Councilmembers Luedtke and Glass Call For Witnesses at Upcoming Hearing Discussing MCPS To Be Placed Under Oath

Montgomery County Councilmembers Dawn Luedtke and Evan Glass have written a letter to Montgomery County Council President Andrew Friedson asking that all witnesses at the February 8th Audit and Education & Culture Committees’ hearing discussing the latest report from the Office of the Inspector General regarding Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) handling of employee misconduct related complaints and investigations. The full letter can be seen below:

“To: Council President Andrew Friedson

From: Councilmembers Dawn Luedtke and Evan Glass

Following the news that MCPS promoted a principal who allegedly sexually harassed colleagues, we all were outraged that the system had failed to protect our teachers. Last week, we learned from the Office of the Inspector General that MCPS had been advised at least four times since 2019 of gaps in their systems for handling misconduct complaints and had not taken the corrective actions recommended.

While we as a body have limited tools with which to address the systemic flaws at MCPS, we must use every opportunity to bring closure to this matter. The Council has the unique ability to use one of our legal functions to foster an honest and productive discussion at the Audit and Education & Culture Committees’ hearing scheduled for February 8.

Given our collective focus on oversight, transparency, and accountability, we are requesting that the Council exercise the authority granted to it under Mont. Code §2-20, which gives the Council the authority to administer oaths to those who may appear before the Council.

The provision specifically states:

(a) “The county council shall have power to issue subpoenas for witnesses, and the president thereof shall have power to administer the oath to any witness who may be examined before the council, such oath to have all the qualities of an oath taken before any other judicial tribunal or officers, and violations thereof to be punishable as other perjuries are punishable.

We recognize the unique nature of the Council exercising this authority. However, unprecedented times demand unprecedented action. Using our legal authority sends a clear message that the Council is unequivocal in its pursuit of the truth.

The purpose of the Council hearing, the second we will have held on this pressing issue, is to provide oversight and demand accountability. It is to everyone’s benefit – including the restoration of the public’s trust – that those participating in the discussion provide factually honest testimony. This process also provides a mechanism to those who may have been afraid to speak openly or honestly about facts and circumstances surrounding this matter.

This situation is ultimately about the negligence within MCPS’ human resources processes, failure to adequately protect school employees, and allegations that staff were coerced to ignore existing policies and procedures or risk losing their jobs.

If we intend to condemn bullying, harassment, and fear of retaliation in the workplace, we must take all necessary and appropriate actions pursuant to the Council’s authority for the hearing on February 8.

We have spoken with many colleagues about this situation and understand the unprecedented juncture at which we find ourselves. As elected officials, it is our responsibility to address issues with immense public concern. The public sentiment and concern over these issues deserves our full attention and effort.”

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March 1st (Friday) 6pm-7:30pm

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