GOIHHS Item 1
April 27,2011
Worksession
MEMORANDUM
April 25, 2011
TO:
Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee
Health and Human Services Committee
FROM:
SUBJECT:
Robert H. Drummer, Senior Legislative Attorney
fa
Worksession: Expedited Bill 5-11, Office of Human Rights - Human Rights
Commission - Reorganization
Expedited Bill 5-11, Office of Human Rights - Human Rights Commission ­
Reorganization, sponsored by the Council President at the request of the County Executive, was
introduced on March 8, 2011. A public hearing was held on March 29.
Expedited Bill 5-11 would reduce the jurisdiction of the Human Rights Commission and
provide for the disposition of certain cases currently pending before the Office of Human Rights
and the Human Rights Commission.
Background
In its report to the Council dated January 31, 2011, the Organizational Reform
Commission (ORC), in
Recommendation
#4,
recommended the County reorganize the Human
Rights Commission and eliminate the Office of Human Rights.
The full text ofthe recommendation is below.
a) Human Rights Commission (HRC) - Current Budget - $1,738,400 - The work of
the HRC in striving to eliminate discrimination, prejudice, intolerance and bigotry
serves a vital function. A broad cross-section of federal, state and County laws
protect human rights, and County citizens have access to federal and state channels to
specifically address those rights covered under federal and state laws. Recent
analysis indicates only a few complaints of human rights violations have been filed
regarding rights protected only at the County level.
:?
The ORC recommends that the Council and Executive move the adjudicatory role
of the Human Rights Commission to the state and federal governments, with the
creation of a Human Rights Ombudsman in the office of the County Attorney to
guide citizens to the appropriate authority and provide advice on options available
for relief.
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Executive's Response
In a memorandum to the Council President dated February 21, 2011, the Executive
responded to each of the 28 recommendations in the ORC report (©8-9). The Executive
supported this recommendation with conditions as follows:
4. Reorganize the Human Rights Commission and eliminate the office.
County Executive's Position: Support with Conditions
I support the ORC recommendations regarding the reorganization of the Human
Rights Commission. My FY12 Recommended Operating Budget will address this
reorganization, but in order to retain the unique and vital work that this Commission
provides, it will be necessary to retain some staffing for the Commission. This
recommendation requires implementing legislation which I will forward to the
Council.
On March 1, 2011, the Executive forwarded a Bill to the Council, for its consideration,
reorganizing the Human Rights Commission. See © 10-11. The Bill submitted by the Executive
differs from the ORC recommendation because it does not eliminate the Office of Human
Rights. The Bill would reduce the caseload for the Office by requiring the Office to investigate,
conciliate, and adjudicate before the Commission a case alleging only discriminatory acts that do
not violate State or Federal law.
If
a complainant alleges a discriminatory act that also violates
State or Federal law, the Office would advise the complainant of the right to file the complaint
with the Maryland Commission on Human Relations, the Federal Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission, or the appropriate Maryland Circuit Court.
Discriminatory acts that violate County law only include discrimination on the basis of
presence of children, family responsibilities, source of income, ancestry, and gender identity. In
addition, State and Federal employment discrimination laws cover employers with 15 or more
employees. The County Human Rights Law covers all employers in the County without regard
to number of employees. A chart showing the various groups protected under Federal, State, and
County anti -discrimination laws is at © 15.
The ORC recommendation would transfer the investigation and adjudication of all cases
to the Maryland Commission on Human Relations, the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission, or the appropriate Maryland Circuit Court and eliminate the Office of Human
Rights. Under the ORC recommendation, the Commission on Human Rights would remain as an
advisory body with limited staff support.
Public Hearing
There were 18 speakers at the public hearing on March 29, 2011. Assistant CAO Fariba
Kassiri testified in support of the Bill on behalf of the Executive (© 16-17). The 17 other
speakers opposed the Bill, including representatives of the Commission on Human Rights (© 18),
the Montgomery County Committee on Hate/Violence (©19-21), NAACP (©22-23), Alpha Phi
Alpha Fraternity (©24-26), National Association of Human Rights Workers (©27), Montgomery
County Muslim Council (©28-29), and the Maryland Commission on Human Relations
(©30­
2
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31). Odessa Shannon (©32-33), Ruby Rubens (©34-35), Fonner Delegate Saqib Ali (©36),
Gwen D'Souza (©37-38), Terry Vann (©39), Richard Allen (©40-41), Henry Montes (©42-44),
and Alan Banov (©45-47) testified as individuals and submitted written testimony.
Many of the speakers argued that the extra caseload on the Maryland Commission on
Human Relations (MCHR) and the EEOC would further increase the time these agencies take to
handle discrimination complaints. Surprisingly, the Chair of the MCHR asked the Council to
reject the Bill because the State of Maryland could not afford to provide sufficient staffing for his
agency to handle additional cases from Montgomery County residents. Another common theme
was the difficulty some residents might have traveling to Baltimore to file a claim with the
MCHR or the EEOC. Many of the speakers argued that the Bill would be a step back from the
County's long history of promoting civil rights. None of the speakers suggested areas in the
Executive's FY12 Recommended Budget that could be reduced to make up for the loss of the
projected $1.27 million savings from the BilL
Issues
1.
What is the fiscal and economic impact of the Bill?
The OMB Fiscal Impact Statement projects $1.27 million savings in FY12 from the Bill.
Projected savings in FY13 and beyond would increase to $1.4 million. See ©12-14. All of the
savings would come from eliminating all positions in the Office of Human Rights except the
Director, 4 investigators, and a Manager III in FY12. The Office currently has 17 positions. As
the current caseload is eliminated, the Manager III and 2 of the investigators would be eliminated
during FY12 or FYI3. The reduction in staff is directly attributed to reducing the agency's
enforcement jurisdiction and eliminating responsibility for testing of housing providers.
2. Would the Bill leave Montgomery County residents without a reasonable remedy for a
discrimination claim?
As of March 15,2011, HRC reported a pending caseload of 428 cases.
1
See ©48. HRC
reported that 173 ofthese cases are within the exclusive jurisdiction ofHRC and would continue
to be enforced by HRC under the Bill. The remaining 60% of pending cases are subject to the
jurisdiction of State and Federal agencies. Employment discrimination cases make up 78% of
the current caseload. HRC reports that they receive, on average, 200 new cases each year. HRC
was unable to report the average number of cases closed each year.
HRC investigates cases, offers mediation services, and provides an adjudicatory hearing
2
for cases where it finds probable cause after investigation. HRC was unable to provide actual
statistics for the percentage of cases where they found no probable cause. However, HRC
estimated that approximately 5% of the complaints investigated result in a finding of probable
cause based upon the statistics published by the EEOC. See answer 7 of the OCE follow-up
questions at ©52. Hearings may be conducted by one of the hearing examiners in the Council's
Office of Zoning and Administrative Hearings or by a Case Review Board made up of 3 Human
HRC includes cases where the agency's decision is on appeal in the Courts as "pending" cases even though the
agency has completed its work. See answer 6 to OCE follow-up questions at ©52.
2
HRC was unable to provide statistics on how many cases went to hearing over the last 5 years, but estimated that
approximately 12 cases are heard each year. See answer 8 to OCE follow-up questions at ©52.
I
3
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Rights Commissioners. The Commission can award damages and attorney's fees to a prevailing
party. The final administrative decision is subject to judicial review on the record in the Circuit
Court.
Many of the witnesses at the public hearing pointed out that the MCHR and EEOC
offices are in Baltimore. Although a trip to Baltimore is ultimately necessary to file with
MCHR, a complaint can be started online. A complaint filed with the MCHR must be
investigated by the Executive Director.
If
the Executive Director finds probable cause to believe
the law was violated and conciliation is unsuccessful, the parties can elect to have an
administrative hearing before a hearing examiner to determine liability and, if necessary, award
damages and attorney's fees. Either party can elect to have the case tried in the Circuit Court
instead of an administrative hearing. The MCHR General Counsel will prosecute the case before
either the agency or the circuit court on behalf of the complainant. A complaint filed with the
EEOC is investigated by the agency. The EEOC will make a finding of probable cause or no
probable cause. The EEOC offers mediation. Although the EEOC can file suit on behalf of a
complainant, this is unusual. Regardless of the result of the EEOC investigation, the agency will
issue the complainant a right to sue letter authorizing a suit in State or Federal Court.
Md. State Gov't Article §20-1202 authorizes a person subjected to a discriminatory act
prohibited by the Montgomery County Human Rights Law to file an original action in the
Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville. The plaintiff is entitled to a jury trial and the
Circuit Court can award damages and attorney's fees. A complainant may file suit in the Circuit
Court no sooner than 45 days after filing a complaint with HRC and no later than 2 years after
the alleged discriminatory act took place. A complainant may file suit within this timeline even
if the HRC is in the process of investigating the claim. A Circuit Court suit will stop the HRC
investigation.
A prevailing plaintiff under any of these options is entitled to attorney's fees and costs.
A plaintiff is automatically entitled to attorney's fees and costs if he or she prevails in court or
obtains a settlement from the defendant. The Court will award attorney's fees based upon an
hourly rate and the time worked by the attorney. If the parties are unable to settle on the
appropriate amount of attorney's fees, the court will make the final decision after a hearing. A
plaintiff is entitled to additional attorney's fees for the attorney's time spent litigating over the
amount of attorney's fees. Attorney's fees can often be more than the judgment or settlement
obtained by the plaintiff. Costs include filing fees and deposition costs. The statutory right to
attorney's fees makes it possible for a plaintiff with a good case to obtain an attorney to
investigate and prosecute the case without paying for all of the attorney's time on an hourly basis
as the case progresses. Attorneys who specialize in handling plaintiff discrimination cases judge
the potential merits of a case before accepting the work because the likelihood of getting paid is
significantly diminished if the case has no merit. Although there are always exceptions in
practice, a plaintiff with a meritorious case can find a competent attorney.
In
fact, the most
likely reason for a plaintiff having difficulty finding an attorney under this system is a lack of
merit in the case.
Filing a case in State or Federal Court has two advantages for a plaintiff over an
administrative hearing before the HRC. First, the plaintiff is entitled to extensive discovery in
court through interrogatories, requests for production of documents, and depositions. This
discovery significantly enhances the ability to obtain sufficient evidence at trial. Second, the
4
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case can be tried before a jury. Prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1991, Title VII cases in Federal
Court were tried before a judge. Since Congress authorized jury trials and compensatory
damages in discrimination cases, the number of cases filed and the verdicts awarded has
exploded.
The Bill would limit HRC enforcement jurisdiction to cases alleging discrimination in
violation of County law that is not covered by State or Federal law. HRC provides a significant
public service through its enforcement of State and Federal law. However, a complainant would
continue to have several reasonable alternative remedies for these cases if the Bill is enacted.
3. Should the Council enact the Bill?
The HRC investigation, mediation, and adjudicatory functions are valuable services to
County residents. However, the continuation of this service must be balanced against the
County's need to provide other important services that are not duplicated by the State or Federal
Government. For example, after receiving a 25% reduction in FYIl, the Executive's
Recommended FYl2 Budget would reduce funding for public libraries another 9.7%. The
Executive has also proposed significant reductions for all County employee retirement, health,
vision, dental, and prescription drug benefits.
The Organizational Reform Commission recommended eliminating the Office of Human
Rights and directing all discrimination complaints to the MCHR, the EEOC, or to the Circuit
Court. Complaints alleging a violation unique to County law would have to be filed in the
Circuit Court. The Bill makes a reasonable compromise by retaining HRC jurisdiction over
cases alleging a violation unique to County law and eliminating jurisdiction over claims that also
violate State or Federal law. OMB estimates that this Bill would save $1.27 million each year.
This would be a structural change that can help reduce the County's structural budget deficit.
Although HRC does not have accurate statistics on the number of cases where the Director found
probable cause each year, HRC estimated that they found probable cause in 5% of the 200
complaints received each year, or 10. Based upon HRC's estimate that 60% ofits pending cases
allege State or Federal claims, the Bill would force approximately 6 of these 10 complainants to
use an alternative State or Federal remedy each year.
The testimony in opposition to the Bill at the public hearing was impressive. Many
community and civil rights leaders made strong arguments for retaining HRC jurisdiction over
complaints alleging discrimination in violation of State or Federal law. However, none of the
speakers pointed to another area of the Executive'S Recommended FY12 Budget that should be
reduced to make up for the $1.27 million savings lost by not enacting the Bill. The testimony
from the Chair ofthe MCHR opposing the Bill because the State of Maryland could not afford to
handle additional discrimination complaints from Montgomery County was especially
frustrating. Council staff recommendation: approve the Bill as introduced.
4. Should the Office of Human Rights be combined into the Office of Community
Engagement?
The Executive proposed creating a single appropriation in the budget for the Office of
Human Rights, the Office of the Commission for Women, the Office of Community
5
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Partnerships, and the Regional Service Centers. This issue will be discussed in detail in the
packet on the Executive's proposed Office of Community Engagement.
Circle
#
This packet contains:
1
Expedited Bill 5-11
7
Legislative Request Report
Executive's ORC Recommendations Memo - February 21,2011
8
Executive's March 1 Bill Memo
10
12
Fiscal Impact Statement
Anti-Discrimination Laws Chart
15
Public Hearing Testimony
County Executive
16
18
Montgomery County Human Rights Commission
19
Montgomery County Committee on Hate/Violence
22
NAACP
24
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity
27
National Association of Human Rights Workers
28
Montgomery County Muslim Council
30
Maryland Commission on Human Relations
32
Odessa Shannon
Ruby Rubens
34
Former Delegate Saqib Ali
36
Gwen D'Souza
37
TerryVann
39
40
Richard Allen
42
Henry Montes
Alan Banov
45
Montgomery County Office of Human Rights
48
Combined Case Status Report
OCE Follow-up Questions and Answers
49
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Expedited Bill No.
-=-5-~1c'-1
_ _
~~_
Concerning: Office of Human Rights ­
Human
Rights
Commission
Reorganization
Revised: March 7, 2011 Draft No.
L
Introduced:
March 8, 2011
Expires:
September 8,2012
Enacted: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Executive: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Effective: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Sunset Date: _--:-_--::_ _ __
Ch. _ _, Laws of Mont. Co. _ __
COUNTY COUNCIL
FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
By: Council President at the Request of the County Executive
AN EXPEDITED ACT to:
(1)
revise the jurisdiction of the Human Rights Commission;
(2)
provide for the disposition of certain cases currently pending before the Office of
Human Rights and the Human Rights Commission; and
(3)
generally amend County law related to the Human Rights Commission and the
County's Human Rights law.
