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5 Council Leaders from Around the Washington Region Discuss Shared Issues Today’s Unique Meeting in Rockville Included Craig Rice of Montgomery, Calvin Ball of Howard, Jay Fisette of Arlington, Mel Franklin of Prince George’s and Phil Mendelso

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Five chairs of their respective local governments met today in Rockville in the first of its type Washington Metropolitan Regional Council Chairs Meeting. The meeting was arranged by Montgomery County Council President Craig Rice and included Howard County Council Chair Calvin Ball, Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette, Prince George’s Council Chair Mel Franklin and District of Columbia Council Chair Phil Mendelson.

The group met for two hours at the Montgomery Council Office Building in Rockville.

Among the shared issues discussed in the informal setting were regional transportation priorities, environmental measures and how to better support small businesses.

“We are all members of the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments, but I think we need to be able to discuss certain issues in a different type of setting,” said Montgomery Council President Rice. “There are quite a few issues where we are all impacted and we need to cut through some formalities to make sure we are helping each other and not hurting each other.

“For example, you cannot have just one jurisdiction working on major environmental programs because the environment does not know boundaries. Transportation only works if it carries people from one place to the place they want to go—which may be in another jurisdiction.”

Council President Rice said the discussions also crossed into less defined territory.

“We also were able to frankly talk about things such as being competitive in the business market in our own ways,” he said, “but trying to be cooperative and not poaching upon each other.”

Council President Rice said that he hopes that this was only the first in a series of meetings of regional Council leaders.

“We invited numerous other leaders to today’s meeting, but we know schedules of leaders are complicated,” said Council President Rice. “I am hoping that once we share what we accomplished today, more area leaders will be able to adjust their schedules and be part of our future meetings.”

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Release ID: 14-084
Media Contact: Neil Greenberger 240-777-7939, Delphine Harriston 240-777-7931