Thursday, August 30, 2012

County to Honor World War II Veterans

One day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Dee Paris went to enlist in the U.S. Army. His military career took him through some of the most famous battles of World War II, including the Battle of the Bulge and the Battle of the Rhine River. On Wednesday, September 19, at the Silver Spring Civic Building, Mr. Paris, who is 97 and lives in Silver Spring, will be among the speakers as Montgomery County honors the men and women who served their nation in World War II. Ted Koppel, who for 25 years hosted the ABC News show Nightline, will be the host. The ceremony will begin at 10:30 at the Civic Building in Silver Spring. The event is open to the public and will be simulcast live on many of the County’s public cable television channels.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Holiday Schedule for Labor Day

Here's our holiday schedule for for Labor Day on Monday, September 3:

~ County Offices – closed
~ Libraries – closed
~ County liquor stores – closed
~ Recreation – Outdoor aquatic facilities will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Olney
Indoor Swim Center open normal operating hours, other indoor aquatic facilities
closed. Administrative offices, senior centers and community centers closed.
~ Ride On – Sunday schedule
~ Metrobus – Sunday schedule
~ Metrorail – Sunday schedule
~ TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) – closed
~ Refuse/recycling pickup – no collection*
~ Transfer Station – closed
~ Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free
~ MCPS Administrative Offices – closed
~ State offices & courts – closed

*All collections scheduled on or after the holiday will be made one day later that week.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bethesda Olympians to be Honored Friday

Montgomery County is home to five extraordinary athletes who competed for Team USA in the 2012 London Olympics. This week the Bethesda community will honor the three Olympians who call Bethesda home. The community will gather to celebrate the accomplishments of 15-year old swimming sensation and gold medalist Katie Ledecky, slalom kayaker Scott Parsons and rhythmic gymnast Julie Zetlin. Montgomery County's two Olympic athletes who reside outside of Bethesda are rower David Banks from Potomac and canoe/kayaker Caroline Queen from Darnestown.

The celebration of the Olympians will take place at the Bethesda Metro Center on Friday at 5:30 pm. The free event is being organized by the Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce, the Bethesda Urban Partnership, the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center and Brookfield Properties and will be followed by a Metro Center dance concert featuring Cityscape from 6-8 p.m. All are welcome.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Welcome Tedi Osias

I'm pleased to announce the addition of Tedi Osias to my staff. Tedi will join us in working on land use and housing issues. Many know her from her time previously working for the County Council and more recently through her work with the Housing Opportunities Commission. I'm thrilled Tedi will be coming on board in September.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

County Reaches Agreement with Volunteer Firefighters on Ambulance Fees

County Executive Leggett and representatives from the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association announced this week that they had come to an agreement to improve the relationship between the County and volunteers. The agreement will boost communication, promote further cooperation and enhance the volunteer contribution to the County’s combined volunteer and career emergency fire and rescue service. Also, MCVFRA agreed to not pursue a referendum on the County's Emergency Medical Transportation Insurance Reimbursement Act.

Full text of the release is copied below:

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association are pleased to announce that an agreement between the County and the Volunteer Association has been reached that will improve fire and rescue services for residents and visitors in Montgomery County. The agreement will boost communication, promote further cooperation and enhance the volunteer contribution to the County’s combined volunteer and career emergency fire and rescue service.

The County’s Emergency Medical Transportation Insurance Reimbursement Act, which will take effect January 1, 2013, will raise an additional $18 million a year that will be dedicated to additional staffing, apparatus, facilities and equipment – all at no cost to County residents. The money will come from insurance company reimbursements for medical transport. No County resident will ever receive a bill, pay a co-pay or deductible. Non-County residents will receive a bill that can be submitted to their insurers for reimbursement. Those without insurance will be able to file for a waiver of the fees.

“Although we are concerned that non-County residents will receive a bill for emergency transport, we do not support a referendum on the Emergency Medical Transportation Insurance Reimbursement Act,” said Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association President Marcine Goodloe. “The fire and rescue service enhancements that will result from this agreement are too critical to jeopardize. The Act will result in significant improvements to emergency services and the safety of County residents.

“County residents, the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service and career and volunteer personnel will benefit from enhanced fire and rescue service with the implementation of Emergency Medical Transportation Insurance Reimbursement Act,” said Goodloe. This agreement fosters a relationship of trust and support and recognizes the valued contributions by our volunteer fire, rescue and emergency medical services personnel.”

