Agenda Item 17
March 29, 2011
Public Hearing
MEMORANDUM
March 25,2011
TO:
County Council
FROM:
SUBJECT:
Robert H. Drummer, Senior Legislative Attorney
~~
Public Hearing: 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 Joint Government Operations and Fiscal PolicyIHealth and
Human Services Committee worksession is tentatively scheduled for April 27 at 2:00 p.m.
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 of the 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 ©1O-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. A
chart showing the various groups protected under Federal, State, and County anti-discrimination
laws is at ©12.
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.
This packet contains:
Circle
#
1
Expedited
Bill
5-11
Legislative Request Report
7
Executive's ORC Recommendations Memo - February 21,2011 8
Executive's March 1
Bill
Memo
10
Anti-Discrimination Laws Chart
12
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Expedited Bill No. .: :;.5-.. .:1. :.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:
(l)
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 Montgomery County, Maryland, 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
(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 iurisdiction 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(0
whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that the
respondent violated this Chapter, if:
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
*
27-4. Office of Human Rights.
*
*
*
*
15
16
*
(b) (1)
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.
17
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25
*
*
*
26
(4) Before a complaint is certified to the Commission under
Sections 27-7(0(2) or (g)(4), the director may investigate,
27
(})
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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).
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*
27-4A. Commission jurisdiction.
*
*
The Commission must handle any complaint for violation of the County's
human rights laws under this Chapter as follows:
W
For
£!
complaint that alleges
£!
discriminatory act that is also prohibited
under State or Federal law, the Commission must:
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;
ill
ill
ill
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
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45
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48
.Gil
For
£!
complaint that only alleges discriminatory acts that are not
prohibited
by
State or Federal law, the Commission must:
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
49
50
51
ill
(a)
process the complaint to resolution under this article.
52
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54
27-5. Duties generally.
The Commission must:
*
*
*
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Expedited Bill 5-11
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(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.
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A complaint must allege facts under oath to state
£!
violation of this
Article.
*
*
*
~
27-26A. Coordination
of fair
housing activities.
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
5~1l
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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, 2011.
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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Expedited Bill 5-11
109
110
processed under the provisions of this Act.
Sec. 3.
Expedited Effective Date.
111
112
The Council declares that this legislation is 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
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 BillS-I1
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:
APPLICATION
WITHIN
MUNICIPALITIES:
PENALTIES:
Not Applicable.
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OFFICE OF THE COUNTY EXECUTIVE
Isiah Leggett
County Executive
ROCKVILLE, MARYLA.ND 20850
MEMORANDUM
February 21, 2011
TO:
FROM:
Valerie Ervin, President, County counC!)
~
Isiah Leggett, County
ExecUtiV~
~-
..
SUBJECT: Organizational Reform 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 hoW'S in
developing the report. As the attached materials indicate, I am supportive ofmost 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 ofthese 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 (i.e.
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 of this 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 bas already indicated that at
this time they do not support State legislation that would enable the Council to merge
Park Police and County Police ifit later chose to do so. This legislation is a necessary
first step in implementing one of the most prominent recommendations ofthe ORC -- Le.,
(j)
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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 ofthat decision in the context of all of the
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 ofCounty Government is maximized.
Attachments
copies:
'.
Organizational Refonn Commission Members
Stephen B. Farber, COlmty 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
MClPG
112-11 -
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
Isiah Leggett
County Executive
ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND 20S50
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 of the urgent need to reduce County expenditures. to help close the projected $300
million gap for the FYl2 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 nghts 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 of the 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
th~t
will be handled by the
Office of Human 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 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 ofthe 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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Anti-Discrimination Provisions in Federal, State, and Montgomery
County Law
Protected Group
Age
Disability
• Genetic Information
National Origin
Race
Color
• Religion
Se
Marital Status
Sexual Orientation
· Presence of Children
Family Responsibilities
Source of Income
Gender Identity
try
Federal State County
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