By amending
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 27, Human Rights and Civil Liberties
Sections 27-2,27-4,27-5,27-7, and 27-26A
By adding
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 27, Human Rights and Civil Liberties
Section 27-4A
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Double underlining
[[Double boldface brackets]]
Heading or a defined term.
Added to existing law by original bill.
Deleted from existing law by original bill.
Added by amendment.
Deleted from existing law or the bill by amendment.
Existing law unaffected by bill.
***
The County Council for }.1ontgomery County, l\1aryland, approves the following act:
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Expedited Bill 5-11
1
Sec.
1.
Sections 27-2, 27-4, 27-5, 27-7, and 27-26A are amended and
Section 27-4A is added as follows:
27-2. Commission membership and case review boards.
2
3
4
*
*
*
5
6
7
(b)
Commission case review boards.
(1) The Commission must appoint a case reVIew board of 3
individuals to consider and decide each complaint that is within
its jurisdiction and that the director certifies to the Commission.
The director promptly must certify a complaint to the
Commission after the director determines under Section
27-7(f)
whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that the
respondent violated this Chapter, if:
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
*
27-4. Office of Human Rights.
*
*
*
*
(b)
(l)
*
16
17
The County Executive may assign additional staff to assist the
Commission in carrying out this article. The Commission may,
with the approval of the County Executive, engage the services
of volunteer workers and volunteer consultants, who, subject to
appropriations, may be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses
incurred in performing volunteer services. Services of an
individual as a volunteer worker or consultant must not be
considered as service of employment in any merit system of the
county or state.
*
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
*
*
(4)
Before a complaint is certified to the Commission under
Sections
27-7(f)(2)
or (g)( 4), the director may investigate,
(j)
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Expedited Bill 5-11
28
resolve, or conciliate the complaint if the complaint alleges
£!
violation of this article that is subject to the jurisdiction of the
Commission under Section 27-4A(b).
29
30
31
32
*
27-4A. Commission jurisdiction.
*
*
33
34
35
The Commission must handle any complaint for violation of the County's
human rights laws under this Chapter as follows:
Uti
For
£!
complaint that alleges
£!
discriminatory act that is also prohibited
under State or Federal law, the Commission must:
36
37
ill
advise the complainant of the right to file, after 45 days,
£!
legal
action in the appropriate State court under Section 20-1202 of
the State Government Article of the Maryland Code;
38
39
40
41
ill
ill
ill
(hl
advise the complainant of the right to file the complaint with
the applicable State or Federal agency;
notify the complainant that the Commission will take no further
action with respect to the resolution of the complaint; and
provide the complainant with any other appropriate information
concerning
£!
potential resolution of the complaint.
42
43
44
45
46
For
£!
complaint that only alleges discriminatory acts that are not
prohibited
Qy
State or Federal law, the Commission must:
47
48
49
50
ill
advise the complainant of the right to file, after 45 days,
£!
legal
action in the appropriate State court under Section 20-1202 of
the State Government Article of the Maryland Code; and
51
52
53
54
ill
(a)
process the complaint to resolution under this article.
27-5. Duties generally.
The Commission must:
*
*
*
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Expedited Bill 5-11
55
56
57
58
59
(9)
Subject to Section 27-4A, [Initiate] handle, initiate, and receive
complaints of discrimination, prejudice, intolerance, and
bigotry from any person or group because of race, color, sex,
age, marital status, religious creed, ancestry, national origin,
disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic status,
presence of children, family responsibilities or source of
income, that deprives that person or group of equal rights,
protection, or opportunity in employment, real estate, and
public accommodation. The Commission must:
60
61
62
63
64
65
*
(a)
*
*
27-7. Administration and enforcement.
66
67
68
Filing complaints.
Any person sUbjected to a discriminatory act or
practice in violation of this Article or any group or person seeking to
enforce this Article may file with the Director a written complaint,
sworn to or affirmed under the penalties of perjury, that must state:
(1)
(2)
the particulars of the alleged violation;
the name and address of the person alleged to have committed
the violation; and
(3)
any other information required by law or regulation.
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
A complaint must allege facts under oath to state
£!
violation of this
Article.
*
*
*
27-26A. Coordination of fair housing activities.
78
79
80
The [director] County Executive must assign
£!
person or department to
coordinate the activities of all County departments, offices, and agencies to prevent
discrimination in housing and test compliance with housing discrimination laws.
The [director] assigned person or department must designate a staff member at an
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Expedited Bill 5-11
82
83
84
85
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87
88
appropriate managerial level as the County's fair housing coordinator. After
consulting appropriate County officials and private citizens, the [Commission]
assigned person or department must:
*
Sec. 2. Transition
*
*
This Act does not invalidate any action taken by the Office of Human Rights
before this Act takes effect. This Act takes precedence over any provision in
existing regulations that is in conflict with this Act.
Any case pending before the Commission at the time this Act takes effect
must be adjudicated by the Commission under the provisions of Chapter 27 in
effect on June 30, 201
I.
Any case pending before the Office of Human Rights for investigation and
conciliation at the time this Act takes effect must be handled as follows:
(a)
For a case that alleges a discriminatory act that is also prohibited by
State or Federal law:
(1)
if the applicable statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit will
not have expired as of January 1, 2012, the Director must
advise the complainant to transfer the matter to the appropriate
State or Federal agency or to file a legal action in a court of
competent jurisdiction;
(2)
if the applicable statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit will
expire before January 1, 2012, the Director must complete the
processing of the complaint in accordance with the provisions
of Chapter 27 in effect before the amendments made by this Act
and the Commission must adjudicate the complaint.
(b)
Except for a case provided for under subsection (a), a case that the
Commission retains jurisdiction over under Section 27-4A(b) must be
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90
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102
103
104
105
106
107
108
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Expedited Bill 5-11
109
110
111
112
processed under the provisions of this Act.
Sec. 3.
Expedited Effective Date.
IS
The Council declares that this legislation
necessary for the immediate
protection of the public interest. This Act takes effect on July 1,2011.
Approved:
113
114
115
116
Valerie Ervin, President, County Council
Date
117
118
119
Approved:
120
Isiah Leggett, County Executive
Date
121
122
123
124
This is a correct copy ofCouncil action.
Linda M. Lauer, Clerk ofthe Council
Date
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LEGISLATIVE REQUEST REPORT
Expedited Bill 5-11
Office of Human Rights - Human Rights Commission - Reorganization
DESCRIPTION:
The Bill would amend the Human Rights Law to modify the
jurisdiction of the Human Rights Commission. The Commission
would retain the authority to hear and decide matters involving areas
of discrimination that are not within the jurisdiction of State and
Federal agencies. The Office of Human Rights would continue to
investigate and conciliate complaints over which the Commission
would retain jurisdiction. The Commission would handle all
complaints so that a person would retain the right to file a legal action
in state court under state law. The Commission would refer those
complaints over which the Commission would not retain jurisdiction
to federal or State agencies or advise that suit be filed.
The County Human Rights law covers a number of areas that are
Performing these
duplicative of State and Federal authority.
duplicate functions leads to a significant expense on the part of the
County. The current budget shortfall requires significant reductions,
and eliminating this duplication of effort will aid in that effort.
Modify the authority of the Human Rights Commission to preserve
the Commission's jurisdiction over matters that are unique to County
law, while reducing the overall budget for the operation of the
Commission.
Human Rights Commission and Office of the County Attorney.
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be requested.
Not applicable.
Fariba Kassiri, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer
Erin
J.
Ashbarry, Office of the County Attorney
Not applicable.
PROBLEM:
GOALS AND
OBJECTIVES:
COORDINATION:
FISCAL IMPACT:
ECONOMIC
IMPACT:
EVALUATION:
EXPERIENCE
ELSEWHERE:
SOURCE OF
INFORMATION:
APPLICA TION
WITHIN
MUNICIPALITIES:
PENAL TIES:
Not Applicable.
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OFFICE OF THE COUNTY EXECUTIVE
Isiah Leggett
ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND 2OSS()
County Executive
MEMORANDUM
February 21.2011
TO:
FROM:
Valerie Ervin. President, County
counc~.r::::::?
Isiah
Leggett, County
ExeCUtiV~
~
SUBJECT: Organizational RefOlm Commission Recommendations
This memorandum provides the County Council with my recommendations
regarding the final report of
the
Organizational Reform Commission (ORC) which was
released on January 31,2011. I am deeply grateful to all ofthe ORC members, who were
very generous in volunteering their time and expertise .and spent hundreds of hours in
developing the report. As the attached materials indicate, I am supportive of most of the
ORC recommendations and urge the Council
to
approve the recommendations as outlined
in my attached response.
The Commission
has
acknowledged that implementing its recommendations
will
be
difficult, time consuming and complex. However, this is not a sufficient
justification for failing to undertake the implementation effort. In addition, the
controversy and opposition that some of these recommendations have engendered are
also not alone a basis for rejecting the recommendations. Challenging the status quo will
always provoke opposition from entrenched interests and those not willing to undertake
necessary changes. At a time when we have requested that our residents shoulder
increases in taxes (Le. the energy, telephone and property taxes) and we have reduced
several important public safety and safety net services, and reduced funding for
education, we owe it to the taxpayers ofthis County to undertake the arduous task of
further restructuring our government in order to achieve every possible efficiency and
savings. Furthermore, my Fiscal Year 2012 Recommended Operating Budget is very
likely to include additional reductions to many vital programs and services. To ignore
possible long-term savings at this critical time would be a disservice to our taxpayers.
I realize that a majority of the County Council
has
already indicated that at
this time they do not support State legislation that would enable the Council to merge
Park Police and County Police if it later chose to do so. This legislation is a necessary
first step in implementing one of the most prominent recommendations of the ORC -. i.e.,
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Valerie Ervin, President, County Council
Page 2
February 21, 2011
a merger of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC)
Park Police with the County Police Department.
l
The Council's recent action was not
taken in the context of the broader ORC report, this recommendation and the upcoming
March 15
th
budget recommendations. Unfortunately, the Council will have
to
make
extremely difficult decisions in the FY12 budget deliberations, including reductions to
services and programs, cuts in staffing levels, and possibly significant changes
to
pay and
benefits for County employees. As I stated at the time that the Council discussed
the
proposed State legislation, I do not believe it was prudent for the Council to reject that
potential merger, and the savings and efficiencies that would arise from that merger,
before it fully evaluates all of the implications of that decision
in
the context of all ofthe
issues that relate to the FY12 operating budget.
I respectfully urge you to comprehensively evaluate the ORC
recommendations along with my recommendations and the implications for the FY 12
budget and beyond. My staff and I stand ready to work with you to ensure that the
efficiency and effectiveness of County Government is maximized.
Attachments
copies:
.
Organizational Refonn Commission Members
Stephen B. Farber, County Council Staff Director
Christopher S. Barclay, President, Board of Education
Dr. Jerry D. Weast, Superintendent, Montgomery County Public School
Jerry Robinson, Acting Executive Director, Housing Opportunities Commission
Francoise Carrier, Chair, Montgomery County Planning Board
DeRionne P. Pollard, Ph.D., President, Montgomery College
Jerry N. Johnson, General Manager/CEO, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission
Executive Branch Department and Office Directors
Fariba Kassiri, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer
Jennifer Hughes, Special Assistant to the County Executive
MC/PO
1/2-11 -
Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission-County Police Authority,
Metropolitan District Tax, and Transfer ofProperty
I
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OFFICE OF THE COUNTY EXECUTIVE
lsiah Leggett
County Executive
ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND 20850
MEMORANDUM
March 1,2011
TO:
FROM:
SUBJECT:
Human Rights Commission - Reorganization
I am forwarding to the Council, for its consideration, legislation that re-orients the
focus of the County's Human Rights law by eliminating the duplicatiori of effort that currently
exists between the enforcement functions of the County's Office of HUman Rights and the
Commission on Human Rights and comparable enforcement functions of Maryland and federal
human rights agencies. I have reached the difficult decision
to
recommend this legislation only
because ofthe urgent need to reduce County expenditures to help close the projected $300
million gap for the FY12 budget.
The Montgomery County Organizational Reform Commission (ORC)
recommended that the adjudicatory role of the Human Rights Commission be moved to the state
and federal governments. I have concluded that the ORC recommendation goes too far, and have
recommended legislation that I believe strikes an appropriate balance in preserving the rights of
County residents under the County's Human Rights law with the need to reduce County
expenditures.
The attached legislation changes the authority of the Human Rights Commission
to adjudicate only those cases that allege a violation ofthe County's Human Rights law that are
unique to Montgomery County. The Office of Human Rights will investigate and attempt to
conciliate those cases that assert an act of discrimination that is unique to Montgomery County
under the County's Human Rights law. Since the number of cases thllt will be handled by the
Office of Human Rights will be greatly reduced, the size ofthe office may be reduced, which
should provide the County with a reduction in expenditures.
For complaints that allege a discriminatory act that is also prohibited under state
or federal law , the Commission must handle the complaint by advising the complainant of the
right to file a legal action in state court under the state human rights law or to file a complaint
with the applicable state or federal enforcement agency. A complainant will retain the right to
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Valerie Ervin, President
March 1,2011
Page
2
enforce
all
aspects of the County's
Human
Rights law, including provisions that prohibit acts of
discrimination that are not unique to the County, through the state court system.
I
have long been, and continue to be, in full support ofthe County's Human
Rights law. Nevertheless, the urgent need to reduce County expenditures has led me to conclude
that it is necessary to make these painful revisions to the mission ofthe Human Rights
Commission.
I
believe this legislation strikes the appropriate balance in preserving the rights of
County residents under the County's
Human
Rights law with the need to reduce County
expenditures.
IL:tjs
Attachment
®
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OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
Isiah Leggett
County Executive
Joseph
F.
Beach
Director
MEMORANDUM
March
29, 201 I
TO:
FROM:
SUBJECT:
Valerie Ervin, PreSidel[0un Council
Joseph F. Beach, Direc
Bm 04-1 I, Commission
r
Women - Reorganization
Bill 05-11,
Office of Human Rigbts - Human Rights Commission - Reorganization
The purpose of this memorandum is to transmit a fiscal and economic impact statement
to the Council on the subject legislation.
