus spent nearly half his life in public service. He began his 35-year career as an elected official on the Anne Arundel County Council in 1982, where he served two terms. He was appointed to the House of Delegates by then Governor William Donald Schaefer in 1993, and was elected to his own seat in 1998. Delegate Sophocleus served on the Appropriations Committee and was vice chair of the Health and Social Services Subcommittee. He served as Anne Arundel County delegation chair in 2018, even though his health was declining.

Before becoming one of the longest-serving public officials in Anne Arundel County history, the Delegate was a practicing pharmacist and a store manager for an independent pharmacy. He brought this small-business experience with him to the Appropriations Committee, which oversees taxes and fees. As a delegate, he was also a frequent advocate for the needs of teachers, police, and hospitals.

Delegate Sophocleus was revered and respected by all who had the opportunity to work with him:


The family will receive visitors at Singleton Funeral & Cremation Services, P.A., 1 2nd Ave. SW (at Crain Hwy) on Wednesday, June 13, from 4 pm – 8 pm and Thursday, June 14, from 2 pm – 4 pm and 7 pm – 9 pm, a Trisagion Service will be held at 7:30 pm. Delegate Sophocleus will Lie-in-State at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation, 24 W. Preston St., Baltimore, MD 21201, on Friday from 10:30 am – 11 am, at which time the funeral service will begin. Interment will be at the Greek Orthodox Cemetery in Woodlawn.

Memorial donations can be made to Opportunity Builders Inc. (OBI), 8855 Veterans Hwy., Millersville, MD 21108.

ATS Enhancing Traffic and the #MACoCon Program!

MACo would like to thank American Traffic Solutions (ATS) for supporting counties at the 2018 Summer Conference, “Water, Water Everywhere.” ATS is providing this year’s inside front cover of our program. Check it out August 15-18, 2018 in Ocean City!

ats logoATS delivers next-generation technology products, services, and business solutions and anticipates their customers’ future mobility, traffic safety, and enforcement needs.

Please visit American Traffic Solutions, Inc. on the web at

Thank you, American Traffic Solutions, Inc., a Summer Conference Sponsor, for your continued support of the Maryland Association of Counties!

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

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.


  • 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

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:

#MACoCon Photography Provided Proudly Per Grant L. Gursky Photography

Gursky Photography

MACo would like to thank Grant L. Gursky Photography for providing the photography at MACo’s Summer Conference, August 15-18, 2018 in Ocean City, MD.

Grant L. Gursky grew up in a suburb of Washington, DC, where from an early age, he dreamed of being a photojournalist for major media outlets. He’s come a long way from taking photos of the national monuments on his own for fun as a kid to making his dreams come true. Grant has worked from some of the smallest and largest publications in the news world – the Catholic Review, Carroll County Times, The Daily Times, Washington Post, and Boston Globe to name a few. His photos have appeared in countless newspapers and magazines throughout the world, including Coastal Style Magazine, US News & World Report and Time.

Please visit Grant L. Gursky Photography on the web at and look for MACo Summer Conference photos to be posted to MACo’s Conduit Street Blog and Social Media after the conference.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Maryland Is Our Oyster, Oysters Are Our Maryland

Oysters have played a pivotal role in Maryland’s economy for centuries. Not only to they generate economic activity for counties because they are delicious, but shellfish aquaculture and restoration give counties an innovative and affordable option for nutrient reduction practices. oyster-989182_1280

It’s no surprise that these Bay gems would spark conflict over how to take advantage of all they have to offer without depleting them for future generations. Fortunately, Bay Journal reports that oyster aficionados from opposite ends have recently had a “meeting of the minds” in terms of how to reach this balance:

…[A]fter two years of meeting behind closed doors, some of the people who’ve been lobbing verbal grenades at each other — watermen and environmentalists — have buried enough of their differences to agree on a wide-ranging set of recommendations for restoring oysters in a pair of Eastern Shore rivers while also aiding the industry that depends on harvesting them.

That’s the outcome of OysterFutures, a $2 million research project aimed at forging consensus on how to achieve both a thriving oyster fishery and ecosystem in the Choptank and Little Choptank rivers.

Read the article here.

Learn about how oysters play a pivotal role in driving Maryland’s economy from experts at the Oyster Recovery Partnership during the MACo Summer Conference general session, “The Wealth in Our Water.” 

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:

Reinvest Maryland 2.0 Unveiled

MDP logo

A Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) press release (2018-06-05) announced the release of Reinvest Maryland 2.0. The report is an update of the original Reinvest Maryland and provides a toolkit for assisting local governments in infill, redevelopment and revitalization projects. The report also includes studies that are applicable in urban, suburban, and rural areas.  From the press release:

The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission (Commission) and the Department of Planning (Planning) today released Reinvest Maryland 2.0, a report that provides resources for all levels of government to work together, strengthen collaborative efforts to support revitalization and reinvestment, and engage stakeholders in supporting Maryland’s communities to improve the quality of life.

The report examines redevelopment in Maryland and identifies tools, case studies and best practices that support redevelopment and revitalization in existing communities. …

Reinvest Maryland 2.0 addresses all aspects of the redevelopment process, including: Promoting Reinvestment; Regulatory Reform; and Financing Tools and Programs. It also includes a set of Policy Recommendations.

