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The County Commissioners of Caroline County

Commission Meetings

Copies of the minutes of meetings of the Caroline County Commissioners are now available. Note that these are slightly amended for better display on the web. To obtain paper or emailed copies of minutes documents, please email the Office of the Commissioners.

Code of Public Local Laws

Caroline County Code of Public Laws is online at this site:
E-Code for County of Caroline, MD

Government Study Commissions

1981 Governmental Study Commission Report
(PDF: 1,921 KB)

1995 Government Study Commission Report
(PDF: 857 KB)

There are three County Commissioners, each of whom must be a resident of Caroline County. Each Commissioner is elected at large for a four-year term to represent the interests of the entire county.

Currently, the County Commissioners meet weekly on Tuesdays at the Caroline County Courthouse, 109 Market Street, Room 106, Denton Maryland; beginning at 9:00 AM with the following exceptions:
  • On the last Tuesday of each month the meeting is held in the evening beginning at 7:00 PM.
  • The Roads Board will meet as needed on the last Tuesday of the month during the regular Commissioners meeting.
  • No meetings are scheduled between Christmas and New Year's Day
  • There may be occasional advertised "On-the-Road" meetings around the county
To schedule an appointment to meet with the Commissioners, call the County Commissioners Office at 410-479-0660. Persons who do not have an appointment will be recognized at the end of the meeting if time allows and at the discretion of the President. The weekly agenda may be viewed here. AGENDAS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE UNTIL THE TIME OF CONVENING.

Meetings are held in open session (may be observed by the public) unless otherwise indicated. All or part of County Commissioners meetings can be held in closed session under the authority of the state open meetings law by vote of the Commissioners. Cancelled, rescheduled and emergency meeting notices will be posted on the front door of the Courthouse as soon as information is available.

Two Commissioners constitute a quorum and may conduct county business. Business presented is disposed of by one of the following actions:
  • County Law - In 1984, the citizens of Caroline County voted to establish Caroline as a Code Home Rule County. Home rule allows Caroline to exercise the power of self-government over purely local matters. The Maryland General Assembly retains the ultimate authority regarding maximum limits on property tax rates and the amount of indebtedness incurred by the county. Despite home rule, laws in certain areas, such as education, health, alcoholic beverages, and judicial proceedings, and those establishing new types of taxes or fees, must by passed by the State.
  • Ordinance - An ordinance or amendment to an ordinance is a legislative act and requires advertisement and a public hearing. An ordinance is binding and permanent, and can be changed only by a subsequent ordinance.
  • Resolution - Generally expresses the policy of the Commissioners or directs certain types of administrative action, and can be changed by a subsequent resolution.
  • Motion - Indicates majority approval of a procedural action, such as authorization of expenditures or acceptance of recommendations. Also used to authorize administrative officials to take certain actions. Most frequent form of action taken.
  • Referral - When the Commissioners are not ready to take definite action, the matter may be referred to the County Administrator, County Attorney, or other administrative official for further investigation and report.
  • State Law - The Commissioners can request Caroline's representatives in the Maryland General Assembly to sponsor legislation in areas where the County has no law-making authority.
The County Commissioners' duties and responsibilities are:
  • Enact county laws and establish county policies
  • Submit proposed changes of state law to the Maryland General Assembly
  • Determine what taxes shall be levied and in what amount
  • Determine how much money shall be spent and for what purpose
  • Approve contracts and agreements
  • Promote the welfare of Caroline County

Administration and Support Office

County Administrator - Ken Decker

The position of County Administrator is an executive position with Caroline County government and is appointed by the County Commissioners. The Administrator serves at the pleasure of the Commissioners and receives direction from them and conducts the day-to-day business of the County.

The following are some of the powers and duties of the County Administrator:
  • Is the chief administrative, finance, and budget officer of the County
  • Supervises and coordinates the administration of the functions of the several departments and administrative agencies of the County and carries on the general policies, orders and instructions of the commissioners in the administration of the public local and other laws applying to the County
  • Recommends to the Commissioners persons for appointment to the several offices and positions in the County government
  • Examines the books and records of each department and agency of the County government regularly and reports to the Commissioners the condition. The Commissioners shall make provision for an annual audit of the books and accounts by the appointment of an independent auditor
  • Prepares and makes public a comprehensive annual report to the commissioners of the operations of the County government
  • Acts as a liaison officer in meetings of the several boards and agencies
  • Supervises the financial administration of each office, department, board, commission, institution or other agency, to study and investigate the organization and management and the bookkeeping and accounting procedures of these agencies and directs them to adopt and follow such methods as deemed advisable
  • Establishes and maintains current accounts of all appropriations, revenues and disbursements made by the Commissioners; Keeps the Commissioners advised of the financial condition of the County and makes recommendations as advisable; Controls and supervises all County expenditures on the basis of authorized budget allotments
  • Examines and approves bills, demands or charges and determines their regularity, legality and correctness, and supervises and manages the purchase of materials, goods and services for the County
  • Has oversight authority on personnel issues

Chief of Staff - Sara Visintainer

This is a responsible administrative and records management position providing direct staff support to the County Commissioners. The appointee serves at the pleasure of the County Commissioners, works cooperatively with the County Administrator, and is responsible for the proper development, recording and codification of the legislative actions of the County Commissioners.