LEGISLATION SUMMARY
Bill
04-11 would eliminate the Office of the Commission for Women, reallocate certain
functions of the Office and provide staff support for the Commission for Women, and generally amend
the law concerning the Commission for Women.
Bill 05-11 changes the authority of the Human Rights Commission to adjudicate only
those cases that allege a violation of tbe County's Human Rights law that are unique
to
Montgomery
County. The Office of Human Rights will investigate and attempt to conciliate those cases that assert an
act of discrimination that is unique
to
Montgomery County under the County's Human Rights law. Since
the number of cases that will be handled by the Office ofHuman Rights will
be
greatly
reduced., the size
of the office may be reduced, Which should provide the County with a reduction in expenditures.
For complaints that allege a discriminatory act that is also prohibited under state or federal law, the
Commission must handle the complaint by advising the complainant ofthe right
to
file a legal action
in
state court under the state human rights law or to file a complaint with the applicable state or federal
enforcement agency. A complainant will retain the right to enforce all aspects of the County's Human
Rights law, including provisions that prohibit acts of discrimination that are not unique
to
the County,
through the state court system
FISCAL SUMMARY
The fiscal impact of the subject legislation is shown below for both the Office of
the
Commission for Women and the Office of Human Rights.
Bill 4-11
would eliminate the Office of the Commission for Women, but would require that
the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) designate appropriate staff to support the Commission. The
chart below shows the savings from the elimination ofthe Office, but shows the resources that may be
required
to
continue to support the Commission. Continued support for the Commission could be at
Office of the Director
101 Monroe Street, 14th Floor' Rockville, Maryland 20850 • 240-777-2800
www.moutgomerycountymd.gov
@
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Valerie Ervin, President, County Council
March 29, 2011
Page 2
varying levels based on the needs of the Commission, the judgment of the CAO as
to
the level of support
that was appropriate, and available resources. The analysis below assumes that ongoing support would be
provided through a Manager I position and an Administrative Specialist I (grade 18).
FY12
. FY13
-FY14
FYIS
FY16
FYI7
Total
Ellmamate
Offke
of
Commision forWomea
Penronnel CQ$t$
Operating
Expense
($787,7;JO}
(SSI,SSO)
($Sfi9,610)
(sa69,610)
($861),610)
($869,610)
($86',610)
($Sfi9,610)
($5,117,6(10)
RetainSnpporU'or,tbe·CommisJion(as
nqolnd·lInder,proposed MCCJ.7.18(e)
Manager I (LO WY)
Administrative Specialist (1.0
WY)
.
..
~
~
~
$203,840
$68,890
11"0;250
5282,980
(SS86,63O)
5203,840
$68,890
"S1O,2§O
52&2,980
(S586,63O)
$203,840
$68,890
"t1O.2S0
$2&2,980
($586,630)
$203,840
$68,890
"$11);250
$2&2,980
($S86,63O)
$203,840
$68,890
110;250
5282,980
(SS86,630)
$203,840
$68,890
"$10,250
S282,'80
(SS86,63O)
$1,113,04&
$413,340
$61;500
n,697,880
($3,519,780)
Exjl0llses
Total
Net Fiscal Impact
Bill 5-11 would not eliminate the Office of Human Rights, but would reduce the caseload
for the Office by requiring the Office to investigate, conciliate, and adjudicate before the Commission a
case alleging only discriminatory acts that do not violate State or Federal law. The fIscal impact shown
below replicates the recommendation in the County Executive's Recommended Budget in that all
positions
in
the Office of Human Rights are eliminated with the exception of the Director. a Manager
and four investigators. Of the four investigators retained, two will serve for 12 months and continue with
the Office for FYI3-17 and two will serve for six months. The Manager III will serve for four months and
will be abolished on
11/1/11.
m.
Office of Human RiglJts"
Pel'Hnnel Costs
0.perating Expense
FYI2
(S1,171,480)
($1.143,250)
($I28,,230)
FYI3**
($1,406,J60)
FYI4
($1,406,360)
-FY15
(Sl,406.,360)
FY16
($1,406,360)
FVl7
(SI,4()6,360)
Total
($8,303,180)
'" Reduction in personnel and related resources iffocus ofOffice
was
shifted
to
only investigate. conciliate, and adjudicate
before the Commission a case alleging only discriminatory acts
that
do
not violate State or Federal law.
... Savings increase
in
IT13-17 because two investigator positions and a Manager
ill
position are
retained for part ofFY12, but
abolished during
the
fisC81
year. The
additional
savinp
are
reflected in FY13-17.
The subject legislation would support the County Executive's proposal
to
consolidate the
Office of the Commission for Women and the Office of Human Rights with the five Regional Services
Center, the Office of Community Partnerships (currently in the Offices of the County Executive), and the
Recreation Department's Gilchrist Center and create the Office of Community Engagement. This multi­
department reorganization
will
streamline operations of the affected departments and provide greater
coordination in the County's efforts to reach out and engage the local community in solving public
problems. As the chart below indicates, this reorganization
will
result
in
ongoing savings estimated at
$2.8 million annually and cumulative savings of nearly $17.5 million over
six
years.
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Valerie ElVin, President, County Council
March 29. 2011
Page 3
Regional Services Center
FY12
(5815.,390)
FYI3
($815,390)
FYI4
($815.,390)
"ll'Ytr
($815,39.)
FY1Ci
($815,390)
FYI7
($815,390)
ToW
($4,892,340)
Personnel Costs
Operating Expense
Of'tke
of HumRo Rights·
($696,060)
(SI19,330)
(51,271,480)
(Sl,406,3tiO)
($:1,4",360)
($1,406,360)
(51,486,360)
($1,416,360)
($8,303,238)
Personnel Costs
Operating Expense
00"1« ofCommisiol1 for
Women
-Personnel
eosts
($1,143,250)
($128.230)
($586,630)
(5586.630)
($586,630)
($58U.630)
($58/i.630)
(558U,63Il)
(51,519,780)
Opera(illg Expense
(S6-3,650)
(S522,980)
omce
of Community
Parmerhsip
Personnel
Costs
Operating
Expense
Gralld Total
PersollRel Costs
OperatiDg Expense
(5119,070)
(5119,070)
($119,070)
($119,070)
($119,810)
($119,070)
(5714,4:20)
(S84,070)
($35,000)
($2,79:2,570)
(SI ,987,030)
(5805,S40)
(S1,917,450)
($2.917,450)
(S2,9l7.450)
($2,917,450)
($2,917,450)
($17,429,820)
iNote: Projections assume no
growth
in salaries or benefit costs FY13-11 and that abolished positions are
not
reinslBted
*
Savings
increase ill FY
13-17
becanse investigator
positiollS
and a Manager
m
position
are retained fur
part
ofFY12,
but
abolished during the fiscal year. The
additional
savings are reffected in
FYi)-l1.
The following contributed to and concurred with this analysis: Beryl Feinberg and Philip
Weeda ofthe Office ofManagement and Budget and Fariba Kassiri of the Offices ofthe County
Executive.
JFB:pw
c: Kathleen Boucher, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer
Fariba Kassiri, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer
Lisa Austin, Offices of the County Executive
Beryl Feinberg, Office ofManagement and Budget
Brady Goldsmith, Office ofManagement and Budget
John Cuff, Office ofManagement and Budget
Philip Weeda, Office of Management and Budget
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Anti-Discrimination Provisions in Federal, State, and Montgomery
County Law
Protected Group
Age
Disability
Genetic Information
National Origin
Race
I
Color
Religion
Sex
I
Marital Status
Sexual Orientation
Presence of Children
I
Family Responsibilities
Source of Income
Gender Identity
Ancestry
Federal
!./
l
State
./
./
./
./
./
./
./
./
./
./
2
County3
./
./
./
./
./
./
./
./
./
./
./
./
./
./
./
./
./
./
./
./
./
./
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covers employers with 15 or more employees.
2
The Maryland employment discrimination law covers employees with 15 or more employees.
3
The County Human Rights law covers all County employers with any number of employees.
1
Title
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Expedited Bill 5-11
Office of Human Rights, Human Rights Commission - Reorganization
Public Hearing
March 29, 2011
Good evening. My name is Fariba Kassiri. I am an Assistant Chief Administrative Officer with
the Office of the County Executive and I am testifying tonight on behalf of the County Executive
in support of Bill 5-11.
This bill re-orients the focus ofthe County's human rights law by eliminating the duplication of
effort that currently exists between the enforcement functions of the County's Office of Human
Rights and the Commission on Human Rights and comparable enforcement functions of
Maryland and federal human rights agencies. The County Executive made the difficult decision
to recommend this legislation only because of the urgent need to reduce County expenditures to
help close the projected $300 million gap for the FY12 budget.
As background for this bill, it is important to note that the current functions of the Office of
Human Rights include: (1) receipt, investigation, and conciliation of complaints that allege
intimidation or discrimination in housing, commercial real estate, employment, and public
accommodation in violation of County, State, or federal law; (2) public relations, outreach and
education; and (3) monitoring the County's Fair Housing law.
The Organizational Reform Commission (ORC) recommended that the adjudicatory role of the
Human Rights Commission be moved to the State and federal governments. The County
Executive concluded that the ORC recommendation went too far, and recommended the bill
before you because he wanted to strike an appropriate balance between preserving the rights of
County residents under the County's human rights law and the need to reduce County
expenditures.
Bill 5-11 narrows the jurisdiction of the Human Rights Commission to those cases that allege the
types of discrimination that are unique to the County's human rights law, as opposed to the
Commission's current jurisdiction, which includes cases alleging.discrimination prohibited by
County, State or Federal law. For clarity, the following is a list of discriminatory acts whose
prohibition is unique to the County:
(1)
discrimination on the basis of family responsibilities in employment, housing or
commercial real estate;
(2) discrimination on the basis of gender identity in employment, housing, commercial
real estate or public accommodations;
(3) discrimination on the basis of source of income in housing or commercial real estate;
(4) discrimination on the basis of age where the complainant is less than 40 years old in
employment, housing, commercial real estate, or public accommodation;
(5) discrimination in employment by employers with less than 15 employees (on the basis
of race, color, religious creed, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual
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orientation, gender identity, family responsibilities, or genetic status);
(6) discrimination in commercial real estate on the basis of race, color, religious creed,
ancestry, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, presence of children, family
responsibilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, or age; and
(7)
alleged acts of intimidation against any person on the basis of race, religion, national
origin, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
The Office of Human Rights (at the direction of the Human Rights Commission) will continue to
investigate and attempt to conciliate these types of cases.
For complaints that allege a discriminatory act that is also prohibited under State or federal law,
the Commission will handle the complaint by advising the complainant of the right to file a legal
action in State Circuit Court under the State human rights law or to file a complaint with the
applicable State or federal enforcement agency. A complainant will retain the right to enforce all
aspects of the County's human rights law, including provisions that prohibit acts of
discrimination that are not unique to the County, through the State court system.
Under the bill, the Office of Human Rights will continue to have public relations, outreach and
education functions. However, under the County Executive's FY12 recommended budget, the
office will have access to a larger pool of resources within the Office of Community Engagement
for the efficient handling of these functions.
The bill transfers responsibility for monitoring the County's fair housing law to DHCA, which
would continue to forward the Fair Housing Testing Report to the Human Rights Commission
for action. If appropriate, the Commission would file a formal complaint with the Office of
Human Rights based of the testing report.
Because the Office of Human Rights will handle significantly fewer cases under this bill and its
outreach, education, and back-office functions will be collaboratively handled by staff in the
Office of Community Engagement, the size of the office has been reduced in the County
Executive's recommended FY12 budget. This reduction results in a savings of$1.2 million,
which is part of the total $2.8 million savings that is achieved by creation of the Office of
Community Engagement.
The Office of Human Right would continue to report to the Office of County Executive.
The County Executive has been, and continues to be, in full support of the County's human
rights law. Nevertheless, the urgent need to reduce County expenditures led him to conclude that
it is necessary to make these painful revisions to the mission of the Human Rights Commission.
He believes that this legislation strikes the appropriate balance between preserving the rights of
County residents and reducing County expenditures.
I look forward to working with the Council as it considers this legislation.
Thank you.
2
@
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15
Montgomery County Council Public Hearing - Bill 5-11, March 29, 2011
Oral Testimony of Betsy Jett, representing the Montgomery County Human Rights Commission
As the largest County in the State of Maryland and the most diverse, Montgomery County serves as a leader and
role model on issues of both local and national importance. We believe the County's continued commitment to
human rights should be clear and unequivocal.
The Commission urges the Council to:
• reject proposed amendments to the County Code that would narrow its jurisdiction, and
• commit to an organizational structure and budget that enables the Commission and the Office of
Human Rights to effectively carry out all of their duties
as
described in Chapter 27.
In
the interest of time,
I
will refer you to our written testimony for an expanded discussion that clarifies important
points relevant to tonight's topic. I hope you will read it; it is critical to understanding the adverse consequences
that will most certainly result from the proposed legislation.
The Commission is very concerned about the likely negative impact of narrowing its jurisdiction.
While it is true that, legally, many of our cases could be handled by State or Federal government, practically, the
barriers to filing will make it extremely difficult for residents to exercise their rights.
• Travel to Baltimore will be a hardship each time a complainant has to appear. The round trip is 2 or more
hours by car and up to 5 or 6 hours by public transportation.
• Then there is the very long wait before their case is even processed. The State tells us their systems could
be crippled by the addition of Montgomery County's workload.
• Some complainants mistrust big government and will chose not to exercise their rights.
• Differences in our federal, state and local laws could lead to significantly different financial outcomes in
the awarding of damages, relief, and civil penalties.
• In
the end, many complainants will give up before they even
try.
Legitimate complaints will go unheard
and unresolved.
• Montgomery County could become the place where those who violate the human rights of others know
they can get away with it.
In addition, we are concerned about the impact of eliminating the Office and shifting
its
responsibilities to
the new "Office of Community Engagement"
• The Commission appreciates the synergies that may be created by housing many offices under one roof.
However, we are concerned about losing the focus on human rights as an important responsibility of
government.
• And we are concerned about access to scarce resources in an organization with such a broad mandate.
• We are concerned about the perception that the Office has been demoted and devalued, and that the
County has less commitment to human rights than it used to.
• The term "community engagement" falls short in representing many of the activities that will be included
under the umbrella of this new entity.
