Two County Council members will travel to Minneapolis this month to attend the annual National Association of Counties convention.
Council Chairman David Boschert and Councilwoman Maureen Lamb will attend a series of sessions on county government that will run July 7-13. No one from County Executive Robert R. Neall's office will attend.
Boschert said he hopes to meet with Washington state officials and bring back useful information on how officials there have dealt with mass transit and environmental problems.
Seattle, the state's largest city, has one of the best mass transit systems in the country, he said, and the region consistently ranks high in national surveys ranking metropolitan areas on their quality of life.
Amtrak and MARC commuter rail systems run through Boschert's Odenton-based district. The district also is home to the Millersville landfill, which has become one of the worst environmental problems in the county's history, and the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, part of which is being eyed as a possible park site.
Boschert said he asked other council members in an April memo whether they objected to his making the trip, and no one did.
He said he will take his wife at his own expense.
Council records show the tab for the trip, without meals, will be about $1,700 to county taxpayers. That includes a $225 convention registration fee for each participant, $72 per night hotel tab for five nights and $293 for each round-trip air fare, said Judy Holmes, council administrator. Costs for meals are calculated when council members return.
Lamb, who will go without her husband, said she is a member of NACo's subcommittee on Education, Children and Families. In that role, she helped put together a workshop to include a speech by David Bennett of Education Alternatives Inc., the Minnesota-based group that is taking over operation of part of the Baltimore public school system.
Lamb, who served nine years on the county school board, said she also will be involved in issues that focus on children. She will moderate a panel discussion on interaction between school boards and other county agencies that deal with children's needs.
She said the panel will study ways to address the needs of children holistically, by having better working relationships between county health department officials, social service administrators and school boards.