Baltimore County

Municipal League convention kicks off with Aberdeen mayor at the head

The offices of many local municipal department heads, as well as the chairs of elected officials, are empty this week as the Maryland Municipal League's annual convention kicks off in Ocean City.

With Aberdeen Mayor Mike Bennett at the helm of the organization this year, the convention has plenty of representation fromHarford County.

Two other local elected officials, Perryville Mayor Jim Eberhardt and Havre de Grace Councilman Fred Cullum, are also on the MML board.

Bennett said Monday about 13 people from Aberdeen are in Ocean City, including almost all the department heads, the entire council and two employees from the Department of Planning and Community Development and the Department of Public Works.

Bennett said the league is focusing on a broad agenda and looking for ways to work together, as no key issues have been identified yet.

"We will develop our very specific issues at our fall conference," he said.

For now, "our key issue is building together today for a better tomorrow, and just continuing the focus we have had on all the municipalities working together and being partners. We know that we get a lot better bang for the buck, if you will, when we work together on issues."

In Bel Air, the town's administration director Joyce Oliver said town administrator Chris Schlehr and all the commissioners except Terry Hanley, who was unavailable, are at the convention.

The heads of the planning and zoning and economic development departments are also there, she said.

For Havre de Grace, Mayor Wayne Dougherty and the six council members Jim Miller, Barbara Wagner, Fred Cullum, John Correri, Randy Craig and Bill Martin are representing the city, as well as administration director Carol Mathis, finance director George DeHority and planning and zoning director Larry Parks.

Bennett said it is useful to "meet with different folks," and much of the event is about networking and putting heads together.

"It's for a good reason and we are setting up the counterparts [from different jurisdictions]," he said. "It's a lot of work but I think I have done a pretty good job of managing things."

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