Carroll County's three commissioners will fly to Chicago this week to attend a National Association of Counties conference that includes an address by President Bill Clinton by satellite hookup.
They also will attend seminars on topics of interest in Carroll, including incineration, recycling, composting, fiscal management and job training.
Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy said he looked forward to the trip, but was a bit cynical about its relevance.
"I have a rule-of-thumb theory that the farther away you go from home, the less valuable the conferences are," he said.
He and Commissioners Donald I. Dell and Julia W. Gouge will join about 5,000 other county officials from around the United States for the five-day conference.
Mr. Dell and Mr. Lippy and their wives are leaving today. Mrs. Gouge is leaving Friday. They will return on Wednesday.
The theme of the association's 58th annual conference is "Counties Care for America." Organizers boast that the gathering offers an "opportunity to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your county government."
Commissioners Dell and Gouge attended the conference last year in Minneapolis. Mr. Dell said he gained an understanding about how other governments work.
"You pick up some ideas," he said.
Mr. Dell, a Westminster dairy and grain farmer, is a member of the association's Agriculture and Rural Affairs Steering Committee.
Mrs. Gouge said she will give a report on transportation issues as they relate to the Local Government Insurance Trust, an organization that works for lower insurance rates for governments. She is a member of the trust's board of trustees.
She also is a member of the counties association's Employment Steering Committee.
Mr. Lippy said he planned to take an association-sponsored tour Waste Management of North America East in Oak Brook, Ill. The company owns the Finksburg plant that handles Carroll's recyclables.
He said he also will attend a show by singer Johnny Mathis and a speech by ABC-TV and National Public Radio reporter Cokie Roberts.
President Clinton is scheduled to speak and answer questions by satellite hookup on Monday, association public affairs director Tom Goodman said.
Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala will speak by satellite hookup about health care reform on Monday. Attorney General Janet Reno will speak in person on Sunday, Mr. Goodman said.
The commissioners' trip is expected to cost at least $3,000, County Clerk Shawn D. Reese said yesterday. Mr. Dell and Mr. Lippy are paying the expenses for their wives, she said.
Ms. Reese gave the following cost breakdown:
* Palmer House hotel -- $104 per double room per night.
Mr. Dell and Mr. Lippy will be staying six nights for a total cost of $1,248. Mrs. Gouge will be staying five nights and will split the room cost with another conference participant for a total cost of $260.
* Air fare is $424.20 round trip for all three commissioners. They received a special rate through the association, Mrs. Reese said.
* Conference registration fee was $245 each, or $735 total.
* Food -- County policy allows the commissioners $25 a day for meals, for a total of $425.
Mrs. Reese said the commissioners also probably will incur miscellaneous expenses, such as taxi fares.
Mrs. Gouge said yesterday she is considering paying her hotel and air fare expenses herself. Mrs. Reese said Mrs. Gouge already had received a cash advance for meal expenses.
While at the conference, the commissioners will receive two 1993 association achievement awards for county staff members' work on two projects.
The projects are the "Carroll County Comprehensive Mineral Resources Plan and Implementation Mechanisms" by the Planning Department and "Fiscal Reduction Programs -- Fiscal Years 1991 to 1993" by the Department of Management and Budget.