If
the Council adopts this option, we strongly recommend that it be
named the "Office of Human Rights and Community Engagement".
It
is not by accident that this County is such a great place to live for such a diverse population. The Office of
Human Rights and the Commission have worked hard over the last 50 years to make that happen. Let us not
throw that away now, at a time when we desperately need to protect and preserve the human rights of our
residents. Look around you. These people are here for one reason - in hopes that they can live, work and do
business with dignity in Montgomery County and be treated fairly. They deserve it. This Council cannot afford
to let them down. The cost is too great, even in these economically challenging times.
Thank you.
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Good evening and thank you for this opportunity to speak about an important piece of
legislation before the Council: Expedited Bill 5-11. My name is David Vignolo and I am the current chair
of the Montgomery County Committee on Hate/Violence. On behalf of the citizens who serve with me
on this Committee, and your constituents whom we serve, I am here to speak
against
passage of
Expedited Bill 5-11, Reorganization of the Office of Human Rights - Human Rights Commission - as
recommended by the Organizational Reform Commission and, with certain modifications, the County
Executive.
Chapter 27 of the Montgomery County Code states that liThe County Council finds that
discrimination because of race, color, religious creed, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, marital status,
disability, genetic status, presence of children, family responsibilities, source of income, sexual
orientation, or gender identity adversely affects the health, welfare, peace, and safety of the
community. Persons subject to discrimination suffer unemployment and under employment resulting in
low family income, overcrowded housing, poor health conditions, antisocial behavior, poverty, and lack
of hope, injuring the public welfare, placing a burden upon the public treasury to ameliorate the
conditions thus produced and creating conditions which endanger the public peace and ordeLI} Further,
the County Council was clear when it included these additional words in the County Code - "The
prohibitions in this article are substantially similar, but not necessarily identical, to prohibitions in
federal and state law. The intent is to assure that a complaint filed under this article may proceed more
promptly than possible under either federal or state law."
Bill 5-11 would amend the Human Rights Law to modify the jurisdiction of the Human Rights
Commission. Under this bill, the Commission would refer those complaints over which the Commission
would not retain jurisdiction to federal or State agencies or advise that a suit be filed. If a complainant
alleged a discriminatory act that also violated State or Federal law, the Office of Human Rights
ME
David
A.
Vignola, Chair, Committee on Hate/Violence
Testimony - Public Hearing - Bill 5-11- March 29, 2011
Page 1
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would have to advise the complainant of the right to file the complaint with the Maryland
Commission on Human Relations, the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or the
appropriate Maryland Circuit Court.
with this approach.
The mission of the Maryland Commission on Human Relations is to ensure equal opportunity to
all through the enforcement of Maryland's laws against discrimination in employment, housing, and
public accommodations; to provide educational and outreach services related to the provisions of this
law; and to promote and improve human relations in Maryland. The closest field office to Montgomery
County is the main office in Baltimore. We believe that requiring those who might seek redress under
the laW -likely to also be the most vulnerable in our community and with limited resources - to possibly
have to travel to Baltimore is onerous and could be enough of a reason for some to decide to forego the
investigation and adjudication of their complaint.
In some cases, the complainant might be referred to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC).
Our Committee has a concern that because the EEOC's responsibilities and
The Committee on Hate/Violence has significant concerns
workload have generally been increasing over the years, your constituents might not be served well if
they are referred to this federal agency. In 1964, when the EEOC was established, it was responsible for
investigating employment discrimination charges relating to race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Since that time, the EEOC has become responsible for administering additional laws such as the Equal
Pay Act of 1963, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Equal Employment Act of 1972,
Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and the
Civil Rights Act of 1991. In addition to general concerns about EEOC's ability to fulfill its increased
responsibilities and greater workload, the U.S. Government Accountability Office -as well as many civil
rights organizations --have raised specific concerns about EEOC's operations. These concerns include
David
A.
Vignola, Chair, Committee on Hate/Violence
Testimony - Public Hearing - Bill 5-11 - March 29, 2011
Page 2
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the increasing time it takes EEOC to investigate and process charges, the
increa~ing
inventory of charges
awaiting investigation, and the adequacy of investigations; the high proportion of "no cause" findings,
that is, determinations that the evidence does not sufficiently support the discrimination charge; and
the limited number of litigation actions and systemic investigations initiated by the EEOC.
The Committee on Hate/Violence, which is currently administratively supported by the
professional and dedicated staff of the Office of Human Rights, shares the County Executive's concern
with the projected $300 million gap for the FY12 budget. However, we fail to see how changing the
authority of the Human Rights Commission so that it may only adjudicate those cases that allege a
violation of the County's Human Rights law that are unique to Montgomery County
'!NiII
greatly reduce
the number of cases. We are concerned that an Office of Human Rights, reduced in size but yet still
required to continue to investigate and attempt to conciliate those cases that assert an act of
discrimination that is unique to Montgomery County under the County's Human Rights law, will be able
to sufficiently serve the citizens well, at a time when they are likely most in need of County resources.
Finally, we would advocate that rather than a reduction in personnel, significant cost savings could be
achieved through continued improvements in technologies and processes so that cases are more
efficiently investigated. We believe the OHR has made significant advances in these areas over the past
several years and is poised to do more. For these reasons, the Committee on Hate/Violence respectfully
urges the County Council to reject Expedited Bill 5-11 and continue to stand with those in our
community who are the most vulnerable of our neighbors and in the most need of our protection and
support during difficult times in their lives. Thank you.
David A. Vignolo, Chair, Committee on Hate/Violence
Testimony - Public Hearing - BillS-11- March 29,2011
Page 3
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2;
NAACP Testimony at County Council Public Hearing
On
Bill 5-11, Human Rights Commission
President Ervin and Council members, I am Paul
L.
Vance, President of
the Montgomery County Branch, NAACP. On behalf of the Executive
Committee and the 1200 branch members, I am here to publically
express our opposition to, and great disappointment in bill 5-11 which
proposes to dismantle the Human Rights Commission/ Office of Human
Rights.
As you know, the NAACP is a strong advocate of human rights and has
fought for more than 102 years to protect those rights. The
Montgomery County Branch for __ years has worked hand-in-hand
with the county to support and ensure compliance with civil and
human rights laws. We have worked to encourage equity in planning
and implementation of policies to avoid discrimination. Our officers and
members are committed to ensuring that no regression occurs in the
currently available human rights protections for the residents of
Montgomery County. The County and its public servants along with
community groups, help to maintain the county's reputation for
diversity and tolerance of different cultures and beliefs. The passage of
bill 5-11 would surely have a negative impact on the progress that our
county and its residents have made over several decades.
We recommend that the law enforcement function be retained in the
Office of Human Rights, to ensure compliance that is untainted by its
employer/employee relationship with another department.
@
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We add our concern for those victims of discrimination not covered by
state or federal laws. These residents would be deprived of their civil
rights by not having full legal redress of their complaints.
We fully understand the fiscal crisis the county is facing, however, we
cannot afford to sacrifice human rights for the sake of budget
constraints and organizational reform. Given the size and diversity of
this county, we urge you to protect the county's reputation for fairness
and strong civil rights policies. To actually do so, or appear to eliminate
local access to legal redress from discrimination in housing,
employment and public accommodations would truly be a travesty and
a miscarriage of justice. The state too is experiencing cut-backs and is
not equipped to handle Montgomery County cases. They are already
required to handle cases for other counties who do not have human
rights offices. County residents also deserve better than to be thrown
into the backlog at the federal level.
Thanks you for the opportunity to come before you on an issue so
important to the residents of Montgomery County.
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Council President Valerie Ervin, ladies and gentlemen of the
Montgomery County Council, my name is Russell C. Campbell, Sr.,and
I am representing the 150 men of the Iota Upsilon Lambda Chapter of
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity in Montgomery County. We are here to
appeal to you to reject the County Executive's recommendations to
eliminate the Office of Human Right and reject the attempt to reduce the
effectiveness of the Human Rights Commission by legislation. We fully
recognize these are difficult budgetary times and feel that Montgomery
County must address these shortcomings. However, we vehemently
oppose the recommendations submitted by the County Executive's
Office pertaining to Human Rights. The Iota Upsilon Lambda Chapter
of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity feels that sacrificing the very office that
has enhanced the quality of life in Montgomery County, will-impact the
lives of our residence who have, for over 50 years, depended on the
protections the Commission and the Office of Human Rights have
provided.
Historically, the men of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity have been the
vanguard of Human Rights in our Country, State and County. Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr was an Alpha, Supreme Court Justice Thursgood
Marshall, was an Alpha, Whitney Young of the National Urban League
was an Alpha, W.E.B. Dubois, one of the Founders of the NAACP was
an Alpha. Here in Montgomery County three past Presidents of the
Montgomery County Chapter of the NAACP, George Sealy, Roscoe Nix
and Handley Norment were all Alphas as well as the current President
Paul Vance. Henry Williams, the President of the Southern Christian
Leadership Conference is an Alpha. These men committed their lives to
be an unremitting advocate of human and civil rights making our County
a beacon, shining the light of fairness upon all residents of our county.
However, the struggle for Civil Rights and Human Rights in our County
did not come easily. Beginning with the demonstrations in the 1960s at
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Glen Echo Park, resulting in the creation of the Human Rights
Commission and the Office of Human Rights--- a symbiotic relationship
between the two was formed. This relationship enables both to function
effectively as watch dogs defending our residents from all forms of
prejudice, discrimination and disparaging treatment. .
Your sitting here before us tonight was made possible because of the
climate created by and the protection afforded by these entities. Fifty
years ago there were no African Americans on this council, there were
no Hispanic Americans, there were no Jewish Americans sitting on the
Council. This only evolved because of the foundation laid by those men
and women who fought to make this happen. Council members, we
look to you to be that unremitting advocate for those who cannot fend
for themselves.
Montgomery County Planning Director Rollin Stanley said, "Those
places in American that are attractive to new people are places that will
prosper". He was speaking of the growth in Montgomery reflected in
the 2010 US Census. We implore you to fmd the resources to invest in
our people, our seniors who seek our help, our young people who see
our vision, our rich diversity who have come from all over the globe for
the promise of a better life. This is a great place to live, but,
Montgomery County is great because of the greatness of our institutions.
Council members do not be the instrument that negates that force for the
promise of living with dignity.
In
closing
I
am reminded of a song written by James Weldon Johnson
called "Lift every voice and sing". His enriching directive is assuredly
one of the mainstays of the song's mastery and endurance.
Notwithstanding, he tells us that we must persist-we must remain
vigilant " ... til victory is won." Council President Ervin, the victory is
not won;
Mr.
Leventhal, you must be that voice to protect those who
cannot protect themselves.
Mr
Riemer, you must provide hope to the
hopeless;
Mr.
Berliner, Ms Navarro,
Mr.
Andrews,
Mr.
EIrich, Ms
Floreen, we are looking to all of you, the great members of this
@
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deliberative body, to provide that protection to those who live and work
in
Montgomery County. We ask you to reject the recommendation to
eliminate the Office of Human Right and reject the attempt to reduce the
effectiveness of the Human Rights Commission by legislation. .
Thank you for your consideration
@
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23
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS WORKERS
'RESIDENT
3arbara Shannon-Banister, Ph.D
:::ity of Aurora
:::hief of Community Relations
\.urora,
CO 80012
103.739.7580
BILL 5-11 E ON THE REORGANIZATION OF THE OFFICE OF HUMAN RIGHTS
My name is Michael Fordham Dennis and I am the Atlantic Region Vice President of the National
Association of Human Rights Workers. I deliver this statement opposing Bill 5-11 E on behalf of the
National Association of Human Rights Workers, Barbara Shannon-Banister, Ph.D., President. The
National Association of Human Rights Workers is an organization founded in 1947 to provide education,
training, certification and professional development to its members.
This is the second time we have written to Montgomery County officials on the reorganization of the
Office of Human Rights. We wrote in February 2011 to oppose the recoinmendation of the ORC to
dismantle the Office and we appear now to oppose Bill 5-11 E which would significantly modify the
law enforcement duties of the Office of Human Rights.
The human rights enforcement effort in the United States of America stands on a tripod: federal enforce­
ment (EEOC, HUD), state enforcement (MCHR) and local enforcement (MCOHR). The principle here is
that each level of government will accept responsibility for the complaints that occur in its own jurisdic­
tion. Even the funding for the federal and state civil rights law enforcement agencies is based on the
assumption that local civil rights law enforcement agencies will receive, process and resolve complaints in
their respective jurisdictions. If anyone ofthe legs of this tripod is removed the enforcement effort will
collapse. BillS-lIE proposes to refer most ofthe complaints received by the Office of Human Rights to
either federal or state agencies or to state court, three entities that are already over-burdened, under-funded
and ill-prepared to accept the additional work. BillS-lIE is a declaration of war against people who have
experienced discrimination in Montgomery County because it will lengthen significantly the investigation
and resolution time for discrimination complaints. We ask why the human rights law enforcement effort
is selected for such differential treatment? Why is the enforcement of the basic rights to live, work and
tind housing being compromised?
There are some people who believe the existence offederal, state and local human rights enforcement
agencies provides a duplicate process for injured persons to file multiple complaints and receive
multiple remedies. This is an unsubstantiated belief because the enforcement agencies have formal and
informal agreements to prevent duplicate processing. Complainants have the right to file multiple
complaints to protect their procedural rights but the human rights law enforcement agencies control the
investigations in order to protect their own scarce resources and to prevent harassment. If a complainant
files suit in court the human rights law enforcement agencies generally cease their administrative process.
We presume there will be a significant reduction of the staff of the Office of Human Rights if Bill S-llE
becomes law. This reduction will probably eliminate any local human rights education and technical
assistance presence in Montgomery County. The closest state and federal human rights law
enforcement agencies (EEOC
&
MCHR) are located in Baltimore MD. The HUD regional office is
actually located in Philadelphia PA. If you believe, as we do, that an important part of human rights
law enforcement is public education, then you cannot fail to note that the deferral of complaints and the
reduction of staff will virtually eliminate any proactive human rights law education in Montgomery County
MD.
We ask you to vote against this bill and maintain the dedication to human rights law enforcement that has
been the trademark of Montgomery County MD for the last 50 years.
Respectfully submitted, Michael Fordham Dennis, MPA, PHRW
Vice President, Atlantic Region, National Association of Human Rights Workers
March 29, 2011.
