Montgomery County Council and Committees to Hold Meetings on Jan. 24, Committees Will Review the Establishment of a Police Accountability Board

by Patrick Herron
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Per Montgomery County: 

The Public Safety (PS) Committee will meet virtually on Monday, Jan. 24 at 9:30 a.m. to discuss Expedited Bill 49-21, Police – Police Accountability Board – Administrative Charging Committee – Established, which would establish a Police Accountability Board (PAB) and Administrative Charging Committee (ACC) for the County. Bill 49-21 was introduced by the Council President at the request of the County Executive.

The members of the PS Committee include Chair Sidney Katz, Council President Gabe Albornoz and Councilmember Tom Hucker.

The joint Education and Culture (E&C) and Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. to discuss Bill 38-21, Economic Development Fund – Local Business Child Care Grant Program – Established, which would require the Director of the Department of Finance to create and administer a Local Business Child Care Grant Program within the County’s Economic Development Fund. The Committee will also continue its discussion of out of school time (OST) programming and the expansion of programming to address community needs.

The members of the E&C Committee include Chair Craig Rice and Councilmembers Will Jawando (Lead for Libraries) and Nancy Navarro.

The members of the PHED Committee include Chair Hans Riemer and Councilmembers Andrew Friedson (Lead for Parks) and Will Jawando.

The full Council will meet virtually at 12:30 p.m. receive an update from the Office of Intergovernmental Relations (OIR) and review pending state legislation.

The Transportation and Environment (T&E) Committee will meet at 1:30 p.m. to receive a briefing on OLO Report 2021-5, Measuring Climate Resilience – A Review of Select Critical Infrastructure Sectors in Montgomery County, and discuss Bill 9-21 which would require the removal of snow and ice by the County from certain sidewalks and paths. The Committee will also consider an amendment to extend the time to satisfy the conditions specified in Council Resolution No. 18-711 related to the conditional approval of the abandonment of a portion of Rugby Avenue and a 20-foot-wide alley off Glenbrook Road in the Samuel T. Robertson’s Addition to Bethesda Subdivision of Bethesda.

The members of the T&E Committee include Chair Tom Hucker, Council Vice President Evan Glass and Councilmember Hans Riemer.

More detail on each agenda item is provided below.

Expedited Bill 49-21, Police – Police Accountability Board – Administrative Charging Committee – Established

Review: The PS Committee will meet to review on Bill 49-21, Police – Police Accountability Board – Administrative Charging Committee – Established, which would establish a Police Accountability Board (PAB) and Administrative Charging Committee (ACC) for the County.

The Maryland General Assembly enacted a series of laws establishing uniform standards for police department operations throughout the state. One of these laws, House Bill (HB) 670, created a new uniform procedure for police accountability and discipline. This new law requires the governing body of each county to establish a PAB and an ACC to handle complaints of police misconduct from residents. HB 670 also gives the County PAB and the County ACC jurisdiction over police misconduct complaints against municipal police departments located in the County.

The goal of the bill is to help improve police accountability. The lead sponsor is the Council President at the request of the County Executive.

Those expected to attend and provide information include Marcus Jones, chief, Montgomery County Policy Department (MCPD); Darren Francke, assistant chief, MCPD; Dr. Earl Stoddard, assistant chief administrative office, Montgomery County; Lee Holland, president, Fraternal Order of Police; Elaine Bonner-Tompkins, senior legislative analyst, Office of Legislative Oversight; John Fitzgerald, chief of police, Chevy Chase Villagel; Andy Powell, deputy chief of police, Takoma Park; Mark Sroka, chief of police, Gaithersburg; Ray Campbell, liutentant, Gaithersburg; Shawn Eastman; police liutentant, Gaithersburg; Chris Vance, police lieutenant, Gaithersburg; Laura Lanham, deputy chief of police, Rockville; Max Uy, chief deputy, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Bill 38-21, Economic Development Fund – Local Business Child Care Grant Program – Established

Review: The join E&C and PHED Committee will review Bill 38-21, Economic Development Fund – Local Business Child Care Grant Program – Established, which would require the Director of the Department of Finance to create and administer a Local Business Child Care Grant Program within the County’s Economic Development Fund. The purpose of the bill is to support businesses’ efforts to subsidize childcare for their employees.

If approved, the new Child Care Grant Program created by the bill would allow local for-profit or non-profit businesses with 50 or fewer employees to apply for a grant from the County to match up to 50 percent of the employer’s contributions to its employees’ Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) for eligible childcare and dependent care. The match would be available only for employer contributions to FSAs for employees earning gross incomes of less than $125,000.

The lead sponsors are Council President Albornoz and Councilmember Navarro. All other Councilmembers are cosponsors.

Those expected to attend and provide information include Michael Coveyou, director, Department of Finance; Dennis Hetman, Department of Finance; Peter McGinnity, Department of Finance; and Laurie Boyer, Department of Finance.

Out of School Time Programming

Review: The joint E&C and PHED Committee will continue to review OST programming and the expansion of programs to address community needs. The Committee met on Nov. 1, 2021 to discuss recent efforts to expand access to OST programming to County youth, assess the unmet need for services and identify barriers to service delivery and opportunities for coordination among public and private service providers. During this meeting, the Committee will discuss funding needed to take current programming through the end of the fiscal year or expand programming to priority populations.

