In the May edition of Planning Practice Wednesday, we introduced readers to the Department of Commerce’s new Regional Resources Workgroup. Since that time, the Commerce Subcabinet established five regional teams (Eastern Shore, Baltimore Area, Western Maryland, Southern Maryland, DC Metro Area) composed of state staff from agencies including the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), Maryland Higher Education Council (MHEC), Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Department of Labor, and others. Each team has a regional leader who organizes bi-monthly conference calls to discuss regional issues and propose methods through which state agencies serving on the Commerce Subcabinet can assist local economic development projects and help jurisdictions overcome barriers.
The workgroup presented to the subcabinet at the MACo summer conference on August 15 and established priorities for each region. In preparation for the next subcabinet meeting on October 18, regional teams are developing draft priority action plans for agency leadership to consider, including short- and long-term remedies and interagency collaborative strategies that will help break down the silos of state government.
The state development plan A Better Maryland advocates for a regional approach to planning in Maryland and for better interagency coordination. As the Regional Resources Workgroup continues to grow, relationships and communication between state staff with regional responsibilities will strengthen and the distinct needs and characteristics of our regions will crystalize. The Commerce Subcabinet encourages local planners and officials to visit the Regional Resources Workgroup page and connect with the leaders and team members listed for your region.