With input from the County Commissioners and County Administrator, the Executive Assistant to the County Commissioners is responsible for developing the County Commissioners' weekly agenda, and publishes same; gathers and researches necessary data in preparation for meeting; participates in meetings by sharing information and making recommendations where appropriate; and advises on the applicability of open meeting laws. They are also responsible for supervising the taking and transcribing of minutes of all official meetings of the Commissioners. They are site planner/coordinator for Commissioner meetings held outside the Courthouse.

With direction from the County Commissioners, the Executive Assistant to the County Commissioners also drafts resolutions, ordinances, and legislative bills, and ensures proper advertising as mandated. Technical assistance is sought from the County Administrator, County Attorney and department heads for the preparation of drafts.

As custodian of the Code of Public Laws of Caroline County, the Executive Assistant to the County Commissioners ensures proper distribution, maintenance, annual supplements and recodification when necessary.

The Executive Assistant to the County Commissioners drafts letters to government officials and the public setting forth the Commissioners' views, requests and recommendations. They distribute and process correspondence and requests received by the Commissioners. They provide information to the public and other government; receives, resolves or refers problems and complaints.

The Executive Assistant to the County Commissioners assists with drafting and design of materials that portray County government to the public, such as budget messages, news releases, and newsletters. They foster cooperative relationship between the Commissioners office and news media representatives.

With direction from the Commissioners, they draft state legislative bill requests, and coordinates communication with state legislators.

They coordinate for the County State legislative bill fiscal note responses through the Maryland Department of Legislative Services.

They receive and review a variety of state program agreement renewals and proposals, and make recommendations to the County Commissioners.

They assist the County Administrator and bond counsel on bond issuances.

They prepare and submit annual budget hearing ads in accordance with law.

As the custodian of County Commissioners Office records, they establish record retention and disposition schedules in accordance with State guidelines.

They administer the manufacturers tax credit program.

They coordinate appointments for the County Commissioners. They maintain a list of Commissioner-appointed boards by function and membership; inform the Commissioners of term expirations and processes new appointments. They assist with procurement of nominees through news media releases and other venues. They are assistant to the Caroline County Ethics Commission, and to ad hoc commissions as may be appointed.

They maintain records for Caroline County public drainage associations. They work with Soil Conservation and the Commissioners regarding procedures prescribed under Maryland Drainage Law.

They perform other duties as assigned.

Government Departments

Caroline County's Board of Education oversees all public schools and related facilities, personnel and programs throughout the county.

The Department of Corrections provides public safety through the detention and confinement of pre-trial detainees and adjudicated offenders in a safe and secure institution.

The Department of Emergency Management has several roles, including provision of emergency planning and coordination for various entities within the county government.

The Department of Emergency Medical Services is the County's emergency paramedic service.

The Office of Finance accurately records all County resources and assets of Caroline County government.

The Caroline County Public Library System provides books and audiovisual materials plus many other programs and services for the children, youth and adults of the county.

The Department of Planning and Codes Administration identifies and plans for the appropriate scale, type and location for the county's future residential growth, public facilities and economic development while working to preserve out important agricultural industry and natural resources.

The Department of Public Works is responsible for the County's roads, its physical plant and facilities, and purchase and maintenance of County vehicles, as well as a variety of other programs.

Department of Recreation & Parks provides quality park and recreation services responsive to the needs of the citizens of Caroline County.

Caroline County Sheriff's Department is charged with safeguarding the lives of all persons within the county, protecting property and assisting in securing to all persons equal protection of the law.

Caroline County's Office of Tourism is delegated to a nonprofit organization, the Caroline Economic Development Corporation. Its mission is to increase business and employment opportunity in the county through business retention and expansion, and the attraction of new industry to diversify the local economy.

The Office of the Tax Office is responsible and accountable for all funds collected, invested and disbursed by the County.

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Office of the County Commissioners of Caroline County

Jefferson L. Ghrist, President
Larry C. Porter, Vice President
Wilbur Levengood, Jr., Commissioner

Please address your general comments and questions about government to:

Courthouse, 109 Market Street
Room 123
Denton Maryland 21629
Phone: (410) 479-0660
Fax: (410) 479-4060

Copyright © 1999-2014, Caroline County Maryland, All Rights Reserved