‘Free State Politics’ Episode 6: MACo Conference to Focus on Economic Recovery



Episode 6 of the “Free State Politics” podcast presented by MarylandReporter.com is now available for download.

It stars award-winning journalist John Rydell and producer Douglas Christian, a Freelance White House multimedia reporter. If you haven’t subscribed to the podcast, please do.

The 20-minute episode features interviews with Michael Sanderson, executive director of the Maryland County Association (MACo), and Steuart Pittman, county executive director of Anne Arundel, who sits on MACo’s board of directors. They discussed the agenda and key issues for MACo’s upcoming annual conference in Ocean City, which will take place August 18-21 at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center.

The conference was held virtually last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and there is great enthusiasm for the return of in-person attendance at this year’s conference, Sanderson and Pittman said.

Sanderson says there is no substitute for in-person presence

“It’s encouraging that we can come back and have a really productive event,” he said. “There are a lot of things you can get face to face that just aren’t the same as when you’re in a Zoom room. “

Sanderson says lessons from the pandemic will be at the center of the conference

“We’re going to have a lot of content that will focus on lessons learned: how are we going to get through and hopefully get out of this pandemic? How can we be smarter to have had this experience? Part of this is the recovery in the private sector. And the county governments have a fairly important continuing role in helping the business community. “

Sanderson defends the cost of the conference, which in some cases is borne by taxpayers

“What you would miss with a small-scale event is just the extent of those interactions. Sometimes we will have someone who will dispute whether this is a good use of public funds. And I always ask these people, “Take just a minute and watch the program. You will see page after page of best practices and opportunities for counties to learn from each other, or to learn from university leaders or leaders in the private sector.

Pittman says economic recovery will be a key focus of the conference

“The economic development people all come together at MACo,” he said. “But at the highest level, all of the county leaders and county commissioners are talking about which industries have been affected, which ones have new owners, which ones really need to expand, and which ones are going to have to expand. adapt. We want to target our aid. And we all have federal money as well.

Pittman says county implementation of police reform legislation, body cameras, could be on conference agenda

“It’s a big investment in personnel. But when you think of the interactions between police officers and community members trying to build trust, transparency adds to the trust. This is true for all governments.

Pittman says MACo conference is a very important event

“I found that it makes people better public servants. And they come back and they do a better job. So I support an event like this.


The podcast ends with Rydell’s two-minute societal self-reflection: “A Moment of Clarity.”

This week, the host explains how the MACo conference symbolizes a return to normal after a year of pandemic restrictions and how consumer demand is pushing the cost of some Ocean City hotels up to $ 700 per night . Rydell also notes that Ocean City is not only a vacation destination for Marylanders, but it draws visitors from as far away as states like New York and Ohio.


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