Statement from Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich on County Employee Vaccine Mandates

Earlier today Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich released a statement on a vaccine mandate for county employees.

The statement can be seen below:

Let me be clear – every person in Montgomery County and every employee of the Montgomery County government who can be vaccinated should be vaccinated. It is the right health-care decision for you, your family, friends, co-workers, and community.

Currently, 78 percent of our County workforce is vaccinated and 16 percent have yet to report their vaccination status. https://montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/data/case-counts.html#mcg-vaccinations. To put this vaccination rate in perspective, if our County workforce was a state, it would be in the top 10 in vaccination rates. But we can and should do better, which is why we are working with the remaining employees and their union representatives to get every employee vaccinated and to register their vaccination status with the County. We are also looking at anomalies in the reporting data, which may also explain some of the lack of reporting. We are fortunate in Montgomery County to have union leaders who also agree that vaccinations are critical to the health and safety of our workforce and the public. Just last month, the County Council supported my effort to create a mandatory testing requirement for all unvaccinated employees – a constructive and collaborative approach embraced by our unions.

Unfortunately, several County Council members now want to rip up this plan and upend the collaborative approach we have developed with our employees. The recently proposed legislation to mandate vaccinations or be terminated is unneeded. This brinkmanship legislation is not smart policy. It will lead to staffing shortages, diminished public safety, additional financial costs to our taxpayers, and time-consuming legal entanglements – all outcomes I have successfully worked with our employees to avoid since the beginning of the pandemic.

Additionally, we know that there are activities that are high-risk – like eating indoors at restaurants – but the County has not mandated vaccination to address those high risks. To date, we have made a decision to focus our efforts on getting as many people vaccinated as possible and requiring masks when indoors in public spaces (except when eating or drinking).

It is hard to build enough trust to encourage any vaccine-hesitant employee to get vaccinated. Making threats and resorting to a “get a vaccine or else you’re fired in 40 days” policy is not the right approach considering the progress we have made in Montgomery County. Additionally, many of our employees served the community from the beginning of the pandemic when we didn’t have adequate protective equipment and when we knew so little about the virus. These employees put their lives – and the lives of their families – at risk throughout this pandemic. We owe it to them and to ourselves to continue our current efforts. I encourage the County Council to table this legislation and work constructively with me, our employees, and our union partners on a solution that is right for our community.

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Oak Chapel is excited that Priority Partners Managed Care Organization (PPMCO) in partnership with Johns Hopkins HealthCare (JHHC) have selected the Oak Chapel Hub as the location for the first mini-food pantry/mini library in Montgomery County. Please join us for the cupboard unveiling on Saturday, May 18th, at 10 AM (rain or shine). This is scheduled to be an outdoor event. If there is inclement weather, the event will be held in the multi-purpose room of the main church building (Hub distribution location). The cupboard will be fully stocked and ready for the community to take what they need and leave what they can. It is a privilege to be able to continue to serve the 20906 community.

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Free Community Father-Daughter Dance

Fathers and father figures, create unforgettable memories with your daughter at our free community father-daughter dance on June 1st, from 6-8 pm. Hosted outdoors at Olney Baptist Church. This event offers a delightful outdoor experience complete with a DJ spinning tunes, interactive games, a charming photo booth, delicious treats, and exciting raffle prizes. Fathers/father figures and daughters of all ages are warmly welcomed to share in this special evening together. Join us for an evening of joy, laughter, and cherished moments!

In the spirit of giving back to our community, we are partnering with Quest to Feed Montgomery to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those in need. We kindly ask each attendee to bring along a non-perishable food item to donate during the event. Every contribution, no matter how small, will go a long way in supporting families facing food insecurity in our area.

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