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Press Releases - County Council

Council Enacts Legislation to Increase Public Transparency on County Settlement Agreements

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 5, 2021

ROCKVILLE, Md., Oct. 5, 2021— Today the Council unanimously approved Bill 19-21 Finance - Reports on Settlements Agreements. The legislation was sponsored by Councilmember Will Jawando and co-sponsored by Council President Tom Hucker and Councilmembers Evan Glass, Hans Riemer, Craig Rice and Nancy Navarro.

“Transparency is critical to ensure accountability and to maintain public trust in government,” said Councilmember Jawando. “I am pleased that this legislation will require annual public reporting on settlement agreements and prohibit non-disclosure agreements. I thank my colleagues for their support on this and other bills to provide more information regarding how the County operates and how taxpayer dollars are used.”

Bill 19-21 seeks to increase public transparency regarding settlement agreements entered into by the County. The bill requires the County Attorney, by October 1 of each year, to submit to the County Executive and the County Council and to publish on the County’s website a written report summarizing the settlement of claims by or against the County during the prior fiscal year on the settlement of each Self-Insurance Fund lawsuit.

For each settlement, the report would be required to identify:

  • the claimant or claimants;
  • the dollar amount, or other consideration, under the settlement;
  • the nature of the claim;
  • the County departments or offices involved in the claim;
  • demographic information voluntarily provided by the parties; and
  • the applicable legal authority or reason if any information relating to the settlement is excluded because disclosure may be in violation of federal or state law.

In addition to the submission of reports to the County Executive and the County Council and ensuring their publication on the County website, the bill also prohibits non-disclosure clauses in settlement agreements, increases the County Attorney’s authority to settle claims up to $30,000 and makes non-substantive, technical amendments to existing provisions of Section 20-2 of the County Code, on the settlement of claims by the County Attorney.

The Council staff report for Bill 19-21 can be viewed here.

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Release ID: 21-388
Media Contact: Sonya Healy, 240-777-7926 , Lucia Jimenez 240-777-7832
Categories: Will Jawando