Cosmic Cocktail in 2 weeks: Get your ticket today before they sell out.

Harford council, executive, staff attend MACo conference in Ocean City

Harford County Executive David Craig and 11 members of his administration were expected to attend this week's Maryland Association of Counties conference in Ocean City, six fewer than last year.

Six of the seven Harford County Council members also are in attendance.

The county cabinet members who signed up to attend the conference, which began Wednesday and runs through Saturday, include Director of Administration Mary Chance, Parks and Recreation Director Arden McClune, County Attorney Rob McCord, Chief of Staff Aaron Tomarchio, Procurement Director Deborah Henderson, Public Works Director Tim Whittie, Treasurer Kathryn Hewitt and Community Services Director Beth Hendrix.

Other executive staff members signed up include Ben Lloyd, deputy chief of staff and MACo liaison; John Sullivan, agriculture deputy chief of staff; and Wini Roche, tourism manager, according to information provided by county spokeswoman Sherrie Johnson.

Johnson said Thursday the list was subject to change and the full list of who attended would be available Monday, as would the expenses charged by each attendee.

County Councilman Dion Guthrie said by telephone from Ocean City Thursday afternoon that all of the council members are present except Council President Billy Boniface.

Guthrie said a Thursday session on stormwater management fees – what many officials in Harford and elsewhere have dubbed the "rain tax" – was "standing-room only," which is something he said he has never seen at a MACo workshop.

The conference schedule also included sessions on topics such as financing stormwater infrastructure, county financial management and employment issues.

Johnson said expense reimbursements will vary, depending on lodging and meal arrangements.

"It's important to note that just because people are going does not mean that the county is paying for anything beyond the cost of registration, which runs from $285 to $415 depending on when they registered," she said. "Some folks have their own place, are staying with friends or have made their own arrangements while some plan to expense their rooms."

"For example, David Craig has his own place. Ben Lloyd is paying for his own hotel room," she added. Craig has a vacation home outside Bethany Beach, Del., and has stayed there during past MACo summer conventions.

In 2012, the county paid more than $20,000 for 17 administration members to attend the MACo conference.

Craig is a former MACo president, and Boniface is currently on the board of directors. McCord serves on the conference planning committee.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad