ROCKVILLE – The mayor and city council, along with senior city staff, participated in the Maryland Municipal League conference in Ocean City June 8-June 11.
The MML is held yearly in Ocean City. Previous Rockville mayors and other elected officials have attended on behalf of the city. The June 9 Rockville Mayor and Council meeting was cancelled because the majority of council and city staff attended the conference.
MML spokesman Steve Feinmon estimates more than 1,000 people from 157 municipalities attended the conference.
The three-day conference includes networking events, an award ceremony and a gubernatorial debate with candidates from both parties. Delegate Heather Mizeur (D-20) is the only candidate who did not attend the forum. Senate President Mike Miller (D-27) was honored with the Distinguished Legislator Award and Baltimore Orioles hall of famer Cal Ripken delivered the keynote address speech. The city of Greenbelt and the city of Mount Rainier, both in Prince George’s County, were honored by the MML with achievement awards for citizen engagement.
“It’s a chance for municipal leaders from different parts of the state to network and learn from each other and learn about the best practices from each other and how others have handled similar challenges in their communities. It’s a real community for them where they understand each other because they have the same issues just different places,” Feinmon said.
The Montgomery County chapter of the MML voted to elect Rockville Mayor Bridget Newton to her fourth term as president. The county chapter held a networking luncheon attended by Attorney General Doug Gansler and Montgomery County Board of Education candidates.
“I am very humbled by the trust and the opportunity from my peers. It’s a great opportunity for me and the chapter,” Newton said.
Newton said she previously attended the conference but this is the first time her colleagues were invited to attend. The Rockville council and mayor are staying at the Lighthouse Hotel in Ocean City and Rockville city staff are staying at other hotels.
Other Rockville attendees include six staff members and four government officials.
Councilmember Tom Moore did not attend the conference because of personal obligations.
Councilmember Julie Palakovich Carr returned to Rockville on Tuesday and the rest of the council left on Wednesday, according to Newton.
Takoma Park City Councilmember Kate Stewart (Ward-3) was elected to the council in a special election held on April 8 after long-term councilmember Kay Daniels Cohen passed away from breast cancer. Stewart attended the conference with several Takoma Park council and staff members. Stewart said she learned smart growth initiative and environmental sustainability at the conference. She returned home on June 10.
“I’m newly elected and I thought it would be helpful to get up to speed on some issues and to meet other elected officials in the state of Maryland. Even though each town of city is unique and has its own personality, we’re all dealing with the same issues with limited resources and capacity and there is no reason to reinvent the wheel every time. There are a lot of lessons learned we can share with each other and I think it’s really important we do that,” Stewart said.
Those who attended on behalf of Rockville are: Linda Moran, assistant to the city manager; Barb Matthews, city manager; Jenny Kimball, deputy city manager; Marylou Berg, communications manager; Louise Atkins, council support specialist; and Janet Kelly, human rights mediation coordinator. Mayor Bridget Newton and councilmembers Beryl Feinberg, Virginia Onley, and Julie Palakovich Carr also attended the conference.
Representatives from Gaithersburg also attended the three-day conference. Those in attendance include Council Vice President Henry F. Marraffa, Jr., councilmember Cathy Drzyzgula, councilmember Michael Sesma, MML Montgomery County Chapter Vice President and councilmember Ryan Spiegel, City Manager Tony Tomasello, Assistant City Manager Dennis Enslinger, City Attorney Lynn Board and Legislative Affairs Manager Monica Sanchez.
Takoma Park representatives include Mayor Bruce Williams, Ward 2 councilmember Tim Male, Ward 3 councilmember Kate Stewart, and Ward 5 councilmember Jarrett Smith. City employees in attendance include city manager Brian Kenner, deputy city manager Suzanne Ludlow, city clerk Jessie Carpenter, assistant city clerk Irma Andia, and city attorney Sue Silber. Takoma Park spokesman Craig Terrill said Carpenter and Andia only attended on June 10 for the Clerk’s meeting.
Representatives from Kensington and the Town of Chevy Chase also attended the conference.