County Council Back in Session Tuesday After Summer Recess

The Montgomery County Council will hold its first fall legislative session on Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The council has been in summer recess since early August.

Council Vice President Gabe Albornoz will begin the session by marking the 50th anniversary of Montgomery Soccer Inc., a community-led youth soccer organization in the county. Councilmember Will Jawando will then issue a proclamation recognizing September as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, while Councilmembers Evan Glass and Craig Rice will join Albornoz in marking National Recovery Month.

Sitting as the Board of Health, the council will receive updates on the county’s public health data and emergency response with regard to COVID-19. According to Dr. Raymond Crowell, Director of the Department of Health and Human Services, “the data generally is trending down, but risk is still with us.” Montgomery County is currently experiencing substantial community transmission as defined by the CDC.

For the first time in the pandemic, Tuesday’s COVID-19 update will not feature Dr. Travis Gayles — who resigned from his post as County Health Officer last month.

The COVID-19 update will be followed by a briefing on MCPS Protocols for Vaccination and Quarantine Requirements. The council, sitting as the Board of Health, will discuss in-school rapid antigen testing as a mechanism for minimizing the number of students who need to quarantine. According to Albornoz, students can obtain a rapid antigen test in school with authorization from a parent or guardian starting this week.

“We are following state guidelines almost entirely and we are looking at testing as the final piece of that puzzle,” Dr. Crowell said during a media availability Monday.

The council plans to introduce two agenda items during its first fall legislative session: spending affordability guidelines for the Fiscal Year 2023 capital budget and an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2022 operating budget. If approved, the amendment would create contracts with the Corporation for Creative Housing, Inc., the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington, the Collaboration Council and Family Services, Inc.

Public hearings are set to take place during the second half of the day. Among the bills receiving testimony are Bill 32-21, which would ban the county from including a “no re-hire” clause in an employee settlement agreement; Expedited Bill 30-21, which would extend the prohibition on rent hikes and late fees outlined in the COVID-19 Renter Relief Act; and Expedited Bill 33-21, which would make resident supervisors working in the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation eligible for the same retirement plan afforded to sworn deputy sheriffs and uniformed correctional officers (the only group of county employees currently allowed to collect a monthly retirement pension while continuing to work).

Several action items are also on the docket for Tuesday. County Executive Marc Elrich’s appointments to the Fire and Emergency Services, the Commission on Landlord-Tenant Affairs and the Racial Equity and Social Justice Advisory Committee are set to be confirmed. The council will also vote on the appointment of Sterne Kessler as special council and the reappointment of Dr. Kenneth Jones to the Nominating Committee for the Board of Trustees of Montgomery College.

The last agenda item of the day will be a public hearing on the statue of Olympic gold medalist and Silver Spring native Dominique Dawes, the funding for which is appropriated in the Fiscal Year 2022 Operating Budget.

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Ceoli Jacoby

About Ceoli Jacoby

Ceoli Jacoby is an editorial intern at Montgomery Community Media. A junior at the University of Maryland, she is pursuing a double major in multiplatform journalism and government & politics. On campus, she is a staff writer for Stories Beneath the Shell. She can be reached at cjacoby@mymcmedia.org.

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