The Maryland Association of Counties is located in the historic district of Annapolis at 169 Conduit Street, just a few blocks from the State Capitol. The Executive Director and six staff members manage the day to day operations of the organization. MACo is governed by a 15-member Board of Directors and Executive Committee.
The Maryland Association of Counties, 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 date 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 Maryland Association of Counties. In 1971, it was incorporated as a non-profit corporation.
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 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. 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 were changed in 1998 to reflect areas of specialization. Staff now includes eight members including the Executive Director, Legislative Director, Associate Director, Communications and Meetings Director, Office Financial Manager, two Administrative Specialists and a part-time Research Specialist.