History of MACo

Complete History

A complete history of the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) was published in January 2003. You may view the individual chapters on our website.

Name Changes

MACo, Inc. is a direct descendant of the State Association of County Commissioners of Maryland formed in 1951. Prior to then, there were only informal gatherings of the Maryland county officials, and at one time, there were two separate associations of county officials from the Eastern and Western shores of the Chesapeake Bay. The history of these two groups dates back to 1939. In 1969, Baltimore City became a member, making the Association representative of the 24 political subdivisions of the state.

The association has undergone three name changes since 1951. In 1962, its name was changed to the Maryland County Commissioners Association, and six years later, to the MACo. In 1971, it was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation.

Financial Responsibility

The State Association of County Commissioners did not employ a staff until 1960 when it entered into an arrangement with the University of Maryland, which provided that the university would supply the association with a part-time executive secretary and staff and both parties would share in the salaries and expenses incurred for maintaining an office on the College Park Campus. The executive secretary, in addition to his/her normal duties, would also be required to teach one course each semester and participate in the usual academic activities.

In 1969, the County Commissioners Association decided to place more emphasis on its representative role and assumed full financial responsibility for the staff. Today, each county's contribution for salaries and other expenses is based upon a flat, uniform fee and comparative population. In 1966, the association's office was moved to Annapolis, the state capital. For seven years, it was located across from the State House at 5 State Circle.

Location & Staff

In December 1972, the association purchased a historic structure at 169 Conduit Street, several blocks from the State House, and in October 1973, after remodeling and refurbishing, it became the association's permanent headquarters. With this change in emphasis and the increasing demands placed upon it by a virtually year-round legislature, the association added an assistant executive director and maintained a full-time staff of five. In 1986, the staff was increased to six with the addition of a research staff member.

With regard to the association's evolving needs, assignments of the professional staff have changed over the years to reflect areas of specialization. The MACo staff now includes ten members.