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Date: Feb 19, 2019

Charting the Course for the Next Four Years

County Executive Johnny Olszewski’s transition team today issued its final report, with dozens of recommendations that provide a blueprint for the work of the County Executive’s administration over the next four years.

“We have a lot of work to do to address our fiscal challenges while also advancing our shared priorities to move Baltimore County forward, and I’m grateful to our entire transition team for helping to chart the course,” Olszewski said. “Over the next four years, these recommendations will help guide our work to make county government more open and transparent, and to ensure we are providing the top notch services and programs that our residents expect and deserve.”

The Transition Team was co-chaired by Calvin G. Butler, Jr., CEO of Baltimore Gas and Electric Company, and Rachel Garbow Monroe, President and CEO of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

“The Olszewski administration has an opportunity to bring innovation to county government and progress for county residents, and I believe our report provides strong recommendations to help guide the county executive’s work,” Butler said. “It was an honor to help lead this effort to identify solutions to some of the challenges facing the county.”

“We had an inclusive process that brought together voices with a wide variety of expertise from around the region, and the result is a report that provides specific recommendations for how the Olszewski administration can build on the county’s strengths to expand opportunity in every community,” Garbow Monroe said. “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to help lead this transition team, and I look forward to seeing the county executive and his team make these recommendations a reality.”

The process brought together more than 100 respected thought-leaders, practitioners, community leaders and policy advocates from both the public and private sectors to participate in seven work groups and develop recommendations for making progress in key priority areas affecting all residents of Baltimore County. The seven work groups covered the broad topics of Education; Public Safety; Jobs and Economic Development; Government Reform and Innovation; Sustainability, Infrastructure and Transportation; and Health and Human Services.

Full Report

View the full Transition Report (PDF). 

Key Recommendations

Education

  • Apply an equity lens to Baltimore County Public School’s investments, policies and practices
  • Create and publish a long-term capital project plan
  • Ensure healthy student-to-teacher, as well as student-to-support-staff ratios
  • Ensure competitive pay for educators
  • Expand Community Schools and Hunger-Free Schools
  • Expand early childhood education

Diversity, Inclusion, and Quality of Life

  • Create an Office of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Create a Commission on Volunteerism
  • Boost capacity of nonprofits and community associations
  • Raise the profile of the Small Business Resource Center 

Government Reform and Innovation

  • Create a CountyStat performance management system
  • Direct budget reform
    • Make the County’s fiscal practices sustainable
    • Center the budget process on goals, outcomes, and tracking metrics
    • Open up the budget process to the public
  • Modernize data practices and make data more accessible
  • Engage the public and County employees

Sustainability, Infrastructure and Transportation

  • Create an Office of Sustainability
  • Develop a 2030 Master Plan
  • Establish a climate change adaptation strategy for Baltimore County
  • Create an Office of Transportation Planning with a goal of a separate Transportation Department
  • Explore establishment of a Regional Water Authority
  • Develop a roadmap for re-invigorating the Department of Recreation and Parks

Public Safety

  • Build community trust through better community engagement, social media, resident patrols, neighborhood watch programs, PAL Centers, bias training and multi-lingual resources
  • Strengthen regional cooperation through real-time data sharing, first responder coordination, and joint training
  • Evaluate Fire, Police, and Corrections operations; technology; and HR practices
  • Strengthen services to victims of domestic violence and elder abuse
  • Convene a task force to review, revise, and improve practices and procedures related to sexual assault investigations and prosecution of allegations of sexual assault
  • Tackle the opioid crisis with expanded use of Narcan and partnering with public health agencies and providers

Health and Human Services

  • Create a health care blueprint in conjunction with a new Baltimore County Healthcare Commission
  • Conduct a data-driven assessment and potential restructuring of health-related County departments
  • Expand the collection of data focusing on health and service disparities
  • Appoint an Opioid Strategy Coordinator
  • Assess services for vulnerable populations, particularly older adults

Job Creation and Economic Development

  • Establish an Economic Development Commission
    • Create an economic blueprint
    • Design an anchor strategy
  • Expand employer-driven workforce strategies
    • Explore creation of a  workforce intermediary
    • Expand Job Connector, strategies for at-risk youth and summer programs for high school students
  • Support policies that preserve quality jobs
  • Develop an Integrated Tourism and Arts strategy
  • Design an overarching strategy for neighborhood stability and revitalization
    • Restructure County departments
    • Support community development corporations
  • Take actions that leverage the County’s high-quality housing stock to ensure a diverse and sustainable housing portfolio

Next Meeting Occurs February 27

Due to expected inclement weather, the February 20 Commission on Fiscal Sustainability meeting is canceled.

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 27 at 9:30 a.m. at the Historic Courthouse in Towson. View the full commission schedule for more information on upcoming meetings.

Keywords:

By Jeanette Garcia Polasky, Communications Specialist, Department of Public Works

How dangerous is your job? When we think of deadly professions, we tend to think of mining, construction, law enforcement and firefighting. Oddly enough, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), those jobs are not among the top ten civilian occupations with the highest fatality rates. In fact, the five civilian occupations with the highest fatality rates in 2017 were fishing, logging, piloting/flight engineering, roofing and refuse and recyclable material collection.

You read that right – the men and women who cart away more than 250 million tons of trash, recycling and organic materials generated by Americans each year have one of the nation’s deadliest occupations. In fact, waste collection has an incidence rate of 35 fatalities per 100,000 full-time workers, ten times the national average! (I’ll keep that statistic in mind the next time the lid to my trash can goes missing.)

What makes solid waste collection such a dangerous profession? Falls, slips, trips, fires, explosions and contact with dangerous, heavy equipment all cause fatalities among collectors. However, across all occupations, transportation incidents were the most common cause of fatal injury, which is not news to waste collectors.

“Most people don’t realize just how dangerous the solid waste management field can be,” said Tim Dunn, Baltimore County’s solid waste superintendent. “It’s important to remember the hardworking people who perform this essential public service when you’re out and about. A little bit of extra care and caution behind the wheel can go a long way.”

In recent years, the National Waste and Recycling Association and the Solid Waste Association of North America made it a priority to pass “slow down to get around” (SDTGA) legislation in states across the country, including Maryland SB 445, which was signed into law last year. These laws require drivers to slow down and change lanes when approaching waste management vehicles from the rear.

In addition to following Maryland’s SDTGA law, you can take some simple steps to reduce the risk of injury for sanitation workers:

  • Wrap broken glass before disposing of it.
  • Place needles, syringes, razor blades and any other sharp objects in a closed, heavy-duty plastic container for disposal.
  • Do not put household hazardous waste in your trash can. Take it to one of the County’s drop-off centers.
  • Do not use a trash can that exceeds a maximum filled weight of 40 pounds or a maximum capacity of 34 gallons. See the County’s collection set-out guide for more information.

By following a few basic rules, being mindful and showing a little common courtesy, you can help reduce injury and fatality rates not only among waste collectors, but workers across industries.

Have questions about trash and recycling collection in Baltimore County? View a list of collection FAQs on the County’s website or send an email to solidwaste@baltimorecountymd.gov. This article originally appeared in The Resource Newsletter. See past issues and subscribe at baltimorecountymd.gov/theresource


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017