From the Commish…Starting Anew

Elections are over, the newly elected sworn in, first comes orientations before the business of the people can begin. Your Calvert County Board of County Commissioners has two new members; one with more county government experience and the other who will catch up following a longer learning curve.

Besides having one full day of orientation about the various county departments within Calvert County, and soon to be another day getting into further details about the departments’ various divisions, much time will be spent about the budget, its process, schedule, and construction.

Yet, there is more orientation that occurs for elected officials and is provided by an outside organization. The Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) is a non-profit and non-partisan organization that serves Maryland’s counties by articulating the needs of the local government to the Maryland General Assembly. State leaders recognize the organization’s effectiveness in advocating county issues, often deferring to MACo positions.

Two annual (summer and winter) conferences occur. We just completed the winter conference whose theme was “The Road Ahead” specifically tailored to provide newly elected officials a host of information about their transition from private to public life. While the amount of information presented might seem like trying to drink water from a fire hose, the level of documentation, contact information, and exchanging ideas with others throughout the state is most valuable.

Specifically provided during this conference was orientation on local government structures, budgeting, elected officials’ role in the media, and a mentoring session with veteran elected officials.

Considering the desire by many citizens to see greater transparency within their local government, it certainly seems that becoming more aware of the issues facing the government officials would be helpful for the citizens. To that end, MACo provides a wealth of information that is readily available in many forms. Their primary web site is: (http://www.mdcounties.org/ ) Please visit this site to begin a greater awareness. Besides this site, MACo has many communication tools such as a blog (which is a treasure of current information) called Conduit Street (http://conduitstreet.mdcounties.org/ ). Additionally, the most current information can be accessed through Twitter (https://twitter.com/MDCounties) and Facebook.

Better informed citizens will always be helpful to those of us who serve in elected office. Your new board is seated, already working well together, and extends a Happy New Year and Best Wishes as we continue working together for the betterment of Calvert County.