O'Malley Advises Frugality For MACo Conference
The Maryland Association of Counties summer conference in Ocean City next month could be a more sober affair than usual -- at least for Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration.
With both the state and Maryland counties facing hundreds of millions in budget cuts, O'Malley's chief of staff has advised the governor's office and his Cabinet members to send "essential staff only" to the annual beachfront confab.
And there's more. In letters made public today, O'Malley Chief of Staff Michael R. Enright encourages carpooling. And sharing hotel rooms. And he asks that staffers who slip out to the beach or golf course between conference sessions use comp time or take personal leave.
O'Malley (D) appears to be setting the tone for upcoming state budget cuts that will impact Maryland's counties. Aid to local governments accounts for about 40 percent of the state's general fund budget, making it an attractive target in times of fiscal shortfalls.
The legislature also is preparing to engage in "a thoughtful examination of the fiscal relationship between the state and local governments," according to a recent letter sent by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) to legislative staff.
The letter details the membership and agenda of a joint Senate-House work group that Miller and Busch announced in concept during the past legislative session.
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