Those expected to attend and provide information include Ramona Bell-Pearson, director, Community Use of Public Facilities (CUPF); Robin Riley, director, Department of Recreation; Adriane Clutter, division chief, Programs, Department of Recreation; Barbara Andrews, administrator, Early Childhood Services, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS); Shane Tate, director of programs, Montgomery County Collaboration Council for Children, Youth and Families (Collaboration Council); Kimberly Rusnak, project director, Children’s Opportunity Fund (COF); Byron Johns, co-founder, Black and Brown Coalition for Educational Equity and Excellence; Dana Edwards, chief, Office of Districtwide Services and Supports, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS); and Nicole Allain, executive director, Office of Districtwide Services and Supports, MCPS.

State Legislative Program

Review: The Council will meet to receive an update from OIR and review pending state legislation. The legislation under consideration relates to COVID-19 relief and economic resilience, local authority, elections and the environment.

Those expected to attend and provide information include Melanie Wenger, director, OIR; Kathleen Boucher, special assistant to director, OIR; Sara Morningstar, federal relations coordinator and legislative analyst, OIR; Leslie Frey, legislative analyst, OIR; Jason Mathias, OIR; Ed Lattner, chief, Division of Government Operations, Office of the County Attorney; Alysoun McLaughlin, deputy election director, Montgomery County Board of Elections; Patrick Walsh, Montgomery County Recreation; and Patty Bubar, deputy director, Department of Environmental Protection.

OLO Report 2021-5, Measuring Climate Resilience – A Review of Select Critical Infrastructure Sectors in Montgomery County

Briefing: The T&E Committee will receive a briefing on OLO Report 2021-5, which responds to Council’s request to better understand how well Montgomery County’s critical infrastructure is designed to handle extreme weather conditions. Critical infrastructure describes systems and assets which are so vital that their incapacity or destruction would have a debilitating impact on physical and economic security, public health or safety.

Those expected to attend and provide information include Adriana Hochberg, acting director, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP); Mark Etheridge, Department of Permitting Services; Bill Musico, permitting services specialist, Department of Permitting Services (DPS); Tim Cupples, Department of Transportation; Marche Taylor-Templeton, external affairs manager, Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE); Tami Watkins, external affairs manager, Pepco; and Robert Taylor, energy manager, WSSC Water.

Bill 9-21, Streets and Roads – Sidewalk Snow Removal Amendments

Review: The T&E Committee will review Bill 9-21, which would define certain terms relating to sidewalks, establish an exception to the requirements for removal of snow and ice on private property and require removal of snow and ice by the County from certain sidewalks and paths.

The purpose of this bill is to increase safe access and passage for pedestrians. After major winter storms, certain sidewalks in the County become impassable because state and County snowplows deposit large amounts of snow on the sidewalks. Sidewalks blocked by accumulated snow presents a public safety hazard and impede access to bus stops, metro stations, health-facilities, retail stores and places of employment.

The lead sponsor of the bill is Council Vice President Evan Glass. Councilmembers Riemer, Katz, Hucker and Navarro are cosponsors.

Those expected to attend and provide information include Emil Wolanin, director, Department of Transportation (DOT) and Hannah Henn, deputy director, DOT.

Amendment to Abandonment Resolution 18-711: Portion of Rugby Avenue and Alley in the Samuel T. Robertson’s Addition to Bethesda Subdivision, Bethesda

Review: The T&E Committee will review a request to extend the time to satisfy the conditions specified in Council Resolution 18-711 related to the conditional approval of the abandonment of a portion of Rugby Avenue and a 20-foot-wide alley off Glenbrook Road in the Samuel T. Robertson’s Addition to Bethesda Subdivision of Bethesda.

Resolution 18-711 adopted by the Council on Feb. of 2017, approves the conditional abandonment of 4,043 square feet portion of right-of-way (ROW) at the terminus of Rugby Avenue and a 1,970 square foot alley off of Glenbrook Road. The original applicant, Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bethesda Chevy Chase, which has since sold the property abutting the areas in question to JLB, was required to satisfy certain conditions prior to the abandonment becoming effective.

In Nov. 2021, Miles & Stockbridge P.C., on behalf of their client, JLB Georgetown Road LLC (JLB), sent a letter to the Council requesting a 30-month extension of the validity period for JLB to satisfy all of the conditions of the approved abandonment specified in Resolution No. 18-711.

The resolution does not provide a specified time frame for which the applicant must satisfy each condition. As such, pursuant to Section 49-65(d)1 of the County Code, the abandonment is automatically revoked within five years of approval if all of the conditions are not satisfied. Five years from when the abandonment was approved is February 7, 2022.

Those expected to attend and provide information include Eric Willis, chief, Property Acquisition Section, Department of Transportation (DOT); Elza Hisel-McCoy, chief, DownCounty Planning, Montgomery County Planning Department; Stephanie Dickel,supervisor, DownCounty Planning, Montgomery County Planning Department; and Katie Mencarini, planner coordinator, Montgomery County Planning Department.

The Committee meeting schedule may change from time to time. The current Council and Committee agendas, Council staff reports and additional information on items scheduled for Council review can be viewed at: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/COUNCIL/ondemand/index.html.

The Council and committees are meeting via Zoom because of ongoing construction and technology upgrades in the Council’s Hearing Room and the inability to conduct meetings in a socially distant way in other areas of the Council Office Building with television broadcast capacity. Councilmembers continue to hold meetings in their offices by appointment.

The virtual Council and committee meetings will be streamed live on the Council’s web page via YouTube and on Facebook Live and can be watched on County Cable Montgomery on Xfinity/RCN 6 HD 996/1056, Fios 30, and on the CCM live stream.

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