Montgomery County Council Committees Hold Virtual Meetings Starting at 9:30 a.m Today

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For Immediate Release: Friday, October 15, 2021

Committees will receive an update on the County’s Emergency Communications Center and Next Generation 911 platforms and receive updates on the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings, Office of Animal Services and Office of Consumer Protection

The Public Safety (PS) Committee will meet on Monday, October 18 at 9:30 a.m. to receive an update on the County’s Emergency Communications Center (ECC) and Next Generation 911 (NextGen911) Internet Protocol-based platforms. The members of the PS Committee include Chair Sidney Katz, Council Vice President Gabe Albornoz and Council President Tom Hucker.

The Education and Culture (E&C) Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. to receive an update on the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC). The members of the E&C Committee include Chair Craig Rice and Councilmembers Will Jawando (Lead for Libraries) and Nancy Navarro.

The Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee will meet at 1:30 p.m. to receive an update from the Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings (OZAH). The members of the PHED Committee include Chair Hans Riemer and Councilmembers Andrew Friedson (Lead for Parks) and Will Jawando.

The PS Committee will meet at 1:30 p.m. to receive an update from the Office of Animal Services (OAS) and the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP).

More detail on the agenda is provided below.

 

Emergency Communications Center (ECC) and Next Generation 911

Briefing: The PS Committee will receive an update on the County’s Emergency Communications Center (ECC) and Next Generation 911 (NextGen911) Internet Protocol-based platforms. The ECC answers all 911 calls and non-emergency police service calls dialed in the County. It also dispatches all calls for police, fire and rescue services excluding Park Police and Takoma Park Police.

The 911 system is regulated by the state so that all counties provide similar services. The original technology is more than 50 years old and initially relied on AT&T to provide landline service to the 911 Call Center. Montgomery County is now upgrading to NextGen911 which can process all call types, including voice, text-to-911, crash notification, as well as images and video. It can also provide improved location accuracy to assist emergency personnel.

Those expected to attend and provide information include Cassandra Onley, ECC director, Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD); Edward Radcliffe, assistant chief, Communications, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS); Dr. Rolando Santiago, chief, Behavioral Health and Crisis Services, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS); and Dorné Hill, senior administrator, Crisis, Intake and Trauma Services, DHHS.

Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC)

Briefing: The E&C Committee will receive an update on the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC). Representatives from AHCMC will provide the Committee with updates on key programs and initiatives and review any relevant spending or performance data.

AHCMC annually distributes grants to organizations and individuals to help fund enriching cultural activities in Montgomery County. Funding is provided by the Montgomery County Government, the Maryland State Arts Council, organizations and individuals.

Suzan Jenkins, chief executive officer of AHCMC is expected to attend and provide information.

Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings

Briefing: The PHED Committee will receive an update on the Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings (OZAH). Representatives from OZAH will provide the Committee with updates on key programs and initiatives and review any relevant spending or performance data.

OZAH conducts due process hearings on land use and other administrative matters. These include applications for rezoning, development plan amendments, floating zone plan amendments, conditional use applications and accessory dwelling unit objection and waiver cases arising out of the Department of Housing and Community Affairs. OZAH also presides over matters referred for a hearing by the Human Rights Commission, the Commission on Common Ownership Communities, the County’s Merit System Protection Board, the Office of Consumer Protection and the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer in appeals arising under the County’s prevailing wage law.

Those expected to attend and provide information include Lynn R. Hannan, director, Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings and Phil Weeda, senior management and budget specialist, Office of Management and Budget.

Office of Animal Services

The PS Committee will receive an update from the Office of Animal Services (OAS). Representatives from OAS will provide the Committee with updates on key programs and initiatives and review any relevant spending or performance data.

Animal Services Officers investigate complaints from residents and respond to animal emergencies. These calls include animal abuse and neglect, law enforcement, sick or injured wildlife and calls regarding stray, rabid or aggressive animals. OAS responds to animal-related calls via its Communication’s Center, which operates five days a week between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Calls outside of this time frame are handled by the County’s Emergency Communications Center.

In July 2020, Bill 21-20E went into effect transferring the duties of the Division of Animal Services from the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) to a new non-principal office in the Executive Branch called the Office of Animal Services (OAS). MCPD and OAS are currently in the process of reviewing and updating the MOU that was in effect for FY21.

Those expected to attend and provide information include Tom Koenig, executive director, OAS; Alexandra Lepiarz, deputy executive director, OAS; Dr. Gregory Lawrence, chief veterinarian, OAS; Bonnie White, business operations manager, OAS; Lavonia Byrd, field services supervisor, OAS; Jack Breckenridge, cruelty investigator, MCPD/OAS; Faith Koleszar, adoptions supervisor, OAS; and Derrick Harrigan, fiscal and policy analyst, Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Office of Consumer Protection

The PS Committee will receive an update from the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP). Representatives from OCP will provide the Committee with updates on key programs and initiatives and review any relevant spending or performance data.

OCP enforces consumer protection laws prohibiting unfair and deceptive business acts or practices to ensure a fair marketplace for consumers and businesses. Activities include complaint resolution, business registration, law enforcement, education, legislation, advocacy and outreach to vulnerable consumers.

Those expected to attend and provide information from OCP include Eric Friedman, director; K. Samuel Buo, administrator; Tracy Rezvani, investigative programs administrator; and Maurice Valentine, public liaison for public campaign financing program.

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 this fall 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 will 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.

 

Release ID: 21-404
Media Contact: Sonya Healy240-777-7926 , Benjamin Sky Brandt 240-777-7884

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