By Frank Johnson
Deputy City Attorney, City of Gaithersburg
We will this year have new leadership for the State and Local Government Section Council, including new officers and Section Council members. It’s been my pleasure to serve as Chair for the last few years, and I’m very happy to welcome Amanda Stakem Conn, WSSC Counsel, as Chair for 2021.
I also welcome Kimberly Hale Carney, Assistant Attorney General (Department of Labor) as Vice-Chair. Patrick Hughes, with the Office of the Attorney General, will continue serving as Secretary, and Robert McFarland, Assistant Attorney General (Department of Natural Resources) will serve as Treasurer. I’ve enjoyed working with them on the Section Council and they’ll serve the Section well.
We’ll also be welcoming several new Section Council members, after a few long-term members have hit term limits, and a few others were appointed to be District Court judge, including now-Judges Heather Price Smith of Caroline County (appointed in February 2021) and Kemp Hammond of Anne Arundel County (appointed in December 2020). Four new members will include Judge Kathleen Chapman, with the Office of Administrative Hearings; Roscoe Leslie, Worcester County Attorney; Thomas Mitchell, Assistant County Attorney, Anne Arundel County, and Anand Parikh, Assistant Attorney General. Two former Section Council members will also be rejoining: Elissa Levan, a partner with Funk and Bolton who serves several municipalities (and who is already filling a vacancy), and Paul Cucuzzella, Assistant Attorney General (Department of Planning).
Last year was, without doubt, a challenge, and the coming year will bring its own new challenges. The pandemic and ongoing state of emergency have been the challenges in serving the Section. I’ve been proud to work with our Council in persevering
and continuing to offer programs such as last year’s Fall Law Institute, which Section Council member Chuck Thompson, who also serves as Executive Director for the International Municipal Lawyers Association, was instrumental in organizing.
Reopening will still require new planning. Thus as our Section plans for the next upcoming Fall Law Institute in late October, a challenge will be, considering what we have learned over the last fifteen months, whether to include virtual programming. While it’s not the same as an in-person event, such programming can also allow persons to participate from a long distance. It may be that some blend will allow us to involve the most persons statewide. These new officers will serve the Section well, and I look forward to working with them and our new Section Council.