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A county commissioners' meeting is the process of adopting and amending laws, developing policies and making decisions for governing your county by citizens you have elected.

The Commissioners meet weekly on Tuesdays in the County Commissioners' Hearing Room, First Floor, East Wing, Courthouse, Market Street, Denton.

The Commissioners convene as the County Roads Board at 9 am., and as the County Commissioners at 9:30 am. You are welcome to attend any of these meetings. Sometimes portions of the meetings are conducted privately in closed session. A sign on the door tells you whether or not you may enter the Hearing Room.


There are three County Commissioners, each of whom must be a resident of Caroline County. Each is elected at large for a four-year term to represent the interests of the entire county. The Commissioners decide who among them shall serve as officers of the various boards they constitute.

In general, the Commissioners' duties and responsibilities are to:

  1. Enact county laws and establish county policies
  2. Submit proposed changes of state law to the Maryland General Assembly
  3. Determine what taxes shall be levied and in what amount
  4. Determine how much money shall be spent and for what purpose
  5. Approve contracts and agreements
  6. Promote the welfare of Caroline County


The Commissioners follow a regular order of business for the conduct of their meetings. An agenda is prepared in advance and items on it have usually been researched by the County Administrator or other administrative officials to ensure that the Commisioners have current information on the subject. If you wish to be included on the agenda or have questions concerning agenda items, contact the Clerk to the Commissioners no later than the Friday prior to the meeting.


Two Commissioners constitute a quorum and may conduct County business. Business presented to the Commissioners is disposed of by one of the following actions:

  1. County Law - In 1984, the citizens of Caroline County voted to establish Caroline as a Code Home Rule county, Maryland's fourth. 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 the certain areas, such as education, health, alcoholic beverages, and judicial proceedings, and those establishing new types of taxes or fees, must be passed by the State. The County Commissioners have designated the second and third Tuesdays of each month as legislative days for the purpose of introducing and enacting new laws and amending or repealing existing laws. The Commissioners are required to publish the local newspaper a fair summary of each legislative bill, as the proposed laws are called, once before the required public hearing and three times after passage of the law. Any legislative action taken by the Commisioners is subject to referendum by the voters. In order for the referendum to take place, a petition carrying the signatures of at least ten percent of the registered voters of the county must be filed within a certain date after passage of the law. If the petition is filed, the law will not go into effect until approved by a majority of voters at the next general election. If no petition is filed. The law becomes effective 45 days after passage.
    In the event of a bona fide emergency, the Commissioners may hold an emergency legislative day to introduce needed bills. The emergency day must be advertised beforehand, and a public hearing held following introduction of bills. Emergency bills take effect on the date of the passage.
  2. Ordinance - An ordinance or amendment to an ordinance is a legislative act and requires advertisement and a public hearing. An ordinanceis binding and permanent, and can be changed only by a subsequent ordinance. Ordinances may be passed using the procedure described for legislative bills under County Law.
  3. Resolution - Generally expresses the policy of the Commissioners or directs certain types of administrative action, nd can be changed by a subsequent resolution.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 President or Chairman of the board before which you have requested appointment will call on you when it is your turn to speak. Make your comments from the podium at the front of the room, speaking slowly, clearly , and concisely. Precede your comments with your name address, and speak only on the subject under discussion.

Persons without an appointment will recognized as time allows. Comments in writing are welcomed, and should be given to the Clerk after your presentation.

Any person making personal, impertinent or slanderous remarks, or whose speech or actions become disruptive, may be requested to leave the meeting.

Interested parties may address the Commissioners in writing at any time in regard to any matter pertaining to County business.


If you wish to make a suggestion or complaint, first contact the head of the department which handles the service or work concerned. If you are then not satisfied with the way the matter has been handled, contact the County Administrator or make an appointment to see the Commissioners.

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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