<\nthony W. Wade, PhD, APM, PHR
:>resident Elect
'Jational Conference Planning Chair
300 West Washington, Street
Greensboro, NC 27402-3136
336.285.6138
\ 1111 H1L1LW_,!d
C;'
(t.:g[<,:l:ll~b
~'!{)_~!.iS:~{
'-'
Willie Ratchford
Immediate Past President
GOO
East Trade Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
704.336.2195
1\
1:{lcllll,r~~Jc~ltLtJIIc:nc.c1!:2
Ledger Morrissette, Vice President
Southern Region
704.336.2426
1111()_[[L~<;1!.C:~S: Lflla<J()l.lC:,~~'>
Michael Dennis, Vice President
Atlantic Region
301.947.4303
{ll~~Il.rlj(J~~jlI~n()va.';~.\l
Ron Church, Vice President
Midwest Region
765.983.7518
(eil
W~h
i.i;t:icl·!<:.b.{
Il(lild.
i
Il._I1.~
Veronica O. White, Vice President
Western Region
303. 249.0995
Il\~I~:~'.~'.!!.:lllSllSQ!!l
Elizabeth Mauck, Secretary
400 S. Ft. Harrison Ave., 5th FIr.
Clearwater, Florida 33756
727.464.4803
":'1.11'!_\I.c_k_[(:t:o,D_il!,,10~Jl!l:
1. LaTerrie Ward, Treasurer
P.O. Box 283
Goldsboro, NC 27533
919.580.4359
C
111,\,!t<lil:<o:!,wd."llillQ,1l.
.Jlj
Visit our Website at www.nahrw.org
The nation's only professional Human Rights Association-Founded in 1947
Publisher ofthe JOURNAL OF INTERGROUP RELATIONS
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2-5
Montgomery County Muslim Council
P. O. Box 83639, Gaithersburg, MD 20883
mcmcinfo@aol.com
I
www.mcmcouncil.org
Bill 5-11, Office of Human Rights ­
Human Rights Commission Reorrnization
Public Hearing March 29
t
Statement by Khalid Chaudhry
President Montgomery County Muslim Council
Board of Directors:
Chair
Aquilur Rahman
Madame Council President and Honorable Council Members
My name is Khalid Chaudhry and I am President of the Montgomery County
Muslim Council (MCMC) which is a grass-root organization promoting
involvement by all residents of Montgomery County in the political process. In
addition, our sister organization, the Montgomery County Muslim Foundation
(MCMF) does charitable and social work for the needy in our county.
I very much appreciate being given the opportunity to comment today on behalf
our members and of other Montgomery County residents on the
recommendations of the Organizational Reform Commission (ORC) to abolish
the Office of Human Rights and reorganize the human rights functions.
For the residents of Montgomery County, the Office of Human Rights provides
visible and tangible evidence that the Montgomery County Government is
committed to the protection of human rights. Due to widespread public fear and
misperceptions regarding Muslim culture, religion, and beliefs, the Muslim
population is vulnerable to discrimination. The recent Congressional hearing of
Representative Peter King and programs such as "Unwelcome: The Muslim
Next Door" which aired on Sunday on CNN highlight these concerns.
We are very fortunate to be living in Montgomery County which has a reputation
for diversity and tolerance of different cultures and beliefs. However, we believe
that this would be severely undermined if the ORC recommendation is approved
by you, the Montgomery County Council. Without the County Office of Human
Rights, Montgomery County residents would have nowhere else in the county to
confront actions of discrimination.
We are also concerned with the reform commission's recommendation to
combine the Committee on HateNiolence with the Office of Community
Partnerships. This action would send a signal not only to Muslim residents, but
to all minority groups that the Montgomery County Government does not actively
support vigilance and action against acts of hate violence within our county. We
think these recommendations of the reform commission show a lack of
appreciation and understanding for what some ethnic communities face.
I would like to use the remainder of my time to make three important points.
Vice Chair
Mumin Barre
Directors
Saqib Ali
Walid Hafiz
Mimi Hassenein
Dr. Naheed Khan
Shafiq Khan
Dr. Anwar Masood
Executive Council:
President
Khalid Chaudhry
Vice-President
Syed Hafeez
Treasurer
Omar Dadi
1
@
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Cont. Bill 5-11, presentation by Khalid Chaudhry, page 2
Firstly, the County Office of Human Rights was established nearly 50 years ago
and was the 'first of its kind in the entire nation. This rich history and legacy and
the essential and excellent work of the Office over decades should be not lightly
dismantled. It will not be easy to rebuild this legacy and capability once it is lost.
Secondly, the assumption that the State office will be able to take up the work
done by the County Office of Human rights is na'lve in my humble opinion. The
State office is already overburdened and slows in its response. Further what
happens if the State Government decides to cut back and pass the buck to the
Federal office?
Thirdly, it is very difficult and daunting for residents of our county
to~nave
to go to
Annapolis, Baltimore or Hagerstown to the state office. Those who need to use
the services of the County Human Rights office generally do not have the
transport, or the means or the time to do. Going to the County office is a much
more friendly and easy proposition for them.
In conclusion, on behalf of all Montgomery County Residents, I urge you the
Montgomery County Council, not to make any cuts to the Office of Human Rights
and keep intact with the current structure so that the important services provided
by this office to its residents can continue.
Thank You.
2
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/6
Norman
I.
Gelman
7904 Tumcrest Drive, Potomac, Md. 20854
email:normangelman@verizon.net
Testimony Before Montgomery County CounciL March 29. 2011
My name is Norman Gelman. I am here this evening as chairman of the Maryland Commission
on Human Relations to explain why changing the status and jurisdiction of the county's human
relations commission would damage residents of Montgomery County and every other
jurisdiction in the State.
The March 1 memo from the County Executive to Ms. Ervin cites the Organizational Reform
Commission's recommendation that - and I quote - "the adjudicatory role of the Human Rights
Commission be moved to the state and federal governments."
I am sorry to have to tell you that the Organizational Reform Commission failed to do its
homework. If they'd bothered to ask, we could have told them that we do not have the capacity
to absorb the cases that this legislation would offload onto our docket. Although I cannot speak
for the EEOC or any other federal agency, our staff believes that the federal government is also
overburdened.
You have on file a memorandum I sent you from Henry Ford, our executive director, addressed
to the County Executive. I urge you to read it He makes some points I do not have time to
cover.
You probably know it but let me emphasize what's involved here. Our Agency enforces the law
against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on race,
religion, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, etc., Discrimination is unlawful but
it
is
also ugly and it harms individual people. Your constituents. I assume there is not a single
member of this Council who wants to countenance discrimination. But that would be the effect
if this legislation is approved. Why? Because justice delayed is justice denied.
Montgomery County is not the only jurisdiction with budget problems. Our agency has suffered
substantial reductions in funds and staff over the past several years. As a result, it now takes us
about 18 months to complete an investigation of complaints of discrimination in employment,
housing or public accommodations and to make a decision on whether further action is warranted
by the evidence. Our staff is working as fast as it can and we keep falling further and further
behind. We've reported this fact to the Governor and to the State Legislature, and we deeply
regret the trend, but is only going to get worse ..
Our Agency took in 717 cases in FY 2010. You'll have to ask the Montgomery County group
exactly how many cases we'd inherit because we can't tell that for sure from the numbers shown
in their annual report. But, whatever the number is, we can't do their work. We believe that
with the addition of Montgomery County complaints to our existing workload the 18 months it
now takes to complete a case would likely become 24 months or more.
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Two years to investigate a complaint and decide if there's enough evidence to go to trial? Is that
the right thing to do to your constituents? Is
it
the right thing to do to citizens of Easton and
Salisbury and Frederick and Cumberland and Hagerstown and St, Charles and Havre de Grace?
I don't think so. But that's what will happen ifthis legislation is approved.
I urge you to defeat this legislation for the sake of victims of discrimination in Montgomery
County and all over the state. They don't deserve to suffer the delays that will be caused if the
bill passes. Our Commission can't help solve Montgomery County's budget problem. But
Montgomery County can make our problems and the problems of people in Maryland suffering
discrimination significantly worse than they already are.
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I~
Testimony on 8i11S-11
Human Rights Commission Reorganization
March 29:, 2011
Odessa
M.
Shannon
Ms. Ervin, Members
of
the Council:
1
come before you with the
unique experience
of having served as the
Senior Service
Executive National Prosram Director responsible for investigations and operations in
aU
of
the then 48
EEOC
fletd offlces across the country.
J
also had oversight of
aU
Fair
Employment
Practices Agencies
with
which the
EEOC
had work-sharing agreements.
More recently,
I
retired as the Director of the County's
Office
of
Human
Riahts,
which
was acknowledged one of the most outstanding
in
the
rountry because of
its"
high
standards for conducting investigations and
~emonstrated
high
quality of
work.
This background is offered in support of my personal knowledge that the premise
stated in the March
1
cover letter justifying
Bill
5-11•• quote.
"duplication of effort",
misstates the facts as
1
understand them.
"Duplication of effort"
does
not
exist between the enforcement functions of the Office
of Human Rights and
those
of federal and
state
agencies. There is only
duplication of
mission; that
is,
to protect the civil rilhts of incflViduals.
The
EEOC
enforces
the
following laws: TItle VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
as amended; Equal
Pay Act
of 1963; Age Discrimination in Employment
Act
of
1967; Title
J
of
the Americans with Disabilities Act
of
1990; Sections SOl
and
505
of
the
Rehabilitation Act of
1973;
and the Genetic Information
Nondiscrimination
Act
of
2008.
HUD
enforces
the
following laws:
The
Federal Fair Housing
Act
of 1968 as
amended; Section
504
of the Rehabilitation Act of
1973;
TItle
VI
of the
CMI
Rights Act of 1975
and
rrtle
II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The
Maryland Human
Rishts
Commission
enforces the
anti-discrimination
laws
In
Article 498
of
the Maryland Code.
The
Montgomery County
Office
of Human
Rishts
enforces the anti­
discrimination laws embodied in Chapter 27 of the Montgomery County
Code.
Each
of these entities has additions, limitations and restrictions not present in
the
others.
The Montgomery County Office of Human Rights
is
welt positioned to carry out its"
responsibilities under the current taw.. The proposed tegfs!ation, and the current
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budget recommendation that the Office of Human Rights be part of an "Office of
Community Engagement", however, do not recognJze that the
Office
of Human Rights
does
not "engage the community" in the sense of the Commission for Women. the
Gilchrist Center and the Regional Services Centers. Rather it
is
the county's civil rights
law-enforcement office with powers
to
levy fines, issue right to sue letters and
mandate other remedies, including back pay and reinstatement in jobs. The proposed
recommendations nearly take us back to the time when the Human Rights Commission
consisted of volunteers who heard and sought to settle cases. There
was
only one
staff person,
the
Executive Director. There were no professional staff,
no
enforcement
powers,
and
no ability to levy fines or offer other forms of relief.
AU
settlements were
voluntary. with no penalties or follow-up. (Please
note
that
settlement. tondUatlon
and
mediation
are
stiU
a valued
part
of
the current Investiptive
process),
Even more disturbing. the proposed legislation woutd send
alt
charge
bases
covered
by
the
federal and state laws back to those entities and keep only bases unique to the
county. This would mean
that
cases relating to race, color, religion, sex, national
origin, disability, age, familial status, and genetic information would
not
be
investigated
by
the county. but
would
become
part
of
the
hup federal
and
state
backlogs, subjecting our residents to extraordinary waiting times for charge
resolution. While greater protections have been added to the county's
laws.
the
bases
covered
by
federal law are the
CORE
of
eMl
rights
protection. Under the current
proposal, the OHR becomes nothing more than a referral agency for these CORE bases.
It
could only take charges related to ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation,
presence of children and source of income (housing only). This debUitating chanp to
the mission and operation of OHR would be comparable to
sendi",
the automobile
away and keeping the tires.
f
am wen aware of the fiscal situation in the county. But for a county of nearly a
million people
of
diverse backgrounds to
gut
an agency
that
addresses their rights
is
nothinc short of a
travesty.
As to the
very
reat
and serious budgetary concerns, •
have
previous~
forwarded
suggestions to address this
issue ,
including renaming OHR The
Office of
Civil Rights to
better describe its' legislative mandate, and moving some of the programs not directly
related to law enforcement elsewhere.
I
suggest this with great reluctance because
all have been nationally recognized.
f
would
be
happy to discuss these suggestions
further during Committee meetings, should you so desire.
Thank you for your attention.
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2
March
29 2011
1
0
Testimony to Montgomery County Council
On
Bill
#
5-111
Human Rights Commission
Good evening Council President Ervin and Council members
My name is Ruby A. Rubens, and I am here this evening as a county resident of
forty three years. I would like to quickly take you back to the fall of 1967. At that
time my husband and I were considering homeownership as we relocated to take
a federal appointment. As we looked around DC area jurisdictions, we were
surprised to encounter numerous racial barriers. Remember this was just prior
the 1968 Fair Housing Act. Although we did encounter some such obstacles in
Montgomery
County,
we were immediately referred to one of the watchdog
organizations in the
county,
Suburban Maryland fair Housing( SMFH) ... and were
told that Montgomery County already had laws on the books to protect victims of
discrimination and that this was a progressive county where we could feel
welcomed. We found that Montgomery County was among a short list of
jurisdictions that had strong public policy of civil and human rights in Chapter 27
of the county code. For me this created an atmosphere that permitted me to
become actively engaged as a housing tester with SMFH, enter the real estate
market to integrate the professional realtor
pool,
and later become the County's
first fair Housing Coordinator. In each of these endeavors I saw first-hand the
devastating impact that discrimination can have on families.
I want this same protection today for families who are victims of discrimination
in employment
I
housing and public accommodations. I am fully aware that we
are experiencing a serious budget shortfall and that the entire nation is
experiencing a severe economic downturn. Unfortunately, It is times like these
that we see an increase in discriminatory
practices,
especially in employment.
Jobs are at a premium and the competition is steep for the few jobs that are
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available. Unfortunately this breeds an environment where personal bias can be
exhibited without much oversight. It is times like this that we need more, not less,
enforcement of human rights laws to ensure compliance. As we live and value the
diverse county we have become, we must invest in the future to preserve this
diversity in a manner that protects all of our citizens.
