Welcome to the first edition of Highlights From Annapolis, Manis Canning & Associates (MCA)’s new monthly web publication highlighting current issues and meetings taking place in Annapolis. Each month a new publication will be posted to MCA’s website and it will be emailed directly to our clients. We hope you find this communication provides valuable information and keeps you informed of issues in Annapolis.
Governor Hogan Will Not Spend $80 Million Set Aside By General Assembly
State Budget Secretary David Brinkley announced that the Administration will not spend $80 million that has been set aside by the General Assembly for legislative priorities in the fiscal 2017 budget. Instead, the Administration will use other funds set aside by the legislature to fund infrastructure projects and redirect other dollars to fund certain identified programs. Items to be funded include $22 million for road improvements for a possible FBI headquarters site in Greenbelt and $6 million for projects to prevent nutrient runoff into the Chesapeake Bay. A complete list of items being funded and those in which funds will be withheld, can be found in an article published by the Baltimore Sun. Additional coverage can be found in the Washington Post.
Governor Hogan Announces Staffing Changes
Governor Hogan recently announced the appointment of Douglass Mayer as the new Director of Communications, replacing Matthew Clark, who left the administration to join the private sector.
In late June, Governor Hogan announced that Chris Shank would take over as the new Chief Legislative Officer, replacing Joe Getty, who was recently sworn in as a judge to sit on the Maryland Court of Appeals. Tiffany Robinson, an Assistant Secretary with the Department of Housing and Community Development was named Deputy Chief of Staff, filling the position vacated by Chris Shank.
Recent Cabinet Secretary Changes
Governor Hogan recently announced the appointment of Ellington Churchill as Secretary of the Department of General Services. Churchill previously served as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Housing and Community Development and is replacing Gail Bassette, who left the administration for a job in the private sector.
In late June, it was announced that Wendi Peters would succeed David Craig as the Secretary of the Department of Planning. Peters formerly served as Deputy Secretary of the Department. Craig has been appointed Executive Director of the World War I Commission.
Budget and policy committees of the General Assembly recently released their interim activities. Briefings will take place on topics ranging from tax policy, energy issues, uninsured drivers, federal health care reform and Medicaid program, ticket transfers and resales, environmental issues, procurement reform, and punitive damages involving drunk driving.
Committee meeting dates and times can be found on the General Assembly website.
Task Forces and Commissions
The Commission to Modernize State Procurement, chaired by Lt. Governor Rutherford, has been meeting throughout the interim to review a number of issues related to the procurement process. Topics discussed, to name a few, include standardizing the interpretation of procurement laws and regulations, reducing costs for state agencies by utilizing new technologies; developing a statewide procurement manual; simplifying the current Request For Proposal template to make it easier for businesses to understand and respond; and establishing standards to obtain the overall best value instead of only lowest price.
Meeting dates, meeting minutes, and other details can be found on the Commission website. The next meeting of the Commission will be held on August 25 in Annapolis at 3 pm in the Wineland Building, 16 Francis Street, 4th Floor Conference Room. The Commission’s final report with recommendations is due to the Governor by December 1, 2016.
The 21st Century School Facilities Commission, appointed by the presiding officers of the General Assembly, is examining a number of issues related to the school construction process. The Commission will specifically examine construction specifications, best practices, needs of jurisdictions with increasing and decreasing enrollments, innovative financing mechanisms, and efficiencies and cost-savings in construction and maintenance.
Meeting dates and agenda topics can be found on the General Assembly’s website. The next meeting of the Commission will be held on August 25 in Annapolis at 10 am in the House Appropriations Committee Room, 120 House Office Building. The Commission plans to discuss construction efficiency.