Local Government Relations

When we say we offer
LOCAL government relations services,
what do we mean…?

Whether you call them counties, boroughs, parishes, or municipalities, there is almost always a local jurisdiction that helps to govern some part of everyday life. These local jurisdictions vary by state, county, and city all across the country. Just to make matters more confusing, each local government has a different way of governing. They have different names, different make-ups, different responsibilities, and different strategies for getting things done.

Compass Government Relations has just that – relations with those who make the decisions in local governments right here in the Mid-Atlantic. We understand the ins and outs of the local governments where it matters most to you and want to help you navigate the process.

In Maryland, three forms of government exist: county commissioners, code home rule, or charter.

County Commissioners: Under the county commissioners form of government, the General Assembly is authorized to legislate for a county. While a board of county commissioners exercises both executive and legislative functions defined by State law, and may enact ordinances, its legislative power is limited to those areas authorized by the General Assembly, enabling legislation, or public local laws.

Calvert, Carroll, Garrett, St. Mary’s, Somerset, and Washington.

Code Home Rule: Since 1915, counties have had the option of governing under code home rule, which enables them to exercise broad local legislative authority.

Allegany, Caroline, Charles, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Worcester.

Charter. The charter government separates the executive branch from the legislative branch. Most typically, it consists of a county executive and a county council.

Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Cecil, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Howard,

Montgomery, Prince George’s, Talbot, and Wicomico.

The state of Delaware is comprised of only three counties: New Castle, Kent and Sussex.

New Castle County

New Castle County relies on a County Executive and a County Council to manage local affairs. The County Council is the legislative body for New Castle County and is made up of 12 members elected from each of the 12 districts, and the council president who is elected at-large. The county council is responsible for passing laws that help with the health and welfare of residents including topics like the budget, planning and zoning, and public entities such as public libraries.

Kent County
Different from the other counties in Delaware, Kent County’s local government is called the Levy Court. Kent County Levy Court consists of six commissioners elected by the district and one who is elected at large. They largely deal with zoning and development issues.

Sussex County
Sussex County, Delaware is governed by a County Council and a County administrator. The County Council consists of five members elected from five geographic districts. Each member serves a 4-year term. The County Council is responsible for the budget, policies impacting residents’ health and safety and growth and development goals for the county. The County Administrator is appointed by the Council and oversees the budget and policy implementation on behalf of the Council. Unlike other DE local governments, the County Administrator oversees services such as public safety, planning and zoning, and tax collection.

DC local government functions like many local governments with Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches. However, their relationship with the federal government sets them apart from other local jurisdictions.

Executive- The Mayor
The current DC Mayor is Muriel Bowser. Elected for 4-year terms, the mayor is responsible for the daily administration of the district government. This includes overseeing government agencies such as the Metropolitan Police Department, public schools, the Health Department, and the Department of Planning and Economic Development. The Mayor can approve or veto laws passed by the Council and is ultimately responsible for executing those laws.

Legislative- The Council of the District of Columbia
The city of DC is split into 8 wards, or districts, divided up by population. The council is made up of 1 member from each ward, as well as 5 at-large members, including a chairman, that represent the entire district. Members serve four-year terms, with staggered elections taking place every two years. The Council is responsible for making laws on behalf of DC residents on a variety of topics including crime, education, parking, and the budget. In 2016, DC finally got control over its budget, separating it from the federal budget. Once the budget has passed the council, it is now submitted to Congress for a 30-day passive review, not requiring Congress to act for the budget to take effect.

National Representation
Taxation without representation! Famously, DC has no voting representation in the federal government. Due to their incorporated status, DC is only allowed to elect a non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton currently serves on the Committee on Oversight and Accountability and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.


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