ANNAPOLIS -- Two Polish officials are spending five weeks in Annapolis learning about how to run a government under a new system for them: democracy.

The two are faculty members at the University of Lodz and are delegates from the Lodz Regional Training Center, one of 14 centers set up by the Foundation in Support for Local Democracy in Poland.

They're participating in an internship program that includes meetings with state and local government officials.

"Our foundation is thinking of the future," said Beata Banachowicz, 24, an economist who teaches at the training center.

"We are concerned about the environment, preparing the staffs {to work together} and setting up budget policy," said Teresa Romanowska, 49, a lawyer and head of the center.

A city of more than 875,000, Lodz sits in the heavily polluted industrial heartland of Poland.

Maryland's participation in the training grew out of Gov. William Donald Schaefer's trade mission to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in May.

"We've told them how our income, sales, alcohol and local property tax assessments are run," said John A. Clinton, director of personnel and training in the state comptroller's office.

"There are some similarities in what they have and what we have. They have a value added tax in Poland. We have a sales tax here."

"The democracy project is designed to teach the limits of power and how local government works. The main idea {for being here} is to get a knowledge of the process, to see the development of small businesses and to learn the environment to set this up," Banachowicz said.

"We can't transplant it exactly to Poland, but we can take a way of thinking, a way of running things," she said. "Theory is one thing. Practice is important."

The delegates have met with officials of banks and brokerage firms to see how external financing of government works.

They also have learned how state and local budgets are prepared. The way funds are controlled and spent will be studied this week, the last in the internship program.

"When we get home, our knowledge will be used in training local governments . . . . They need to know how to do these things," Banachowicz said.