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Date: Dec 3, 2018

Commission to Recommend Improvements, Opportunities for Public Engagement

On his first day in office, County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Jr. issued an Executive Order creating a new blue ribbon commission tasked with studying the County budget process. The commission will recommend changes to improve fiscal sustainability, while identifying opportunities for enhanced transparency and increased public engagement in the budgeting process.

“Given current economic concerns, this group of fiscal and policy experts will put fresh eyes on the County’s budgeting process and priorities in a way that follows national best practices and opens up financial decision-making to public input like never before,” said Olszewski. 

The seven-member Commission on Fiscal Sustainability will consist of four voting members appointed by the County Executive and three voting members appointed by the County Council. The volunteer members will serve one-year terms at the pleasure of the County Executive. The commission is charged with studying the County’s budget in detail and identifying deficiencies and improvements, as well as suggesting changes to significantly improve transparency and boost community engagement in the budgeting process.

The County Executive has charged the commission with issuing interim recommendations to him and the County Council by February 15, 2019, in time to be considered as part of the FY 20 budget cycle. Final recommendations are due by May 15, 2019.

Public Meetings and Online Access to Foster Transparency, Invite Feedback

Olszewski also announced today that he is directing the County’s budget and information technology departments to quickly execute a plan to release budget information online for County residents to review and consider. Prior to releasing his first budget proposal, the newly elected County Executive committed to working with every member of the County Council to host public forums called “Cabinet in the Community” meetings where members of the public may interact directly with County officials to discuss budget priorities and weigh options.

“In order to best serve the families and businesses of Baltimore County, we need to reach out in meaningful ways to find out what matters most to people,” Olszewski said. “We plan to work collaboratively with all stakeholders so that we can overcome our challenges and build a better Baltimore County for everyone.”

The text of the Executive Order is below:

EXECUTIVE ORDER

No. 2018-005

BALTIMORE COUNTY COMMISSION ON FISCAL SUSTAINABILITY

            Whereas, making government more transparent and accountable to all residents of Baltimore County is a central priority of this Administration; and

            Whereas, Moody’s downgraded the County’s credit outlook from “Stable” to “Negative” in February 2018, and Fitch identified several risks to the County’s rating in March 2018;

            Whereas, there is an emerging consensus among economists that the slowing global economy could have adverse consequences on the American economy in the next year;

            Whereas, Baltimore County must address its existing fiscal challenges and develop sustainable budgeting practices amid ongoing economic uncertainty.

            Now, therefore, it is this 3rd day of December, 2018, by the County Executive of Baltimore County, Maryland, ordered that the Baltimore County Commission on Fiscal Sustainability shall be created and charged as follows:

Section I: Membership, appointment, terms of office, officers, and compensation of members.

  1. Membership. The Baltimore County Commission on Fiscal Sustainability shall consist of seven voting members. Four of the members shall be appointed by the County Executive, and three of the members shall be appointed by the County Council.
  2. Terms. The term of a member appointed under subsection A of this section is one year. Members of the Commission shall receive no salaries but shall be reimbursed for all expenses necessarily incurred in the performance of their duties in accordance with appropriations approved by the County Council. All members of the Commission appointed by the County Executive shall serve at the pleasure of the County Executive. All members of the Commission appointed by the County Council shall serve at the pleasure of the County Council. At the end of a term, a member continues to serve until a successor is appointed and qualifies.
  3. Chair. The Chair of the Commission shall be selected by a majority of its members.

Section II: Meetings, quorums.

  1. Meetings. The Baltimore County Commission on Fiscal Sustainability shall meet at the request of the Chair as frequently as required to perform its duties, but not less than once every month.
  2. Quorum. A majority of voting members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business and an affirmative vote of the majority of those present at any meeting shall be sufficient for any official action.

Section III: Duties and Responsibilities.

The Baltimore County Commission on Fiscal Sustainability shall perform the following duties:

  • Study the Baltimore County budget, identify deficiencies, and formulate recommendations for improvement;
  • Study the Baltimore County budget process and identify opportunities for greater transparency and increased public engagement;
  • Issue interim recommendations to the County Executive and County Council not later than February 15, 2019; and
  • Issue final recommendations to the County Executive and County Council not later than May 15, 2019.

Section IV: Staff Assistance.

Staff assistance shall be provided by the Department of Budget and Finance and the Baltimore County Executive’s Office.

This Executive Order shall take effect immediately according to its terms.


Newly Inaugurated Council, Judges and Other Officials Begin their Terms

John Olszewski, Jr. was sworn in today as Baltimore County’s fourteenth County Executive, vowing to create a more modern, transparent and open government while enhancing Baltimore County’s quality of life, strengthening the delivery of public services, and leading with innovation. More than one thousand invited guests, elected officials, County employees and members of the public celebrated the inauguration of local government officials in the executive, legislative and judicial branches.

Inaugural Ceremonies

The inaugural ceremonies took place at Towson University’s SECU Arena at 10 a.m. today with Administrative Judge Kathleen Gallogly Cox administering the oath of office to Clerk of the Court Julie Ensor, who then administered oaths of office to the other elected officials including Judges of the Circuit Court Carey Deeley, Michael Finifter, Ruth Jakubowski and Dennis Robinson; Judges of the Orphans Court William Evans, Juliet Fisher and Arthur Frank; Sheriff R. Jay Fisher; Register of Wills Grace Connolly; members of the Board of Education Kathleen S. Causey, Roger B. Hayden, Julie C. Henn, Moalie S. Jose, Russell T. Kuehn, Lisa A. Mack, Rod McMillion, John H. Offerman Jr., Cheryl E. Pasteur, Lily P. Rowe and Makeda Scott; and the members of the County Council.

In the legislative branch, one new member of the Baltimore County Council, Izzy Patoka, took the oath of office along with six incumbents. The County Council members are 1st District Councilman Tom Quirk, 2nd District Councilman Izzy Patoka, 3rd District Councilman Wade Kach, 4th District Councilman Julian Jones, Jr., 5th District Councilman David Marks, 6th District Councilwoman Cathy Bevins, and 7th District Councilman Todd Crandell.

“I’m excited and looking forward to a very bright future for the County, and can’t wait to get started working with the Olszewski administration to maintain Baltimore County’s reputation of fiscal responsibility and excellent service to our constituents,” said County Council Chair Jones.

“I am humbled and honored to begin this journey, and I am ready to hit the ground running, work with my colleagues, and put communities first as we build a better Baltimore County together,” said County Executive Olszewski. 

The full text of County Executive Olszewski’s inaugural remarks, as prepared, are available on the County website.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017