I strongly oppose this bill which would dismantle the Office of Human Rights. To
approve this bill would in effect revere all the progress that has been made over
the past fifty years. The message sent to the community and those seeking to
come here is that we do not value human rights. It is common knowledge that the
state is not equipped to handle additional cases and the federal agencies have
tremendous backlogs. Neither the state nor federal agencies has the authority
to process cases protected only at the county level. To state that these are only a
few cases indicates a total disregard for the rights of those "few" individuals and
families who are among the most vulnerable. We send a message that they don't
count.
I would urge the Council to keep in place the law enforcement arm of the Human
Rights Commission. This would continue with the Office having the responsibility
of investigating and resolving cases of discrimination and the Commission as the
review and appeals board. It should remain a stand-alone agency and especially
not merged with other county departments as it is charged with handling cases
involving county employees as welt as others. The Fair Housing Coordinator
position and the Interagency Fair Housing Coordinating Group functions could and
should be returned to the DHCA, where it was originally placed.
The community relations and outreach functions of the Commission are the only
other functions that I could see being assigned to other county agencies.
I urge you to make every effort to find the funds to retain the office of Human
Rights. I appreciate the opportunity to address you on such an important issue.
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Testimony in Opposition to Bill 5-11,
Human Rights Commission Reorganization
Public Hearing March 29
th ,
2011
Saqib Ali
12504 Degas Court, North Potomac, MD 20878
Phone: 240-812-9671
Email: saqib.ali.75@gmail.com
Good Evening, Madame Council President and Honorable Council Members:
Thank you for the opportunity to present my views on the proposal to abolish the Office of Human
Rights and to reorganize its functions.
What the Office of Human Rights does:
The OHR was established by law to help avoid and conciliate intergroup friction and to enforce
human rights laws. Rights protected under the law cover employment, public accommodations,
housing, and commercial real estate.
The Commissioners of Human Rights are men and women who are broadly representative of the
diverse population of the County. Three members of the Commission serve on the Case Review
Board which handles appeals and hearings for discrimination complaints.
The OHR investigates incidents of hate/violence and complaints of discrimination. Victims of
hate/violence crimes can seek compensation for replacement of property through the County's
Partnership Fund, administered by the Office of Human Rights.
Why the Office of Human Rights is so vital:
The OHR provides a mechanism to help enforce laws that establish the principle of equal rights. By
definition, the people that are most in need of this type of enforcement are those that are most
vulnerable. Indigents, undocumented immigrants, the homeless, racial
&
religious minorities,
domestic servants, etc. To my knowledge, there is no other county organization that focuses
exclusively on these important and most needy populations.
Why I hope the Office of Human Rights is not eliminated/re-organized:
I am doubtful that are-organized OHR will be able to carry out its function to the same level it is
today. There is bound to be a drop-off in level of service no matter what anyone says.
I know the County Council is wrestling with a difficult budget challenge which will require very tough
decisions. I would respectfully submit that protecting the OHR should be one of our highest priorities.
I would respectfully urge members of the Council to do everything reasonable within your powers to
maintain the OHR in its current form.
Thank you for your consideration of my remarks.
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27
souza
Law Office, LLC
March 29, 2011
Re:
Expedited
Bill 5-11, Office of Human Rights - Human Rights Commission
Statement of Gwen W. D'Souza, Esq., Aspen Hill, owner of D'Souza Law Office, LLC,
Bethesda
Council members:
My name is Gwen D'Souza. I am a citizen of Montgomery County. I have been
volunteer mediator at the Office of Human Rights since 2000. I subsequently began a practice as
an Employment Lawyer in Montgomery County.
Expedited Bill 5-11 as proposed limits the investigation activities of the Office of Human
Rights to those complaints, which are unique to Montgomery County.
The Bill provides --For Complaints that allege a discriminatory act that is also prohibited
under state or federal law, the Commission must handle the complaint by advising the
complainant of the right to file a legal action in state court under the state human rights law or to
file a complaint with the applicable state or federal enforcement agency.
I am glad to note that the legislation as proposed is much more limited than the broad
changes recommended by the Organizational Reform Commission. The legislations provide that
the Office of Human Rights will not be eliminated. More importantly, it provides that the Office
of Human Rights will continue to accept complaints. This is the minimum that the citizens of
Montgomery County deserve.
However, in reviewing the memorandum to the County Council, there appears to be a
misunderstanding about the duplication of efforts with state and federal agencies. As for the
EEOC, currently, there is a work sharing agreement between the EEOC and the Office of Human
Rights. Under this agreement, the Office of Human Rights has accepted cases, which are cross­
filed with the EEOC, but are investigated by the Office of Human Rights for itself and for the
EEOC. Therefore, while there may be a duplication of authority to investigate certain matters,
there is no duplication of efforts.
If this bill is enacted, the Office of Human Rights will only investigate cases, in which
the employer has less than 15 employees or the protected class is presence of children, family
responsibilities, source of income, gender identity, or ancestry. All other cases will not be
investigated by the County. Instead the County may advise the complainant ofthe right to file
the complaint with the EEOC or the State Commission of Human Relations.
Having practiced in the area of employment law extensively, however, for over ten years,
I expect that little to no investigation will be performed by these other agencies. While the
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------~
®
7979 Old Georgetown Road, Suite 1100, Bethesda, Maryland 20814
Telephone: 301-452-1888 • Email: gwdsouza@comcast.net
wv.w.dsouzalaw.com
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souza
Law Office, LLC
Maryland Commission on Human Relations enforces a similar statute, the Commission has
expressly stated repeatedly that it does not have the budget or the staff to investigate any portion
of new cases a year from Montgomery County. I have attached a copy of the Letter from the
Maryland Commission on Human Relations to the County Executive for your review. Similarly,
I expect the EEOC will likely not investigate these cases. I expect it will likely continue its
practice to issue right-to-sue letters, without any investigation, as it does in the majority of its
cases.
I am concerned that this legislation may not provide a sufficient remedy for the many
small employers or many of the unemployed citizens of Montgomery County. These entities
bringing or facing claims of age, disability, national origin, race, color, religion, sex, marital
status, sexual orientation, and genetic discrimination, will likely go to court with limited
intervention by any agency.
While I understand the need for long-term savings to the County, I urge you to consider
the importance of our community'S long-term goal to promote a diverse society providing equal
opportunities for employment, real estate, and public accommodation as well. I urge you to vote
against this bill.
Thank you, Councilmembers.
7979 Old Georgetmvn Road, Suite 1100, Bethesda, Maryland 20814
Telephone: 301-452-1888 • Email: gw-dsouza@comcast.net
www.dsouzalaw.com
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County Council Remarks by Terry Vann
March 29, 2011
My name is Terry Vann.
In
my former life, I was an attorney specializing in employment law.
Now I volunteer with County Office of Human Rights (ORR), the Maryland Commission on Human
Relations and the EEOC as a mediator of cases involving all types of discrimination. You have a very
difficult task in making budget cuts and in determining priorities and consequences, but any decisions you
make should be
informed
decisions, based on
correct
factual information and you should be aware of the
consequences. Unfortunately, the information upon which the recommendations are based is insufficient,
confusing and misleading.
The basic premise of the recommendations is that most of what the County Office of Human
Rights does is unnecessary because it duplicates State and Federal jurisdiction and therefore, the
consequences of eliminating County efforts to fight discrimination in those cases would be minimal.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The Director of the Maryland Commission has informed you
that although there is overlapping jurisdiction, the state Commission and our county ORR and Human
Rights Commission have worked for many years in a cooperative arrangement whereby they carefully
monitor each others' caseloads to insure that they
don't
duplicate the efforts of the other. The same is true
with respect to the federal civil rights agencies. The Director of the State Commission adds that if the
recommendations are adopted, the results of the increased caseload on the state would be
catastrophic
because the State is not in a position to take on any additional complaints from Montgomery County, and
to add any portion of the county's cases will increase the average completion time for an investigation
from 1 to 2 years or more. Additionally, the recommendation would impose a severe hardship on these
alleged victims of discrimination by requiring vulnerable and possibly disabled Montgomery County
claimants to travel to Baltimore to file complaints and to talk with State investigators. I fear that many
will not be able to pursue their remedies.
Aside from the impracticality of shifting the burden of dealing with discrimination to the State,
the recommendations call into question the core values of our county. If the recommendations are
adopted, here are some· examples of situations for which there would be no recourse in Montgomery
County.
• An
African American woman is refused service at a restaurant and is told "we don't serve
your kind here."
• A salesman who uses a wheelchair is fired because the company wants a healthier image.
• Latinos in a construction company are subject to harassment because of their foreign
accent or skin color.
• A 50 year old man is fired because he is too old.
• A woman is refused employment because she might get pregnant.
There are of course more subtle forms of discrimination but I listed the obvious ones.
In
all of
those situations, the County would be powerless to enforce its antidiscrimination laws. We would say,
"You have to go to Baltimore. Maybe the State can help you." Or we could say that it's too bad that you
don't live or work in PG, Howard or Frederick County, where they
do
enforce antidiscrimination laws.
Does this reflect the values of Montgomery County? I sure hope not. Expressions that the County is
committed to eradicating discrimination ring hollow when the consequences of adopting the
recommendation would be (1) to make it easier to discriminate in the County and (2) to make it extremely
difficult for claimants to pursue their rights. I urge you to continue to protect the civil rights of our
residents and to continue to fund the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights, which is a model of
commitment and efficiency for State and the Nation. Thank you for your consideration.
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29
Statement
of Richard
W. Allen on Expedited
Bill 5-11,
Office of Human Rights-Human Rights Commission-Reorganization
Richard W. Allen
9427 Gentle Circle
Montgomery Village, MD 20886
9301) 990-1548
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen of the Montgomery County Council. My name is
Richard W. Allen and as a resident of Montgomery County, a equal opportunity
professional, and person concerned about maintaining civil rights services here within
Montgomery County, MD, I speak in opposition to Bill 5-11, Office of Human Rights­
Human Relations Commission-Reorganization.
First, I must acknowledge the reality of our current serious fiscal deficit and crisis, in the
cost of and operation of Montgomery County governmental units. However, the real
question facing us squarely is: Will half a loaf of Montgomery County Office of Human
Rights personnel, resources, and a volunteer Commission, provide our County's residents
with the necessary civil rights enforcement services, diversity educational/outreach
services, and fair housing services? From my perspective, the answer is clearly, No.
It
is good that County Executive Ike Leggett acknowledges the "unique and vital work"
and civil rights enforcement "staffing" personnel needs of the Montgomery County
Office of Human Rights and Commission. However, County Executive Ike Leggett's
proposal, to reorganize the Office of Human Rights staffing to "investigate, conciliate,
.and adjudicate" before the Commission, Complaints whose alleged discriminatory acts
do not
violate state or federal laws, is unfortunately, short-sighted. The County
Executive's legislation involves significant budgetary-paring down and eliminating of
Office of Human Rights personnel, in the provision of civil rights enforcement services
and community ethnic/religious educational outreach/uplift activities. In the words of my
only son, Mr. William Anthony Allen, "Dad, this is not good for the people".
If enacted as proposed within this legislation, the Office of Human Rights would docket,
investigate, and resolve, solely, Complaints based on the Montgomery
~County
"protected
classes" of discrimination based on presence of children (housing), family
responsibilities, source of income (housing), ancestry, and gender identity.
Recommendation #4 of the Montgomery County Organizational Reform Commission
(ORC), supported by and County Executive Ike Leggett, would "transfer" all civil rights
enforcement functions and responsibilities, involving the "protected classes" of race,
color, sex, age, malital status, religious creed, national origin, and disability, to the
Maryland Commission on Human Relations, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission, the U.S, Department of Housing and Urban Development, other federal
agencies, and the appropriate Maryland Circuit Court.
Cited as the "problem" within the Legislative Request Report of Expedited Bill 5-11, is
the
statelnent,
"the
COllnty
Humall Rights La\v covers a large number of areas that are
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(2.)
duplicative of state and federal law, leading to significant expense on the part of the
County".
My professional work experience in both equal housing opportunity, equal employment
opportunity, and in workforce diversity programs, has enabled me to see the
tangible
value
of local, state, and federal civil rights agencies,
working in tandem
through dual­
Complaint-filing systems, to fight the problems of housing discrimination and
employment discrimination.
Mr. Henry B. Ford, Executive Director, Maryland Commission on Human Relations,
within a March 2, 2011 letter to County Executive Ike Leggett, talked about the
significant cuts in civil rights personnel, fiscal budgets, and high Complaint levels that
his agency and the federal EEOC are currently going through. His letter also indicates
that "citizens of Montgomery County as well as the entire state would suffer".
Finally, how would the proposed legislative changes affect Montgomery County's receipt
ofHUD Community Develop Block Grants? Remember, there is a contractual duty on
the part of the recipient to "affirmatively further fair housing". Based on my work and
community group experiences, I have reason to believe that People with disabilities,
women, ethnic and religious minorities, older employees, and others, gain from a Office
of Human Rights and Commission, staffed with the necessary resources. As we approach
a population of almost one million people within Montgomery County, the most diverse
County in the state of Maryland, in this upcoming 51
st
year of this governrnental entity,
we need this agency at full strength, more than ever.
Therefore, I urge the Montgomery County Council to reject the adaptation of Bill 5-11­
Office of Human Rights-Human Rights Commission-Reorganization. Thanks.
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3\
Testimony before the Montgomery County Council Concerning
Changes Noted in
BillS-It
and the Report
of the
County
Organizational Reform Commission Affecting the County Human
Rights Commission and the County Office
of Human
Rights in FY 2012
~Iarch
29, 2011
Good evening, my name is Henry Montes and for this hearing I identify myself as a
County resident and advocate for the Latino community in the County. Let me start my
testimony by thanking the County Council for having these hearings and allowing me to
testify this evening. This evening I would like to share with the County Council
members why it is important to the quality of life in the County to maintain and support,
without new legislation, the ongoing work of the County Human Rights Commission and
its collaborator for social justice, the County Office of Human Rights.
My understanding ofthe recommendation of the County Organizational Reform
Commission in relation to these two County entities and the thrust of Bill 5-11 will be to
restrict their jurisdiction over human rights responsibilities to those areas that cannot be
dealt with by state or federal authorities. Ostensibly doing this change will allow for the
reduction of duplication of adjudication efforts for human rights complaints filed with the
County Office of Human Rights and somehow save the County money in the process.
