Town of Emmitsburg
300A S. Seton Ave Emmitsburg, Maryland

August 2003

Valuable information acquired at Municipal League conference

Of the 5 years that I have been involved in Emmitsburg Town Government, this is the first year that I attended the Maryland Municipal League conference in Ocean City. I was happily surprised and impressed with the amount of information made available to the participants.

In previous years the Town Manager was asked to represent Emmitsburg at the convention. The convention was held from Sun., June 22, through Wed., June 25, 2003. Commissioner Rosensteel also attended the convention. The convention hosted numerous seminars where elected officials and municipal staff employees could learn new and proven techniques from each other. Seminars were instructed by experienced individuals who were able to assist participants with concerns and problems back home in their own municipalities.

I attended 6 seminars:

  • Municipal Official Orientation;
  • Municipal Ordinances & Resolutions;
  • Parliamentary Procedure & Effective Council Meetings;
  • Basics of City and Town Planning & Zoning;
  • Web-enabling; and,
  • Local Government Employment Issues.

All of the seminars were very informative; however, I feel that the seminar, Basics of City and Town Planning & Zoning, was the most important one I attended. This seminar emphasized the importance of a Town having a good up-to-date Comprehensive Plan, Planning and Zoning regulations, and experienced staff (full-time, part-time, or contractual) in place before a developer comes to town wishing to develop rural land.

When a developer comes to a town, he/she is motivated by profit, which is their job. It is the town's job to plan ahead and put regulations in place that will prevent a developer from cutting too many corners to increase his/her profit. When weak regulations are in place, or when the Comprehensive Plan is not consistent to zoning regulations, or if you have inexperienced staff, a developer may develop land in a matter not satisfactory to the town's desire.

Another great seminar was the Municipal Official Orientation. This was attended by elected officials who had less than 30 days experience and as much as 30 years experience. With so many experienced and inexperienced officials in the same room together, there certainly was a lot to learn and share with one another. In this seminar we were split in two groups to discuss scenarios related to council members' performance in meetings, conflicts of interest, resolving difficult issues, and abstaining from voting.

Overall, I think the convention was of great assistance to the Town of Emmitsburg as well as other municipalities in Maryland. I hope that I am able encourage more participation next year from Emmitsburg. The convention provides a wealth of knowledge that can be shared with both staff and elected officials. Next year I intend to recommend several staff members attend some of the seminars.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call the town office, or e-mail me at

Jim Hoover

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