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Commissioners, lawmakers, hold joint meeting


Prince Frederick, MD - The annual meeting between the Calvert County Commissioners and the county’s Annapolis Delegation was held Tuesday evening, Dec. 4 at Calvert Pines Senior Center. The purpose of the session is a formal presentation of requests for legislation from county officials, including government departments and the sheriff’s office.

It was perfect attendance for the county commissioners as the current five-member board and the three incoming commissioners were present. Except for the transitioning District 29 senate seat, every member of the Calvert Delegation attended.

County Attorney John Norris moderated the session, presenting a synopsis of each legislative measure. The first request is for legislation to establish a corrections officer “bill of rights” like a measure affecting Charles County officers. Specifically, the bill requested would “provide peer review and evaluation of personnel actions within the correctional system.”

“This is not anything that was broken,” said Sheriff Mike Evans [R], who indicated the legislation would improve the current review and evaluation process. Calvert County Detention Center Administrator Major T.D. Reece told the lawmakers that the change was largely supported by the facility’s correctional officers and other Maryland counties were enacting similar standards.

The commissioners are requesting $10.3 million in bonding authority for two road projects, two utilities projects and land acquisition for a new location for the Solomons Volunteer Rescue Squad and Fire Department (Company 3). During discussion of the Company 3 project, Fire and Rescue Division Chief Jim Richardson indicated that there will be efforts to acquire a parcel closer to Lusby. That situation would put responders closer to the Chesapeake Ranch Estates subdivision, which is where more than a quarter of the county’s medical calls are coming from. It would also have a positive impact on CRE residents’ efforts to obtain affordable fire insurance coverage for their homes. Clark indicated he would like a meeting between the delegation and the Fire and Rescue Association before any legislation is drafted. Some of Clark’s concerns included potential negative impacts to response times in the Solomons area, specifically the retirement community of Asbury, and the exit plan details for the current Company 3 parcel when a new headquarters is ready for occupancy.

Another legislative request came from the county government’s Department of Parks and Recreation, which is asking for authority to “restrict access of disruptive and violent persons to public areas beyond the day of an incident.” The fourth request under consideration would extent the county’s Length of Service (LOSAP) benefit for volunteer fire, rescue and emergency medical services personnel of $6,000 to the family of a volunteer who gives his or her life in the line of duty. “We’re going to do it the right way,” said Delegate Michael A. Jackson [D-District 27B], who stated that adding a caveat that the volunteer have a minimum of five years of service would be appropriate.

It was noted during the presentation that a fifth request, conversion of “correctional officers” to “correctional deputies” did not receive the majority support of the current board of commissioners. Commissioners’ President Evan K. Slaughenhoupt Jr. [R-District 3] said the item was mentioned for the benefit of the three incoming commissioners who might have a differing opinion on the proposal. The proposed legislation, should it be revived, does have some tie-in with the previously mentioned correctional officers’ bill of rights measure. 

County Administrator Terry Shannon that the new board, which will be sworn in later this month, will be discussing the legislative proposals.

Norris also reviewed four legislative initiatives adopted by the Maryland Association of Counties. Those initiatives are continuing the state’s commitment to education, re-prioritizing public health, repealing the “implied preemption doctrine and “next generation 911” implementation.

In his closing remarks, Maryland Senate President Mike Miller suggested that the legislative meeting with the county commissioners be combined with a similar forum sponsored annually by the local League of Women Voters.

The next session of the Maryland General Assembly begins Jan. 9.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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