Consulting and Technical Assistance Projects

Evaluation of Video-Conferencing Pilot Programs

In May 2009, Chief Judge Robert M. Bell of the Maryland Court of Appeals issued an order authorizing courts to conduct pilot programs in which certain judicial proceedings would be conducted via video-conferencing. Pilot programs were developed for video-conferencing of inmate grievance appeal hearings in Allegany, Anne Arundel, and Somerset Counties; ex parte hearings on temporary protective orders (TPOs) in Montgomery County; and consults with children covered by the Children in Need of Assistance (CINA) program in Baltimore City. The order authorizing video-conferencing pilot programs requires that the State Court Administrator evaluate each pilot. Evaluations of the three pilots were conducted by IGSR in collaboration with the Administrative Office of the Courts, Court Operations Department. Major benefits of the inmate grievance appeal hearing pilot are reduced risk of harm to court and correctional staff, attorneys for the Division of Correction, and the public because inmates are no longer brought to courthouses for grievance appeal hearings; reduced cost and time involved in transporting inmates; and reductions in attorneys' travel costs and time. The pilot program appears to be operating to the satisfaction of the participating organizations. The pilot program for ex parte TPO hearings also appears to be performing as intended and to the satisfaction of the participating organizations. The pilot has improved access to justice by providing greater convenience to petitioners that encourages their follow-through with attendance at hearings, but it has yet to demonstrate its full potential in terms of the numbers of petitioners served. The report on video conferencing of CINA consults is forthcoming.

Principal Investigator: Jeanne Bilanin
Co-Principal Investigator: Jonathan O'Reilly

Report: Planning and Implementation Analysis: Pilot Programs for Video Conferencing of Inmate Grievance Appeal Hearings

Parks and Grounds Operation Review for the City of Bowie

IGSR conducted an operational and performance review of the City of Bowie, Maryland's Parks and Grounds Division, which is not only responsible for maintaining Bowie's parks and the grounds of all City buildings, but also stormwater management maintenance. The study compared the Division's performance in eight responsibility areas to the following benchmark municipalities: Annapolis, Gaithersburg, Greenbelt, Laurel, and Rockville. The eight responsibility areas were: Ballfield Turf Maintenance; Non-Ballfield Turf Maintenance; Park System Activities; Horticulture; Forestry; Seasonal Activities; Equipment Maintenance; and Stormwater Management. Information on workload and performance was obtained from questionnaires, interviews, and analyses of City documents. To compare the Division to the other jurisdictions, city administrators were surveyed and interviewed. The findings and recommendations documented in the report are intended to assist city officials in their ongoing effort to improve public services, streamline processes, and reduce costs.

Principal Investigator: Robin Parker Cox
Co-Principal Investigators: Jonathan O'Reilly and Jeremy Turret

Report: Parks and Grounds Operational Review---City of Bowie, Maryland

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Strategic Planning for the City of Annapolis

IGSR is assisting the City of Annapolis in developing a strategic plan by organizing and facilitating meetings of the strategic planning team; helping the team articulate a vision for the city; assisting in identifying key stakeholders; conducting stakeholder focus groups and interviews designed to reveal different perspectives; compiling and presenting to the strategic planning team the information gained from the focus groups and interviews; and assisting the strategic planning team in identifying strategic issues and goals and objectives for managing these issues.

Project Director: Jeanne Bilanin

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Facilitation Assistance to Affordable Housing Coalition of Talbot County

IGSR assisted the Affordable Housing Coalition of Talbot County, Maryland, by providing meeting design and facilitation services. The Coalition had developed an initiative to revitalize a community in the center of Easton by offering incentives to owners to improve their properties. Prior to applying for a grant to fund the initiative, the Coalition sought to obtain input from the property owners on elements of the proposed project and a sense of whether they would be likely to participate. The Coalition wanted an impartial outside entity to design and facilitate a meeting to discuss the initiative with property owners and Town of Easton Officials, and IGSR fulfilled this role.

Project Director: Phil Favero

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American Community Management Educational Program Investigation

IGSR undertook a needs assessment for American Community Management, Inc. (ACM), which provides community management services to homeowner associations throughout Maryland. The project focused on the educational needs of both homeowner volunteers on the governing boards of common ownership communities served by the company and its professional staff of community managers. A literature review of educational programs for the target audience of volunteer homeowner board members and community managers was conducted, and ACM community managers and pertinent staff were interviewed. The study also included focus groups of current and former homeowner volunteers serving as board members in ACM communities. The findings and recommendations documented in the report are intended to assist ACM in its consideration of enhanced educational opportunities for homeowner volunteers and community managers.

Principal Investigator: Heather V. Fogg

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Strategic Plan for Eastern Shore Regional Library

IGSR assisted a Strategic Planning Committee with devloping a strategic plan for the Eastern Shore Regional Library (ESRL) system. The strategic plan developed spans the years of 2012 through 2015. IGSR conducted a series of focus groups and developed an online survey as part of its data collection process to assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) face by the library system. The collected data was parsed and consolidated into tables to assist the Strategic Planning Committee in meeting their goals.

Principal Investigator: Robin Parker Cox
Co-Principal Investigator: Heather V. Fogg

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Evaluation of Community Prosecution in Two State's Attorney's Offices

Through individual interviews and survey responses from State's Attorney's Office staff, local police departments and community organizations, IGSR researchers gathered data on the daily operations, goals, and collaborative relationships created by both community prosecurtion and traditional prosecution units, with special focus on cases of gun violence. The research found that problem-solving is highly regarded by both traditional and community prosecutors. However, the offices are only beginning to achieve a problem-solving focus. The project developed recommendations for further areas of development and future outcome evaluations of community prosecution.

