Best Practices 2017 Best Legislative Outreach Program: Montgomery County DLC

Marketing executives use it as a key tool for their success. Financial consultants use it to obtain new clients and often make it a key part of their overall business strategies. Meeting and event planners see it as a necessary effort to expand their business. What is it? It’s outreach programming, and for the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control in Maryland, their outreach program has earned them accolades aplenty.

According to Emily DeTitta, licensing and outreach manager with the Montgomery County DLC, the agency hosted a Maryland Alcohol Beverage Forum in August 2016 in response to a need to educate the community on the benefits of the federal three tier system and the importance of alcohol regulation.

“We have held previous forums that brought together county licensing and regulatory agencies from around the state,” DeTitta says. “This past year, with privatization being such a publicized topic, it became clear that we needed to do our part to involve both local and state politicians. The forum gave us a chance to show off the great things we’re doing in an inclusive way and talk about the control model benefits that were, at the time, our jurisdiction’s best kept secret.”

The daylong event, funded by the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA), brought together alcohol license administrators, alcohol enforcement and local and state legislators to network and discuss trends, legislative priorities and best practices.

“The forum was titled, ‘Innovative Solutions to Keeping Communities Safe,’” DeTitta says. “Delegate Charles Barkley gave a welcome to the attendees, followed by discussions including a historical snapshot on alcohol regulation from Craig Purser, President & CEO of the National Beer Wholesalers Association.”

In addition, Kevin Atticks, CEO of Grow and Fortify (also the executive director of the MD Wineries Association, Brewers Association of MD and the MD Distillers Guild), and Jeff Kelly of the Maryland Comptroller’s Office spoke on Maryland’s local manufacturers. Andy Lantner, of the MD Comptroller’s Office, gave an overview of the new Maryland Alcohol Code Reorganization. Lou Berman, of the Comptroller’s Office, spoke on Trade Practices in Today’s World; Elyse Grossman, Johns Hopkins, Bloomberg School of Public Health, spoke on Under 21 Drinking Trends; and Margret Baker, Keeping it Safe Coalition, spoke on Under 21 Prevention Efforts.

“Participants were educated on who we are, what we do and why we do it,” DeTitta says. “It was a very positive shift. I believe the event also revealed that we have many common goals, such as the health and welfare of our residents and a safe and vibrant nightlife. Backing for county programs is made possible by the funding the Department of Liquor Control deposits into the general fund each year.”

The Montgomery County DLC is gearing up to run another outreach program in October 2017.

“We’ve learned the benefit of being inclusive,” DeTitta says. “We plan on bringing together alcohol license administrators, alcohol enforcement and local and state legislators to network and discuss legislative priorities, trends and best practices. Hosting legislative outreach programs helps drive change.”

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