December 4, 2014

Leggett Sworn In for Third Term; Two New Councilmembers Take Office with Incumbents

The officials elected to lead the County Government for the next four years were sworn in at Inaugural ceremonies held at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville on December 1.

County Executive Ike Leggett waves to the audience after taking the oath of office. The nine members of the Council sworn in are (from left):  Craig Rice, George Leventhal, Roger Berliner, Marc Elrich, Nancy Floreen, Tom Hucker and Sidney Katz (the two new members), Nancy Navarro and Hans Riemer.

The Montgomery County Executive and County Council. Seated (left to right): Hans Riemer, Nancy Floreen (vice president), George Leventhal (president) and Tom Hucker. Standing (left to right): Roger Berliner, Sidney Katz, County Executive Ike Leggett, Nancy Navarro, Craig Rice and Marc Elrich.

Watch the video of the Inauguration Ceremony.

In his speech, Leggett, looked back on “the incredible journey of the past eight years” and looked ahead “to the exciting landscape on the horizon of the next four years and beyond.

“Eight years of hard work is paying off, during that time we laid a new foundation upon which to build our dreams. The County’s momentum is accelerating. But in order to continue to move forward we must eliminate additional barriers to remain competitive regionally, nationally and globally.”

In his speech, