County Executive Jan Gardner joined other leading county executives and Baltimore’s mayor in thanking Gov. Larry Hogan for his response to the coronavirus pandemic, but asked the governor to give them a greater role in discussions to reopen the state.
Gardner signed a letter late last month with Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young and six other county executives, which stated it would be better for them to be involved with Hogan’s “Roadmap to Recovery.”
“We are requesting to be a part of the discussion on reopening because it concerns all of us,” Gardner and other county leaders wrote. “It would be more productive if we all contribute to the discussion of rolling out the reopening of the State.”
“A systematic, planned approach would be much appreciated by our neighbors and maintain your four pillars for reopening — expanding testing capacity, robust contact tracing operation, increasing the supply of PPE, and increasing hospital capacity,” the letter continues.
Gardner said in an email Friday neither she nor any of the other leaders in the letter had advance notice about Hogan’s decision this week to reopen some state parks and recreational activities, like golfing, boating and camping, or that counties could individually decide whether to open their own parks.
One challenge, Gardner added, is that some municipalities, like Thurmont and Middletown, opened their playgrounds, while others, like the city of Frederick, did not.
“There was not time or opportunity for coordinated implementation. How we coordinate the implementation of upcoming decisions will be a topic for the next weekly call that I have with municipal mayors and burgesses,” Gardner wrote.
It also is important that local governments are consulted about which businesses are allowed to partially or fully reopen, given that local health departments and law enforcement are asked to enforce those measures.
“Since local governments play an important role in communicating the Governor’s directives and ensuring compliance, it is important for us to be consulted. As with many things, the devil is in the detail,” Gardner wrote.
“County government leaders will play an important role in the Roadmap to Recovery and we need to be consulted to make sure we are all on the same page, communicating the same information, and have lead time to plan for what needs to be done to ensure successful and smooth implementation,” she added.