HOWARD COUNTY, MARYLAND

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

ADMINISTRATION

ORIGIN & FUNCTIONS


DEPARTMENT OF COUNTY ADMINISTRATION

[photo, George Howard Building, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, Maryland] The Department of County Administration is responsible for eleven offices: Budget; Central Services; Community Sustainability; Human Resources; Human Rights; Intergovernmental Affairs; Public Information; Purchasing; Risk Management; Transportation; and Workforce Development.

George Howard Building, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, Maryland, October 2014. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


OFFICE OF BUDGET
Monitoring purchasing and personnel requests by County agencies, the Office of Budget advises the County Executive and County Council on matters of revenue and expenditures. The Office prepares the annual capital, general and operating budgets, as well as special management and financial reports for the County Executive or County Council (County Code, sec. 22.400A).

OFFICE OF CENTRAL SERVICES
For the County, the Office of Central Services manages interagency mail, copy and print services, and fleet operation for all County government vehicles. Responsible for providing storage of all County supplies and vehicles, the Office also supervises and maintains all County garages, and warehouses (County Code, sec. 6.403).

OFFICE OF COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY
Upon recommendation of the Howard County Commission on the Environment and Sustainability, the Office of Environmental Sustainability was authorized in 2007 by the County Executive. It was renamed the Office of Community Sustainability on July 1, 2015.

With the Environmental Sustainability Board, the Office of Community Sustainability reports annually to the County Executive and County Council on environmental programs and conditions. Programs initiated by the Office include lake conservation, storm-water runoff management, and public awareness of conservation and recycling programs. To increase health and ecological conservation, the Office works with County agencies to develop land use plans so that construction in communities, roads, and government buildings will cause minimal environmental impact (County Code, sec. 6.407).

OFFICE OF HUMAN RESOURCES
The Office of Human Resources originated as the Office of Personnel, and adopted its present name in 1997.

Responsible for setting County employee pay grades, the Office of Human Resources negotiates of behalf of the County with employee organizations over wages, hours, employee and retiree benefits, and working conditions. The Office also provides training programs, and prepares and distributes an employee manual, describing conduct guidelines and rules for appointments, promotions, demotions, and separations (County Code, secs. 1.100-1.612).

OFFICE OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Established in 1975, the Office of Human Rights enforces the County Human Rights Law, investigates complaints of discrimination, and serves as mediator to resolve complaints. Morover, the Office conducts studies and makes recommendations to the County Executive on policy. In addition, the Office serves as a liaison to other government agencies and the public on matters relating to the enforcement and advocacy of federal and State human rights laws (County Code, secs. 12.200 through 12.218).

OFFICE OF PUBLIC INFORMATION
As the primary contact for County government, the Office of Public Information coordinates departmental publications, press conferences, and supervises programming for the government access cable television channel. The Office maintains communication systems and standards for the County to best serve government transparency and public access. For the County Council, the Office creates press releases, updates the County website, and works with local media and community organizations to ensure community awareness of government activities (County Code, sec. 6.404).

OFFICE OF PURCHASING
The Office of Purchasing conducts all purchases, leases, and contracts for County government, and oversees the County warehouse. Uniform standards for property accounting and storage control are developed by the Office as is the County’s requisition and receipt system. Interagency equipment transfers and sales of County property, found and unclaimed personal property, and lawfully seized personal property are performed by the Office with approval of the County Executive (County Charter, Art. VIII, secs. 801-808; County Code, secs. 4.100-4.507).

OFFICE OF TRANSPORTATION
The Office of Transportation formerly was the Division of Transportation within the Department of Planning and Zoning before it transferred as the Office of Transportation under the Department of County Administration.

Coordinating the County's public transportation system, the Office of Transportation oversees County transit and paratransit services. Coordinating funds to acquire, manage, and operate public transportation, the Office works with federal, State, and local agencies to develop and promote alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles. It also coordinates access for bicycle, pedestrian and vehicle transportation. In addition, the Office advises the County Executive on transit and transportation issues (County Code, sec. 6.408).

OFFICE OF WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
Established under the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998, the Office of Workforce Development manages and develops plans to fully use human resources in Howard County in accordance with State, federal and local laws. In its duties, the Office manages the Columbia Workforce Center, one of Maryland’s One-Stop Career Centers. In cooperation with the State Workforce Development System, and local educational institutions, the Office provides contacts and training for businesses and job seekers within the County, as well as career counseling and training to residents (P.L. 105-220; County Code, sec. 6.406).


DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE

The administration of the financial affairs of the County is the responsibility of the Department of Finance. The Department collects State and County taxes, special assessments, the metropolitan district charges, fees, and other revenues and funds of every kind due to the County. It also enforces the collection of taxes; and holds, disburses, and invests all County funds and securities. In addition, the Department keeps and supervises all accounts; controls all expenditures on the basis of budgetary appropriations and allotments; prepares for bond sales; and advises on debt management (County Code, secs. 11.100, 11.101).

DEPARTMENT OF TECHNOLOGY & COMMUNICATION SERVICES

Established by the County Council in 1996, the Department of Technology and Communication Services is responsible for the County’s electronic infrastructure. The Department is the central communications provider for County government, and maintains all software and hardware used by County government, including computers, phones, and radios. It analyzes and develops options for expanding and updating government systems to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

Through the Office of Purchasing, all purchases of information services systems equipment are coordinated by the Department. Services include the County 911 system and the "real time" snow-plow tracking system. The Department also manages the automated mapping geographic information systems; enforces the County’s cable television laws, and provides for the County’s records management (County Code, secs. 27.100, 27.101).

OFFICE OF CABLE ADMINISTRATION
Cable television is regulated jointly by the County and the Federal Communication Commission (FCC).

The Office of Cable Administration oversees the performance of cable operators in the County, and investigates and negotiates resolution of cable-related complaints. The Office also oversees operation of the County's public access cable channel, Channel 98.

Heading the Office, the Cable Administrator advises the County Executive and County Council on cable matters and informs them of new developments in the cable industry, cable technology, and cable regulatory issues. The Cable Administrator also accepts applications and fees for new cable franchises and franchise renewals, transfers, and agreement modifications. For the right to access public rights of way to offer cable service, cable companies pay franchise fees to Howard County Government (County Code, secs. 14.400 through 14.433).

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