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Press Releases - County Council

Montgomery County Affirms Support for Public Health Officials Amid Public Vitriol and Safety Concerns

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 14, 2022

ROCKVILLE, Md., March 14, 2022 — On Tuesday, March 15, Council Vice President Evan Glass will introduce a resolution affirming Montgomery County’s support for public health officials, including the next Public Health Officer and Chief of Public Health Services. The resolution also calls for unity, civil discourse and reaffirms the county’s commitment to making public health decisions based on science and data. This resolution is co-sponsored by Council President Gabe Albornoz and Councilmembers Will Jawando, Tom Hucker, Sidney Katz, Nancy Navarro and Andrew Friedson. 

Public health officials have kept residents safe during the pandemic and the harassment they have endured has been unprecedented in its scope and nature. During his pandemic leadership, Montgomery County’s previous health officer, Dr. Travis Gayles, received threats to his safety, in addition to a stream of racist and homophobic messages. He left his position in September 2021 and the county immediately began a nationwide search to replace him. To date, two candidates for the vacant Public Health Officer position have declined offers of employment citing the public vitriol and concerns for their safety. 

“Amid a global pandemic that has claimed more than 2,000 of our neighbors in Montgomery County, we need a team of dedicated public health officials to keep our community safe and healthy, ” said Council Vice President Evan Glass. “The type of harassment these officials continue to face is not only harming public discourse, but has become a barrier to hiring well-qualified personnel to serve in these positions. As the COVID-19 health crisis begins to recede, it is my hope that we can return to a level of civility where individuals can disagree without resorting to taunts and threats of violence. This resolution is one step toward reaffirming support for our public health officials.”

“The global pandemic has significantly stressed public health systems around the world and exposed the gaps in health care for underserved and vulnerable populations,” said Gabe Albornoz, Council President and Chair of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee. “Montgomery County is not immune but through the efforts of our public health officials, we are now the most highly vaccinated county in the nation. It is through their guidance and dedication that lives are saved."

The resolution can be found here.

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Release ID: 22-113
Media Contact: Valeria Carranza 240-777-7976
Categories: Evan Glass