County officials flock to Ocean City to snooze, schmooze

As they’ve done since the 1970s, hundreds of county officials flocked to the Ocean City Convention Center this past week to snooze and schmooze at the annual summer conference of the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo). Snooze is what most of their constituents would be doing at the scores of conference sessions on the nitty-gritty of local government, from planning and appeals to hiring and tourism. Attendance is actually quite good, and some sessions are packed.

Rockville town square

What is Montgomery Reporter?

Montgomery Reporter just published as complete a list as we could come up with of candidates in Montgomery County for local, state and federal office. What is Montgomery Reporter anyway? Montgomery Reporter is the edition of MarylandReporter.com devoted to news about Montgomery County government and politics.

Sen. Kagan considers race for Montgomery County executive

Sen. Cheryl Kagan is an unconventional politician, particularly when it comes to fundraising. No breakfast fundraisers or evening receptions for the Gaithersburg senator. Kagan goes more for ice cream socials and afternoon concerts with the kind of singer-songwriters she’s been promoting in house concerts for years, as she did Sunday afternoon at an art gallery in the new Crown section of Gaithersburg, part of District 17.

Pension system investments earned 10% in FY ’17, but long term returns still lag

The investment portfolio of the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System returned 10.02% for the fiscal year that ended June 30, raising the assets of the system to $49 billion, an increase of $3.6 billion over last year. That still leaves an unfunded liability of at least $20 billion. The exact amount of the shortfall if all promised benefits had to be paid out immediately has yet to be calculated this year.The year’s performance exceeded the system’s 7.55% target for annual return, and raised the five-year average to 7.64%.

Maryland lags behind some states on school spending

Maryland often prides itself on how good its schools are and how much it spends on them. But the Kirwan Commission studying the state’s school funding and how it spends the money was told on Wednesday that Maryland actually lags behind several states with better test scores — Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Hampshire. On the other hand, compared to countries with top-performing students, U.S. schools spend far more per pupil. The conclusion, according to commission’s lead consultant, is that “money matters but how it is spent matters greatly.” He made a number of key recommendations.

A compromise on illegal gun possession in Baltimore: Treat minimum sentences like an emergency public health measure

To try to control the rapid growth in gun violence and get guns of the street, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis are pushing a new city ordinance that would impose a one-year minimum sentence for carrying an illegal firearm in Baltimore. But a sunset provision could make the measure more palatable, writes Nate Loewentheil.

Photo Gallery: Hot and steamy under big tent at Tawes crab feast

The Ringling Brothers circus closed earlier this year, and it looked like lobbyist Bruce Bereano had bought one of their tents as the longtime Annapolis influencer hosted the biggest gathering at the annual J. Millard Tawes Clam Bake and Crab Feast in Crisfield Wednesday. Here’s a gallery of photos from the hot and steamy event.