Although I understand the logic of this approach, the reality of how individual complaints
are started, how they are processed and how they are eventually resolved, is not as clean-
cut a process as is being considered by the separation of responsibilities noted in the in
the ORC report nor in this Bill.
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2
Please consider that the state and federal levels draw complaints and other actions from a
much larger universe of potential complainants and so, just getting our Montgomery
County residents' complaints considered becomes a much larger competitive process for
time and being a priority. Next those at the state and federal levels dealing with such
cases do not really know what is going on in the County in terms of nuances of
relationships among populations. Nor are they familiar with the public discourse of
societal issues that affect our County cases, e.g. immigrants and immigration issues. At
the federal level this is even more distant in terms of being responsive for focusing on our
County issues. Furthermore, resources are tight all over, and my understanding is that
the State of Maryland Human Rights operation would have a very difficult time being
responsive to the added cases that would come from the changes suggested in the Bill.
Not knowing for certain, but being a retired federal employee and from past knowledge
of the work of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, its case load is
also over the top and getting its attention would be difficult.
It
makes sense, then, to ensure that our County residents get the benefit of all we can do
to ensure their human rights are protected by keeping our cases close to home. Let's not
change something that is not broken, namely, the dedicated service performed by
committed volunteers of the Human Rights Commission and the hard-working staff of
the Office of Human Rights who are watching out for our most vulnerable residents.
With the growth of our Latino populations and other populations of color in the County
and anti-immigrant sentiments that are few but seem to be growing, we must not abandon
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the one mechanism we have to probe social injustices that unfortunately occur all too
often. As the Latino community grows larger and stronger, it will likely need the
services of the County Human Rights Commission and its operational arm, the County
Office of Human Rights even more. Changing the dynamic in the County from one of
vulnerable people having a place to go to address problems ofjob discrimination, social
intimidation, unfairness in housing and uncertainty of rights to having them needing to
go to a distant place to get these resolved, will create greater problems then the perceived
need of reducing a $1.5 million dollar budget in the County.
Therefore, I ask you to consider the present and future needs of vulnerable peoples
in
the
County who rely on a County home voice to support and protect their rights and that you
not make changes, through any Bill, to the authorities and jurisdictions covered by the
current County Human Rights Commission and its operational partner, the County Office
ofHuman Rights.
Thank you for your attention to my testimony.
Respectfully submitted,
1/1
)'~~~o!t~~t=·
.
i
j
Montgomery County Latino Community Advocate
301-762-1103
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32­
ALAN
BANOV
AND
ASSOCIATES
ALAN BANOV
,-\dmmed
In
'vlarv:and and the District of Columbia
March
?H.
?01
RE· EXPEDlTED BILL
J
Il Office of Human Rights Hum:m Rights Commission
atemcnt of Alan Rmo\. Esq .. Kensington. owner of Alan BanO\ and Associates. Siher Spring
] hcne a small law firm in SJ!n:r Spring and ha\c been a County resident slllcr
1974.
I
ha\e practiced employment law for (ner
30
years and during that penod 1 have represented many
employees and ex-employees in (iJscrimination cases before the Montgomery County Oilice of
Human Rights and \\ithin the last couple of years litigated a \cry complex retaliation case before
the County Human Rights CommiSSion
(Anissn Hnrris
r.
Hompden
Lone LLe
Case No. REH
03982).
Smce
1996
I ha\e also sencd as a \olunteer mediator for the MCOHR and ha\'e
mediated dozens and dozens of discrimination cases. 1110st of them successfully.
13m
also a member nfthe Man land Employment La\\\ers Association and drafted its
correspondence opposing Ihe abolIshment
or
the Office of Human rights and the CommissioJJ.
] appreciate that the County Exccuti\e does not fully adt.pt the recommendations of the
Montgomery County Organizational Reform Commission (ORC) with respect to the
Commission and MCOHR. Howe\·er. even Mr. Leggett's more limited approach will still
deprive County residents of important rights to seek remedies for alleged disClimination in their
cmpltnmcnl. public accommodations. and real estate tr'lllsactions.
I.
The County law protects those who work for an employer with fewer than 15
employees (while neither EEOC nor the State Commission will 111\ estigate charges against
employers \vith fewer than] 5 employees). This enables many more complainants to obtain
administrative relief for illegal discrimination or reprisal.
2.
The local statute protects classes not covered hy other federal or state laws.
specifIcally "marital status" (covered by state Jaw, but not Title
Vll),
"sexual orientation" (not
covered by Title
Vll).
""genetic status'· (similar to the Federal Genetic Information
Nondlscnmination Act of
2008.
hut not identical). "presence of children" (not covered by Title
VJJ
or the state law), and "source ofincome-- (not covered hy Title VlJ or state
lRw).
As stated
by Russell CampbelL Sr.. the current Chair of the Commission. in
IllS
letter to
1'v1r.
Leggett of
February
17.
• Unlike Montgomery County. the state and federal govemments do not afford
protection to persons \\ho are financially or legally responsible for the suppOJ1 and
of any dependent person.
care of persons regardless of the number or
• Unlike \;10ntgomery County. the state and federal governments do not afford
protection against discnmination based on a person' s actual or pcrccin:,d gender.
WWW.BANOVLAW.COM
"S.1~I· ~dLiisVILLE
ROA]),
sqTli 325.
. SILVER S!:'RING,MD 20910·
.301.588.9699.
. .
30I:588·~9698F~
.
.'
.
'f·'.-~
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13aI1l\\ Slall'Jl1l.:'111 h·
('\lunt\ (
\)UIIl'lI
Re'
PEDlTED BILL 5-
J
I
March
20
J
I
Page 2
Cases do arise under these unique provisions. Oflhe 449 discrimination comp13ints filed \\"Jth
MCOHR in FY2008. 2 alleged sexual orientalion.
J
inyohed marital status. 2 involved presence
of children: 24 JI1\olved source of income. and 6 imohed family responsibilities.
MCOHR's FY2008 Report.
:;
The fihng
tinlc
for discrilnination case:s
]])
1\,1Ul1tgolllt'ry
County is one year.
t\\'ICt:
the time allowed by the state and 65 days longer thtlJllhe bmitalions penod to file with EEOC.
This IS important hecause it may take complainallt::; tIme to uIsco\er discmmnation and then
10
file complaints. with or \vithout a lawyer.
4.
The Montgomery County law has broader anti-reprisal provisions than does its
federal counterpart. Thus, the Human Rights Law not only prohibits retaliation against persons
for opposing discrimination on the job and pm1icipating in administrative complaints before
MCOHR. The County
It:nv
also makes it unlawful to engage in the 1011owing acts:
(2) assist in, compel. or coerce any discriminatory practice prohibited under this
division:
(~)
obstruct or pn>\ent enforcement or compliance \\ith tbis diVIsion: or
(4) attempt directly or indirectly to commit any discriminatory practice prohIbited
under this division.
Montgomery County. Md. Code
§
27-19(c) (emphasis added). See also Section 27-9(a) ("Any
person subjected to an act of discrimination or intimidation under this article may pursue a civil
action under Maryland law.").
5.
Remedies under the statute (at least in court) may be broader than those in other
statutes (federal laws limit compensatory and punitive damages to $50,000 to $300,000,
depending on the size of the employer).
6.
OHR is physically accessible to many who (1) cannot travel to the federal or state
offices in Baltimore and (2) who. for various reasons (including lack of literacy and English
proficiency) are more likely to file at the OHR.
7.
Some victims of discrimination obtain relief at the administrative level through
the OHR who, for numerous reasons (including cost) would never be able to pursue a claim in
court. In fact, many cases settle in mediation at MCOHR, thereby eliminating the need for the
parties to engage in administrative or judicial litigation. (In FY2008, for example, MCOHR
referred 38 cases to mediation, and] 6, or 42%, settled in mediation.)
8.
The absence of a local administrative agency will increase the number of filings
in circuit coun and thereby increase the costs not only for the parties, but also for the courts.
9.
Most complainants before the MCOHR simply cannot litigate cases in court,
either because they cannot afford an attorney or because the case simply warrants some modest
consideration, which they could obtain in mediation.
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B~ll1n\ Sl~I1L'JllL'lll
III ('(lUllI \ C()UllUi
Re: EXPEDlTED BILL
March
28. 201
J
Page 3
5-]
J
10.
Administrative proceedings before the Commission are less f01111al than court
cases. \Vhile representation by a discrimination IJwyer will certainly enhance the complainant" s
0ppol1unity for success, Commission proceedings do not require legal representation as much as
court cases do.
In his Fehruary
17
letter to Mr. Leggett.
1\1r.
Campbell aptly expressed the need to retJin
both MCOHR and the Commission for protecting
hlllmm
rights in the County \\hen he stClted:
The Human Rights Commission and the Office of Human Rights haw a symbiotic
relationship. The Office provides suppOJ1 services for the Commission, while the
Commission provides suppOJ1 for the objectives of the Office, including Case Review
Board panels that review cases on appeal after they have been investigated through the
OHice of Human Rights (Mont. County Code Sec.
27-2).
Mr. Leggett's proposal would save a negligible amount of money -in fact, I am not aware
of any estimate of how much money it would save.
It
would be a proverbial drop in the ocean of
::1
huge S4.35 hillion budget!
Howc\ er. the changes would render a considerable cost to those in the County \\ho \vant
to complain of discrimination on the job. in public accommodations, or in real estate
transactions. Indeed, I wonder if the abolition ofMCOHR and/or the Commission will
encourage County employers generally to disregard legal impediments to discrimination.
We hope that you and your Council members will reject that position and oppose
abolition of either the Commission or MCOHR.
Thank you very much for your cooperation.
ctfuIlY~_
an Banov
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Attachment
#
9
SUMMARY OF
MONTGOMERY COUNTY OFFICE OF HUMAN RIGHTS
COMBINED CASE STATUS REPORT AS OF 03115/2011
428
173
122
133
Average Number of Cases Closed: TBD
Average Number of New Cases Filed: 200/year
Total number of existing/pending cases
(200210311512011)
Total number of existing/pending cases that are within MC-OHR's jurisdiction, but not eligible to go to EEOC or MD­
HRC or cases for which complainant cannot file in Circuit Court after January 1,2012.
Total number of existing/pending cases that are within MC-OHR's jurisdiction after removing cases barred by statute of
limitations at EEOC and MD-HRC
(approx.
28%
o/the total number o/pending cases.)
Total number of existing/pending cases that are within MC-OHR's jurisdiction, and eligible to go to MC-OHR or EEOC
Case Status:
Intake pending receipt of signed complaint
~~
(if/when signed, will be assigned to investigators)
Assigned to Investigation---currently in Mediation Process
~
(work to be completed by mediators)
Investigation in Progress
~~
(work to be completed by Investigators)
Cases in Management Review
~~
(work to be completed by Compliance Manger)
In Management Post Determination Process
~~
(work to be completed by Compliance Director)
In Management Referral, Conciliation, Case Review Board, or Hearing (CCH)
~~
(work to be completed by Director)
In Special Review
&
Analysis in connection with CCH
~~
(work to be completed by Director and/or Investigators)
Cases Type:
Employment (78%)
Housing (12%)
Total number ofpending cases filed by the Human Rights Commission on the basis ofhousing testing:
6 (1.4%)
Public Accommodation (5%)
Intimidation (5%)
prior to
N/A
19
23
163
97
57
41
28
334
53
21
20
MC-ORR Existing
Pending Cases
Case type
&
Year filed
Employment
Intimidation
Public Accommodation
Real Estate/Housing
2002
4
8
2003
1
1
2004
3
2005
7
2006
4
2007
16
4
2008
54
2009
89
3
1
2
2
4
Total
8
2
6
2
3
~
5
2
22
60
16
108
2010
129
20
8
26
183
2011
as of
3115/11
Total
334
19
2
1
22
20
21
53
428
$57,000
$337,500
Revenue from EEOC contracts
(for
FYI2)
Proceeds to the complainants from Conciliations and Mediation Settlements
MD-HRC 2010 annual report: http://www.mchLstate.md.us/AnnuaIReports.html
Howard County 2010 annual report: http://www.co.ho.md.usIHRlHRHomePage.htm
®
Other
Examples
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OFFICE OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT FOLLOW-UP
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
1. Functions of each office:
• The answers to the questions
I
sent earlier did not include a description of the functions of
the Office of Community Partnerships.
Please see
Attachment A.
• Clarify how the services provided by the 5 Regional Service Center differ.
Please see
Attachment B.
• What services are housing in each of the 5 Regional Service Centers that are not provided by
RSC staff?
BCC Regional Services Center (BCCRSC)
Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center is housed here.
Bethesda Urban District Manager is housed here.
Non-:-profit
-
Senior Vital Living Center.
Non-profit
-
Wonders Child Care Center.
Non-profit Partnerships at BCCRSC (Ihese non-profits serve BCC residents at the
BCCRSC, but
do
not have dedicated oJfice space): computer rehab and classes for
seniors through volunteers, continuing education classes for seniors via partnership with
Washington Oasis, senior exercise classes via partnership with Suburban Hospital.
East County Regional Services Center (ECRSC)
East County Regional Services Center is housed here.
Health and Human Services (HHS)
-
People's Community Wellness Clinic
-
primary
health care for low-income- uninsured residents.
HHS Contractor
-
Mobile Med
-
acute healthcare for low-income uninsured residents.
HHS
-
One Staffperson housed in RSC oJfice space from the African American Health
Initiative.
Police
-
East County Police Substation.
Non-profit Partnerships at ECRSC (Ihese non-profits serve East County residents
regularly at the ECRSC, but do not have dedicated oJfiqe space): AARP Free Tax
Preparation; Pro Bono legal Clinic; Montgomery College Spanish classes; Maryland
procurement Technical Assistance program for Small Businesses; HIV Prevention and
Counseling (GapBuster Learning Center); ESOL classes by the Literacy Council of
Montgomery County; Manna Food; and the Small Business Development Center for
small business counseling
1
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Silver Spring Civic Center Building (SSCB)
.
Silver Spring Regional Services Center (SSRSC)
and
the Silver Spring Urban district
(SSUD) are housed in the SSCB.
.
Community Use ofPublic Facilities (CUPF) scheduler is housed in the SSCB.
In FY12, a Building Manager and one additional building space related person will be
housed in the SSCB.
Department ofGeneral Services (DGS)
-
SSCB building maintenance staff
Office ofCommunity Partnerships (OCP)
-
An AmeriCorps intern shared
by
OCP and
the.SSRSC.
