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Press Releases - County Council

Montgomery County Council Committees Hold Virtual Meetings on Nov. 22 Starting at 9:30 a.m.

For Immediate Release: Friday, November 19, 2021

Committees will receive an update on the Early Care and Education Initiative and review legislation that would require County employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19

The joint Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education and Culture (E&C) Committee will meet on Monday Nov. 22 at 9:30 a.m. to receive an update on the Early Care and Education Initiative.

The members of the HHS Committee include Chair and Council Vice President Gabe Albornoz and Councilmembers Evan Glass (Lead for Homelessness & Vulnerable Communities) and Craig Rice.

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

The joint Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) and HHS Committee will meet at 3 p.m. to review Expedited Bill 34-21, Personnel and Human Resources – COVID-19 Vaccination Required, which would require County employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment.

The members of the GO Committee include Chair Nancy Navarro and Councilmembers Andrew Friedson and Sidney Katz.

More detail on each agenda item is provided below.

Early Care and Education Initiative Update

Briefing: The joint E&C and HHS Committee will receive an update on Montgomery County's Early Care and Education Initiative. Councilmember Navarro spearheaded this four-year action plan to significantly expand quality early child care and education options for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, provide greater access to more families and support schools and community-based providers. High quality programs that are affordable and accessible have been shown to be cost effective, close education and opportunity gaps and increase economic benefits.

On March 7, 2019, then Council President Navarro and County Executive Elrich, in partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and Montgomery College, jointly announced the Montgomery County Early Care and Education Initiative. The plan is focused on the following outcomes: expanding the availability of seats; increasing access to quality early care and education through increased use of the Working Parents Assistance program; promoting the sustainability of existing family and center-based programs; increasing cross-agency collaboration and alignment; and monitoring and aligning efforts with Kirwan Commission recommendations/Blueprint for Maryland’s Future legislation.

The following individuals are expected to provide information at the meeting: Dr. Raymond Crowel, director, DHHS; JoAnn Barnes, Children, Youth and Family Services, DHHS; BB Otero, special assistant to the County Executive; Ruschelle Reuben, chief, Teaching, Learning and Schools, MCPS; Nichelle Owens, acting director, Division of Early Childhood, Title I Programs, and Recovery Programs; Dr. Sonia Pruneda-Hernandez, collegewide senior director/chair of Early Childhood Education Programs, Montgomery College. In addition, Barbara Andrews, administrator, Early Childhood Services and Jennifer Arnaiz, director, Montgomery County Child Care Resource and Referral Center are also expected to attend the meeting.

Expedited Bill 34-21, Personnel and Human Resources – COVID-19 Vaccination Required

Review: The joint GO and HHS Committee will review Expedited Bill 34-21, Personnel and Human Resources – COVID-19 Vaccination Required, which would require County employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. Accommodations to the requirement would be available for medical reasons. The lead sponsors of the bill are Councilmembers Riemer and Jawando. Council Vice President Albornoz is a cosponsor.

If enacted by the Council, an employee who fails to provide proof of vaccination or apply for a medical accommodation within seven days of notification from the County would be placed on unpaid leave. An employee who fails to fulfill the vaccination requirement or to secure a medical accommodation, after having been placed on leave would be subject to dismissal from County employment. The requirements and implementation of Expedited Bill 34-21 would be expressly exempt from collective bargaining and provisions of the Montgomery County Code related to collective bargaining. A public hearing was held on Oct. 19, 2021.

Those expected to attend and provide information include Dr. Earl Stoddard, assistant chief administrative Officer, Montgomery County Government; Berke Attila, director, Human Resources, Montgomery County Government; Silvia Kinch, chief, Division of Labor Relations and Public Safety, Office of the County Attorney; and Jennifer Harling, chief labor relations officer, Montgomery County Government.

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: 21-478
Media Contact: Sonya Healy, 240-777-7926 , Benjamin Sky Brandt 240-777-7884