Help MDU ensure the future of OPD is not decided in secret!

OPD workers! Join us tomorrow, January 19, at 5pm to observe a meeting of OPD's Board of Trustees, the body that will select the next Public Defender. This decision is of huge importance to every OPD worker and every one of our clients, but few people even know the Board exists. MDU is bringing some much-needed transparency to this selection process by sitting in on tomorrow's meeting, and we want to see you there too! Join with this Zoom link or by dialing (301) 715-8592 with meeting ID 826 2869 4720 and passcode 904336.
The OPD Board of Trustees is made up of thirteen private lawyers nominated by the Governor, the Speaker of the Maryland House, and the President of the Maryland Senate. They give advice on OPD operations and, every six years, select the Public Defender. But even though they'll be making this momentous decision about the future of OPD, the vast majority of Board members have no prior experience working at a public defense agency
That's why the MDU sent a letter to the Board of Trustees (also attached to this email) in which we drew on our experience as OPD attorneys, core staffers, and social workers to identify four principles they must prioritize in the selection process: diversity, commitment, transparency, and solidarity. And that's also why we published an op-ed in Maryland Matters talking about the importance of those four principles and, more broadly, the importance of OPD workers having a say in this decision about the future of our agency.
The Board of Trustees is subject to the Maryland Open Meetings Act, which means that it must publish its meeting times, locations, and agendas in advance, so that members of the public can observe those meetings. But the Board has not always been careful to abide by those requirements, so MDU explicitly requested the Zoom link and agenda for their January meeting. They still haven't sent an agenda, so we don't know what they'll be discussing, but we do know that we'll be there. The Board of Trustees must know how important this decision is to OPD workers and must take our valuable perspective and experience into account!
We'll see you tomorrow at 5pm! As always, if you have questions or want to get more involved, email [email protected].