Analysis: Federal audit questions state spending on several programs

An outside audit of how the state of Maryland spent almost $13 billion it got from the U.S. government found significant problems in some of the programs the state runs with federal dollars. The latest audit report, performed by SB & Company LLC of Cockeysville,  covers $12.8 billion spent by the state during fiscal 2012 that originated from federal coffers. (Md Reporter)

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County sends ethics ordinance to state

Despite concerns that the state is requiring people running for office to disclose too much information, the Carroll County Board of Commissioners sent a draft of the county’s ethics ordinance to the state Thursday. The State Ethics Commission offered counties templates to implement the changes but Carroll has been hesitant to approve stricter requirements on people running for office. (Carr. Co. Times)

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July 25 // Four Seasons decision delayed

After a marathon hearing on a proposed 1,079-unit housing development on Kent Island, the state Board of Public Works decided Wednesday to delay a decision for at least a month while Queen Anne's County officials seek assurances that the company will keep its commitments. (Balt. Sun)

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Gansler pushes for stronger transparency

Maryland Attorney General and gubernatorial hopeful Douglas F. Gansler on Wednesday proposed the state strengthen public transparency laws and make it easier for taxpayers to hold the government accountable. He suggested creating a "Public Information Inspector General" whose sole job would be ensuring the public has quick and effective access to government data and records, one of six ideas Gansler announced during an Annapolis campaign event. (Balt. Sun)

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City to pay consultant $420,000 to monitor money-saving efforts

Baltimore's spending panel on Wednesday approved a payment of $424,000 to a financial consultant to monitor the city's money-saving efforts. The action by the Board of Estimates would bring the total payments to Public Financial Management Inc., a Philadelphia-based firm, to more than $1 million. The consultant was hired to help design the city's 10-year financial plan that includes a new trash collection fee, a smaller city workforce and cuts to employee benefits as a way to deal with a projected $750 million, 10-year budget shortfall. (Balt. Sun)

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Harris to replace Broccolina as state court administrator

Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera has made the first major hire of her two-week tenure, naming Pamela Q. Harris to be state court administrator — her chief assistant in implementing court policies, crafting the judiciary’s annual budget and dealing with the executive and legislative branches. Harris will replace Frank V. Broccolina on Aug. 5 as head of the Administrative Office of the Courts. (Daily Record)

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Howard wins five national awards for service to residents

Howard County won five awards from the National Association of Counties this week for innovative programs and services it offers to residents. The county took home a "Best in Class" award in the Community/Economic Development category for the "Pitch Across Maryland" program, which last year sent a tour bus around the state to aid employers looking to improve pitches for new businesses. (Balt. Sun)

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Mikulski backs federal review of Bay Bridge safety

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski used a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday to join in calling for a federal review of safety procedures on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The Maryland Democrat said she was prompted to request a National Transportation Safety Board investigation after an accident Friday that caused a vehicle and its driver to plunge into the water. (Balt. Sun)

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