There is nowhere in Maryland more isolated and cut off from the rest of the state than Garrett County, considered a part of the Pittsburgh census area. Adding to the county’s isolation is a political reality: Garrett is overwhelmingly Republican. Democrats are outnumbered 2-1. The mountain politics practiced there are decidedly conservative and at odds with the ruling liberal Democratic majority in the megalopolis far to the east.
The thousands of seats at Towson University’s basketball arena were not occupied by screaming fans Thursday evening, but by roughly 40 Baltimore locals, business owners and a smattering of students, the audience for a forum with the three Democratic gubernatorial candidates.
Many minimum wage workers will be getting a raise now that a hike to Maryland’s wage has been signed into law. But while advocates are ascribing the increase as a win, there’s a bitter aftertaste for one group that was left behind.
At the Johns Hopkins University campus Thursday evening, the GOP gubernatorial candidates were posed questions: Could you work with the other side of the aisle? How do you persuade Democrats to join your line of thinking, and the Republican party?
More pertinently: Can you win?
In the second installment examining Maryland’s disastrous health care exchange site launch, longtime auditor Charlie Hayward takes a walk through the status of audits and legal maneuvering to assign blame and recoup money. Auditors and lawyers will begin structured, even forensic work, to determine what went wrong and why Maryland’s exchange fared so much worse than those in other states. Hayward looks at the surprising scope and nature of damages of the failure and explains why both the state and its contractor Noridian bear responsibility. He predicts resolution could be complex, costly, and time consuming.
In a two-part series Thursday and Friday, retired auditor Charles Hayward (full bio below) delves into the problems that led to a disastrous launch of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange in fall 2013. Among the chief failings of state leadership: not addressing serious red flags when there may have been enough time to fix the root causes; not appreciating the monumental tasks assigned to limited resources; and (3) not selecting one IT expert to take leadership on the website’s development.
Some people don’t like how much Maryland spends or how it spends it, but an outside group says the state is getting a little better at reporting on where taxpayer dollars go.
At the same time, a bill passed unanimously and signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley Tuesday is designed to make more of Maryland’s government data more available and searchable to everyone through creation of a new Council on Open Data.