By Amanda Conn
General counsel, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission
The Section Council committees have continued working on upcoming programs for our members, reviewing bills during the Maryland General Assembly session identified by the MSBA as having particular impact on local and state government, and, importantly, exploring ways to have more of our members involved in the committee work.
We are now in the planning stages of our annual State and Local Government Institute, which we will be having later in the spring. The date has not yet been determined. The Section Council has decided that, given the unpredictable nature of the pandemic and not knowing when government buildings will reopen to the public and under what conditions, we will be planning a virtual Institute.
While it is disappointing that we will not see each other at this event, which has always been well attended, we felt that there were too many obstacles to have an in-person Institute this year. There is a great deal of legwork involved in planning an in-person Institute such as reserving rooms, dealing with the audio-visual arrangements, organizing parking, and ordering food and beverages.
Historically, the Section Council has held the Institute at WSSC Water headquarters because it is centrally located and has been free. Because the space was free, we were always able to offer a very reasonably priced Institute considering that we know that many of our governments do not pay for MSBA dues or events.
WSSC Water is still closed to the public and we do not know when that will change, which was an obstacle to having this free space for the Institute. What we didn’t want to happen was getting all of the arrangements in place for an event at WSSC Water and then have to find a new space if the buildings were not open or the conditions, because of social distancing, would not allow a significant number of members to attend. Also, the Council was concerned that the continuing effects of the pandemic would hinder our ability to attract quality speakers and may affect attendance as well.
Look in your email for a link to a State and Local Government Survey! Our communications committee is exploring ways that more section members can be involved in the Section’s Communications and Programs committees. We think that additional member input will help the Section provide better written communications and programming on topics of interest.
We promise it is a very short survey and will only take a minute of your day! So please click on the link that you will find in the email. Taking the survey doesn’t obligate you to volunteer, and, if you indicate you would like to, a member of the section council will contact you with more information.