“The State of Maryland has decided to shift to Montgomery County what could very well be more than $400 million over 10 years in state teacher pension costs,” said County Executive Isiah Leggett. The State has also approved a new ‘Maintenance of Effort’ law on school funding that could force us to add millions more to our reserves each year above and beyond what we already do. These are changed circumstances of monumental significance. The additional revenue the County will receive from insurance reimbursements is vital. It will enable us to enhance fire and rescue services to keep pace with population growth, without cutting other essential County services.

“I appreciate the work and efforts by our County officials and representatives from the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association,” said Leggett. “In particular I want to acknowledge Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association President Marcine Goodloe, Executive Director Eric Bernard and Counsel John Bentivolio for their leadership and efforts in forging this agreement.”

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Request for an Action Plan re Pepco

The County must create a quantifiable and actionable roadmap for what it expects from Pepco and the Maryland Public Service Commission regarding the utility company’s ongoing performance issues. That's why I sent a memorandum to the County Executive asking for a assessment and action plan by November.

Here is the full text of the memorandum:

August 9, 2012

TO: Isiah Leggett, County Executive

FROM: Nancy Floreen, Councilmember

RE: Ongoing role, influence and participation by the Montgomery County Government before the Public Service Commission (PSC) on performance issues related to Pepco

After listening to the Council's July 24 briefing and the Public Service Commission’s August 7 public hearing, I realized that while there has been significant public dialogue, the County still needs a clear roadmap of what it is asking from Pepco or the PSC.

We have heard many anecdotal stories about Pepco’s lack of preparedness, failure to communicate and deficiency in systematic investment. Also, much attention has been devoted to tree maintenance and the unprecedented circumstances of the latest storm. However, very little has been stated or documented in a quantifiable and actionable fashion.

We need to know where we stand and what exactly to do about it, as a unified County.

Therefore, I request that the County’s attorneys and outside consultants (if necessary) be tasked with providing the Executive and Council with a full assessment of the Pepco work plan, including an evaluation of Pepco's responses to the derecho storm and the continuing occurrence of blue sky outages.

Our legal team should be prepared to identify any legislative remedies which may be necessary to ensure access to Pepco data, systems and any other information that we need in order to be meaningrul participants in solving the ongoing problems.

Given the extraordinary financial losses that the County and its residents have suffered as a result of the electric infrastructure problems over recent years, there can be no doubt that the time has come to take more aggressive action. We must ensure that the excellent recommendations of the 2011 Pepco Working Group are fully implemented, and we owe it to our residents to exercise the maximum oversight of Pepco's efforts. That means we need complete and accurate data and a clearly delineated plan of action.

I propose a November date for receipt of this work in order to prepare for the 2013 legislative session if necessary.

I look forward to continuing to work with you to resolve this crisis.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Montgomery Honors WW II Vets

Mark your calendar for September 19 for Montgomery Honors WW II Vets beginning at 10:30 at the Civic Building in Silver Spring. The event will be simulcast live on many of the County’s public cable television channels.

Among the significant World War II events of 1942 were the Battle of the Coral Sea (May 4, 1942) and the Battle of Midway (June 4, 1942). Many historians view those two battles as the turning point of the war in the Pacific. U.S. troops landed on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands on Aug. 7, 1942. In November 1942, U.S. and British troops invaded French North Africa.

Montgomery Honors WW II Vets event organizers are currently seeking to contact more of the veterans who will be honored on Sept. 19. Those veterans, or family and friends of the veterans, seeking more information about the event should call 240-777-7929.

Speakers at the event will include veterans who served in various aspects of World War II.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Apply Now to Charter Review Commission

We are accepting applications to fill an unexpired term on the Charter Review Commission. The appointee may be a Democrat, Republican or someone who declines to affiliate with a party, or a member of another party officially recognized by the Board of Elections.

Submit your letter of interest by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, September 26.

The County Charter was amended in 1976 to provide that a Charter Review Commission be appointed by the County Council every four years to study the Charter. The Commission researches and evaluates Charter issues raised by the County Executive, County Council, other government officials, and the public. Commission reports are submitted no later than May 1 of every even-numbered year. These reports contain recommendations concerning any proposed Charter amendments.

The Commission is composed of 11 residents of the County, five of whom are appointed from a list of names submitted by the County Executive. No more than six members can be from the same political party. Since six Democrats are currently serving on the Commission, applications from Democrats will not be considered for this particular vacancy.

Send your letter of interest with a resume to: Roger Berliner, President, Montgomery County Council, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, Maryland 20850. Resumes should include professional and civic experience, political party affiliation, home and office telephone numbers and an e-mail address. Letters and resumes submitted are made public as part of the appointment process. Members of County boards, committees and commissions may not serve on more than one such group at a time.

For more information about the Charter Review Commission or how to apply for consideration to become a commission member, call Linda Lauer at 240-777-7979.