The Commission and its workgroups collaborated closely with Planning, which staffs the commission, as well as other state agencies, to: identify best practices in Maryland communities; identify, review and refine the recommendations; and communicate with local officials and practitioners to identify and share the most effective planning tools and resources.

The extensive research provided insight into the best ways to create vibrant places with a range of housing, employment and transportation options in Maryland, as well as identifying strategies to overcome the challenges that communities face with redevelopment. “We must continue to provide technical assistance and resources that support reinvestment initiatives in Maryland’s great communities,” said Commission Chairman Susan Summers. “Reinvest Maryland 2.0 outlines recommendations to help us grow smarter and improve quality of life.”

Planning will build upon this work with the Reinvest Maryland website, as a onestop source of redevelopment information in Maryland, and solicit additional case studies and information from local communities and practitioners to support the educational efforts of the Commission’s workgroups.

“This has been a great team effort and the new Reinvest Maryland 2.0 website provides an interactive experience for Maryland’s stakeholders,” said Secretary of Planning Robert McCord.

Special Secretary of Smart Growth Wendi Peters noted, “With Governor Hogan’s leadership, we are continuing to assist communities and change Maryland for the better.”

The report includes a series of policy recommendations broken down into several categories. The categories include:

  • Establishing a Vision for Reinvestment
  • Creating and Better Funding Innovative, Effective Reinvestment Programs
  • Identifying and Addressing Regulations and Policies that may Impede Reinvestment
  • Deploying Targeted Financial Tools
  • Promoting Equitable Development
  • Encouraging Excellence in Community Design and Preservation
  • Using Metrics to Gauge Success and Drive Reinvestment
  • Accelerating Transit-Oriented Development

In addition to the basic report and case studies, MDP has created an interactive website that provides further information on case studies, contacts for technical assistance, and a toolbox that allows users to navigate and connect with more than 100 state and federal redevelopment and infill programs.

Useful Links

Reinvest Maryland 2.0 Report

Reinvest Maryland 2.0 Interactive Website

Growth Commission Presents 2018 Sustainable Growth Awards

The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission presented its 2018 Sustainable Growth Awards in Annapolis on June 4, 2018. The awards highlight individuals, groups, programs, or projects that further the principles of smart and sustainable growth. From a Commission press release (2018-06-04):

The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission today presented awards for leadership, community planning, and conservation at its sixth annual awards ceremony at the Maryland State House in Annapolis. The awards recognize individuals, organizations, and programs that exemplify well-planned economic and community development initiatives throughout the state. “These award recipients from across Maryland represent creativity, innovation, and passion – traits that we see in leaders across our great state,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “My administration is proud to celebrate their contributions and their commitment to helping change Maryland for the better.” The six winners are individuals and organizations that demonstrate their commitment to sustainable growth – development or redevelopment that is compact, walkable, and takes advantage of existing infrastructure while preserving the rural landscape – in Maryland. “The commission and I are thrilled to recognize these outstanding Maryland projects,” said Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission Chair Susan Summers. “These awards are the highest level of recognition for well-planned economic and community development and sustainability in the state.” “Today’s recipients characterize the resourcefulness, imagination, and originality that makes Maryland a leader in cultural preservation, community and economic development, and environmental stewardship,” said Wendi Peters, Special Secretary of Smart Growth. “I join the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission in celebrating today’s award winners who demonstrate what can happen when great ideas and local vision come together in the spirit of creating economic opportunities, robust communities, and a superior quality of life for Marylanders.”

From Left to Right: Special Secretary of Smart Growth Wendi Peters, SGC Chair Susan Summers, Rock Hall Mayor Brian Jones, Maryland Delegate Jay Jacobs, Maryland Delegate Steven Arentz, Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, and Maryland Senator Stephen Hershey

This year’s award winners included the following (award category is in parentheses):

  1. Rock Hall Mayor Brian Jones (Leadership & Service)
  2. Anacostia River Trail, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens Segment (Sustainable Communities)
  3. Havre de Grace Opera House (Sustainable Communities)
  4. Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway Theatre Baltimore City (Sustainable Communities)
  5. R House in Baltimore City (Sustainable Communities)
  6. ECO City Farms (Preservation and Conservation)

Useful Links

2018 Sustainable Growth Award Winners Web Page (includes videos for each award winner)

SGC Web Page

Still Time To Speak Up On Maryland Transportation Plan

There’s still time to provide your input into the Maryland Transportation Plan!

Courtesy MDOT

A few months ago, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) released a survey to allow Marylanders to weigh in on State transportation priorities. MDOT continues to receive comments and questions on the Plan at All comments received through June 29 will be addressed in the draft plan anticipated in Summer 2018.

MDOT develops a new Maryland Transportation Plan every five years. The Plan articulates a 20-year vision for transportation priorities in the State, and provides a rubric for transportation investment decision-making.

MDOT has released this video explaining the planning process:

For even more information on the Maryland Transportation Plan, visit MDOT’s very informative website.