Principal Investigator: Laura Wyckoff
Co-Principal Investigators: Heather V. Fogg and Megan McCloskey

Report: Evaluation of Community Prosecution in Two State's Attorney's Offices

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Implementing CompStat and Crime Analysis in Maryland Law Enforcement Agencies

The overarching purpose of this initiative is to expand the implementation and institutionalization of CompStat and crime analysis in police agencies across Maryland by providing training and tailored assistance as well as by making available best practices and products in these areas. The project team combines researchers and practitioners with knowledge and experience in implementing important components of CompStat and crime analysis, such as leadership, the problem solving process, crime analysis and mapping techniques, and accountability strategies. The project team has developed a multi-phased plan that delivers tailored assistance and training to police agencies at various levels of implementation. Two project websites, www.compstat.umd.edu and www.crimeanalysis.umd.edu, are maintained as part of the initiative to provide CompStat and crime analysis resources and information to Maryland police agencies and agencies around the world. The Maryland Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention is funding this project under grant number BJAG-2009-1306.

Project Director: Laura Wyckoff
Project Co-Directors: Jeanne Bilanin, and Rachel Boba Santos

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Estimating the Fiscal Impacts of New Developments and Annexations

In anticipation of growth pressures associated with Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) activities at Aberdeen Proving Ground, the City of Aberdeen sought to estimate the impacts of new development on the City’s infrastructure and services. Drawing on the approach of Burchell and Listokin and impact fee studies by Tischler and Associates, IGSR developed a model to estimate the impacts on capital and operating budgets and to establish development impact fees. Designed to handle commercial, residential, and mixed-use development, the model was applied to five proposed developments then under review by the City of Aberdeen.

Principal Investigator: Jeanne Bilanin

Report: Methodologies and Estimates of the Fiscal Impact of New Developments and Annexations on Municipal Governments

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Analysis of Potential Zoning Changes and the Impacts on Property Values in Carroll County

Facing growth pressures under its current zoning scheme that would include an additional 40,000 residents, Carroll County’s services and infrastructure would be severely strained by such an increase in population. Carroll County began exploring zoning changes that would ease the impacts of such growth and development. Working closely with the Planning Department, IGSR conducted a peer review of the Department of Planning’s analysis of the impact of development under several potential changes to current land use and zoning designations, then disclosed findings and offered suggestions on key issues. The investigation began with an analysis and review of a pre-decisional working draft and a critique of the fiscal impact analysis using various scenarios that involved changes in zoning within the jurisdiction. In an effort to explore the zoning changes that would decrease the level and impact of new development, IGSR also developed an estimate of the impact on property values associated with the potential zoning changes.

Principal Investigator: Jeanne Bilanin

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Fiscal Impact on the Town of North East of the Proposed Annexation of the Futty Property

The Town of North East in Cecil County proposed the annexation of a 210-acre property for the development of single-family homes with set-asides for stream buffers, storm water management areas, open space, and recreational facilities. IGSR conducted the fiscal impact study of annexing the property addressing three major concerns: (1) whether the revenue of the proposed annexation generated to the Town would be sufficient to offset additional operating costs to service the area; (2) the fiscal impacts incurred by the Town during the build-out period; and (3) estimating the additional capital costs faced by the Town to accommodate new residents to the area. The analysis used various fiscal impact and computation models as well as historical development information to generate estimates and support findings.

Principal Investigators: Jeanne Bilanin and Monika Thompson

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Strategic Planning Process Design and Facilitation for the Town of Bel Air

The Town of Bel Air enlisted IGSR to design and facilitate a strategic planning process to implement changes to their 2006-2011 Strategic Plan. A three-step process was designed that included pre-planning phases to the draft review and approval phase by the Town Board of Commissioners. Facilitation included conducting focus groups, goal setting, designing implementation strategies, developing a Strategic Plan Steering Committee, and the development of a draft plan for public review and approval.

Principal Investigators: Philip Favero and Nan Booth

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Department of Juvenile Services: Developing an Integrated Assessment System

This project deploys web- and network-based applications and solutions in conjunction with existing IGSR and state Department of Juvenile Services (DJS) technology to compile accurate statistics and reliable information on several aspects of the state juvenile program. IGSR’s role is to design, program, and implement software and technical solutions to capture, track and share data for screening and needs assessments, treatment planning, case management and other functional areas as a supplement to the existing ASSIST system.

Principal Investigator: Stephan Sherman

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Maryland Office of Problem-Solving Courts and SMART

IGSR is providing, operating, and maintaining software and hardware, as well as providing the training and technical support required for the implementation of the Statewide Maryland Automated Record Tracking system (SMART) as the case management automated tracking system for all drug courts in Maryland.

Principal Investigator: Stephan Sherman
Co-Principal Investigator: Kathleen Lester

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Statewide Maryland Automated Record Tracking System (SMART)

IGSR, with funding from the Maryland Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration (ADAA), is customizing, programming, enhancing, implementing, supporting, managing, and maintaining a Statewide Maryland Automated Record Tracking system (SMART) based upon the federal Web Infrastructure for Treatment Services (WITS) project. SMART programming includes additions and modifications to existing WITS screens, database structure, and functionality necessary to meet ADAA data and outcome tracking within Maryland. The WITS project is a federally developed software package that has modules that aid states receiving Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Federal Block Grant Funding in the collection and coordination of treatment episode data. The data are needed for ADAA reporting to the Health and Human Services/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which is the SAPT Block Grant funding source. The SMART software and system are designed to track data the state collects in the federal Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) format and allow ADAA to meet federal data submission requirements from the Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Principal Investigator: Stephan Sherman

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