Round House Theatre uses the basement level ofthe Silver Spring Civic Building (with a
separate entrance) for their consolidated administrative offices, some rehearsals,
and
classes.
There are no direct service providers in the facility.
Mid...county Regional Services Center (MCRSC)
Mid-county Regional Services Center is housed here.
Wheaton Urban District is housed here.
DGS
-
Wheaton Redevelopment.
HHS Community Action Agency.
HHS
-
Women's Cancer Control Program.
HHS -Adult Behavioral Health.
Department ofRecreation (REC)
-
Gilchrist Center (FY12, part ofOCE).
HHS Contractor
-
Proyecto Salud
Non-:fJrofit
-
Mid-County United Ministries.
Non-profit
-
Conflict Resolution Center.
Upcounty Regional Services Center (UCRSC)
Upcounty Regional Services Center
is
housed here.
Department ofEconomic Development (DED)
-
Montgomery Works.
DGSlFacilities Division
-
Area Property Manager.
OCP
-
Gilchrist Center.
Community Use ofPublic F
acilitie~.
Health
&
Human Services
Services Eligibility Unit; Income Support Programs; Public Health; Housing
Stabilization Services; Emergency Services; Child Welfare; Dental program
Office ofHuman Resources
-
County Employees' training rooms.
Department ofHousing
and
Community Affairs (DHCA) contractor
-
Foreclosure
Assistance Counseling
(HlP
contract with DHCA).
Non-profit
-
Peppertree Childrens Center.
HHS Contractor
-
GUIDE Youth Services.
MCPS
-
Training and Organizational Development.
MCPS
-
Transportation Division.
2
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2. I am
still
not sure how we
will
articulate in my staff memo the benefits of OCE that could not
otherwise happen with the existing structure, particularly with regards to collaboration so it
would
be
helpful to have you put something in writing.
Please see Attachment
C
for the County Code definitions ofthe County's "Principal
Departments/Offices" and "Non-Principal Offices
".
The County Executive's main goal is to
achieve the following objectives without eliminating or creating a new Principal or Non­
Principal Office.
The
proposed Office ofCommunity Engagement fulfills County Executive's
following policy, budgetary and operational objectives.
County Executive Objectives
to
Achieve:
1. Produce Long-Term Savings
~
$2.
8M
2. Increase collaboration and partnerships among County departments and offices.
3. Create a better organized community outreach approach in order to have a more effective
and efficient response to population and demographic changes.
4. Create a more unified and comprehensive approach for engaging the community in order to
maximize the use ofCounty and community resources to address community/residents' needs.
5. Reduce the budget impacts to community, by focusing on communitylresidents' needs and
target resource reductions where it would have the least negative impact to County
residents, from both the "size" and "vulnerability" perspectives.
6. Maintain the stand-alone and non-principal office status of "Office ofHuman Rights. "
7. Maintain the stand-alone and non-principal office status of "Commission for Women. "
8. Maintain and require the same level ofcompetency, knowledge, and skill-sets requiredfor
each ofthe leadpOSitions in these impacted units.
3. How could the Council be assured that resources would not
be
shifted among functions
in
a way
that would
be
inconsistent with the Council's priorities?
As in the past, we will work collaboratively with the County Council on all resource/budget
related matters/needs. Please note that the functions provided by the OHR and CFW are in the
County Code, therefore reducing and/or shifting oftheir dedicated staffresources (as submitted
in FYI2 budget)
away
from these offices will not be possible.
4. What specific steps
will
you take to ensure the MOU is followed and to improve communication
between OCE and Council offices?
a) Add a Council specific "performance exception" goal to FYI2 Performance Plan ofthe
follOWing directors: Ken Hartman, Joy Nurmi, Natalie Cantor, Reemberto Rodriguez,
Cathy Matthews, and Bruce Adams.
b) By June 30
th
ofeach year, prior to finalizing the past performance reviews and the next year's
,peiformance expectations, seek Council members' input/comments/or inclusion infinal
ratings and next year's performance expectations.
c) Offer a quarterly ujJdate meeting ofall RSC directors and Bruce Adams with the Council
designees and/or with Council memb.ers.
d)
On
a yearly basis, the CAD, or on his behalf, a designated ACAO, will meet one-on-one with
Council Members and/or their designee to discuss issues and, ifneeded, amend/modify the MOU
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5. Which events
will
the County offer or support
in
FY12 and which office will be responsible?
What is the cost of each event?
Please see Attachment D.
6.
Can
you explain why HRC
still
has 47 pending cases
that
were filed before
2008.
including 6
.cases
filed
before
2oo2?
Forty-one ofthese cases are cases where
(1)
the OHR's Director's determination is being
reviewed by the Human Rights Commission (which may involve an administrative hearing) or
(2)
the Human Rights Commission's decision is on appeal to Circuit Court. Until the
Commission issues its decision
and
any appeals are concluded, the case is shown as "pending"
by OHR, even though ORR's work on the case is done.
The remaining
6
cases that are more than
3
years old are outside ofthe expected inventory life
span but can be explained
by
lack oftracking and transition during periods ofSignificant staff
turnover.
7. What
%
of cases over the
last
5 years
has
the Office ofHuman Rights investigation found no
reasonable cause? Please break this down by type ofcase.
Consistent with the numbers from EEOC, a significant percentage ofMCOHR cases are resolved
withoutfinding a violation ofthe anti-discrimination laws.
As
indicated on EEOC website,
based on total number of73, 058 cases received last year,
3,794
or
5%
resulted in a probable
cause finding. Also 7,024 EEOC cases resulted in a settlement (amicable resolution where there
may or may not have been some exposure in litigation).
8. How many cases
has
the Human Rights Commission decided after a hearing each year for the
past 5 years? How many ofthese cases were heard by the Hearing Examiners? Please
break
these statistics down
by
type
of case.
Atpresent, there are
24
cases pending or in review by the HRC or through a public hearing. In
addition, 10 cases are in line for conciliation
-
the stage before the hearing
-
most ofwhich will
go to public hearing.
With respect to cases in the last
5
years, the OHR 's case management system cannot provide the
precise statistical breakdown sought by this question. ORR could generate the information
through a case
by
case file review for the last
5
years, but the time requiredlor such a review
would be extensive. But
it
is saft to say that, in the past
5
years, approximately
12
cases have
been reviewed through the Commission and/or the hearing examiner.
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Attachment A
Office of Community Partnerships - Core Functions
Mission:
The mission of the Office of Community Partnerships is to strengthen relationships
between government and the residents it serves, with special focus on underserved and emerging
communities and our neighbors in need. The OCP serves as a bridge builder between the County
government and community organizations serving the residents of Montgomery County, working
across the barriers of race, ethnicity, income, and religion that too often diminish communities.
OCP's mission is to carry out the County's commitment to build a larger policy table with
participation by a more diverse range and greater number of residents.
Core Function #1:
Issue Coordination
Engage
&
Empower Ethnic Communities
Activities:
• Inform, engage, and empower ethnic communities through e-communications and outreach.
• Lead effort to strengthen network of welcoming services of Gilchrist Center
• Lead County's language access program.
• Support development of a more culturally competent County government.
• Staff County Executive's ethnic advisory groups and Committee for Ethnic Affairs.
• Support World of Montgomery Festival, Montgomery County Sister Cities program, and
County's ethnic heritage event') and programs.
Outcome Measure:
• Broaden participation of ethnic communities in civic life of the County
Core Function #2:
Strengthen Capacity ofNonprofit Sector and Faith
Community
Activities:
• Partner with Nonprofit Montgomery to promote collaboration of County government with
nonprofit sector and to strengthen nonprofit sector
• Work with Community Foundation's Nonprofit Advancement Fund to strengthen the
capacity of ethnic serving nonprofits
• Work to strengthen capacity of faith community to serve our neighbors in need
• Promote volunteerism and community service
• Partner with Corporate Volunteer Council, Companies for Causes, and others to strengthen
nonprofit sector
Outcome Measures:
• Increase number of residents in need served by nonprofit and faith organizations
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Attachment A (page 2)
Core Function #3:
Strengthen County's Culture of Giving and Serving
Activities:
Connect individuals and organizations to volunteer opportunities through 1-800 data base.
Support Student Service Learning program for MCPS students.
RSVP program and Senior Fellow collaborate to promote civic engagement of Seniors.
Promote Days of Service (MLK Day, Earth Month, Community Service Day).
Partner with Community Foundation, Corporate Volunteer Council, Companies for Causes,
Nonprofit Montgomery, and others to strengthen culture of giving and serving.
• Lead County's annual Employee Giving Campaign.
Outcome Measure:
• Increase number of volunteers and measurable impact of community service.
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Attachment B
Regional
Services.
Centers - Core Functions
Core
Function
#1:
Issue Coordination
Manage communication with stakeholder groups/participate
in
internal policy making:
BCC
• Urban District Noise Bill
• Restaurant windows regulation
• White Flint development/public amenities plan
East County
• Bus shelter illumination coordination with DOT/Clear Channel
• Urban District Noise Bill
• Code Enforcement Bills
• Dances for Profit/Go Gos
Silver Spring
• Urban District Noise Bill
• Restaurant windows regulation
• Completion of Silver Spring Redevelopment Plan
• Development of Long Branch Sector Plan and the Langley Park Sector Plan
• Various 'edge issues' with DC and Prince George County
!lpcounty
• Noise bill
• Code enforcement legislation
• Restaurant windows regulation
• Great Seneca Science Corridor Plan
• Smart Growth Initiative Implementation Group (Webb Tract, County Service Park, etc.)
• Germantown Employment Sector Plan
• Shady Grove Sector Plan
• Clarksburg Infrastructure Working Group
• Airstrip in Ag Reserve
• Budget forums
• Independence Day celebration
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Attachment B (page 2)
Develop and manage strategic approaches to address community concerns (partnerships,
meetings, action plans, news releases, etc.) and monitor issue to resolution
Upcounty
• North County Depot project - Clarksburg community, DGS, DEP, DOT, OMB, Planning
• Clinic protests Police, Executive Terrace Business Assocation
• Zorastrian Temple - Boyds Civic Assocation
• JSS Hindu Temple - Laytonsville community, Planning, DEP, DPS
• Global Mission Church - Planning, Frederick County
• Black Hill Trail Renovation Project - Parks, Waters Landing Association
• Jack Schore Tennis Facility DPS, SoccerPlex, Parks
• Clarksburg parking issues - community, FRS, Planning, CAO
• SouthlakelHorizon Run Community-building Project - CE, DHCA, Police, DOT
East County
• IDA Sector Meeting Partnership between ECRSC and Third District police - Bi-monthly
crime trends/prevention meetings
with
residents, apartment managers, and businesses.
• Burtonsville Revitalization - Giant leaselBurtonsville Crossing vacancies.
• Create non-profit partnerships at East County Regional Services Center to provide free
services to East County residents:
o Tax preparation.
o ESOL Classes.
o HIV Prevention, testing and counseling.
o Pro Bono Legal Clinic.
o Manna Food.
o Mobile Med.
o Small Business Development Center free counseling for federal contracts.
o Spanish Classes.
o Street Outreach Network.
o WeGreen environmental education.
Design public relations efforts tailored to the type of event and the participants attending.
Mid-County
• E-mails, web and utilization of established networks.
• Identify and prepare issue areas for Advisory Board(s); do preliminary research and arrange
subject matter experts.
@
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Attachment B (page 3)
Lead discussions/negotiations concerning future public amenities and programs:
BCC
• .Trillium - artist studio agreements
• White Flint Urban District
• Bethesda Metro
arts
project
East County
• Burtonsville GiantIBurtonsville Crossing
• Third District Police Station
• Station 37 - new Calverton Fire Station
• Pedestrian Safety improvements in Fairland, Burtonsville, Cloverly
• Negotiate with Adventist re: free site for Fire Station in Calverton area
Silver Spring
• (Soon to be) old library site
• (Soon to be) old 3rd Police Precinct building
• Progress Place (homeless services) relocation
• Fillmore
• Transit Station
• New Library
Enhancelbuild partnerships by participating in loca] boards and committees
(participation may include, among other tasks, helping determine agenda and invitees,
manage new member recruitment process, and provide policy guidance for decision
making process):
BCC
• WMCCAB
Bethesda Green Board members
Glen Echo Partnership - Board Member
Woodmont Triangle Action Group
White Flint Steering Committee
Bethesda A
&
E Board
Bethesda Transportation Solutions
North Bethesda TMD
Friendship Heights TMD
BCC Chamber of Commerce
Potomac Chamber of Commerce
Rockville Chamber of Commerce
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Attachment B
(page
4)
Silver Spring
• Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board (SSCAB)
• Urban District Advisory Committee
• Arts &
Entertainment Advisory Committee
• Neighborhood Committee ofSSCAB
• Commercial and Economic Development Committee of SSCAB
• Transportation and Pedestrian Safety Committee of SSCAB
• Silver Spring Transportation Management District
• Chamber of Commerce Government Relations Committee
• Silver Spring Town Center Inc Board of Directors
• Silver Spring Green Advisory Group
• Silver Spring Senior Village Start-Up Group
• Silver Spring Apartment Managers Start-Up Group
• Weed
&
Seed Advisory Group
• Countywide Pedestrian Safety Committee
• Downcounty Latino Group
Upcounty
• Upcounty Citizens Advisory Board
• Board of Trustees, BlackRock Center for the Arts
• Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce
• Poolesville Area Chamber of Commerce
• Clarksburg Chamber of Commerce
o
Gaithersburg City's Senior Center Task Force
East County
• East County Citizens Advisory Board
• East County Youth Advisory Board
• Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce
• East County Apartment Managers Group
Core Function #2:
Community Outreach
Maintain close and regular communication
with
Community leaders:
BCC
• Direct communication.
• Participation
in
stakeholder meetings.
• Email blasts to stakeholder leaders for urgent/timely information - Partner with police.
• Twice weekly electronic newsletter to 2000 subscribers.
• Twice monthly "open houses" with members ofthe community.
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Attachment B (page
5)
East County
• Bi-monthly electronic newsletter to 3300 East County residents.
• Weekly Crime Reports/Alerts to 800 East County residents.
• IDA Sector Meeting Partnership with Third District police - Meetings and Crime Prevention.
• Bi-annual Apartment Manager meetings to connect them with County Departments.
• Attending Civic Association Meetings.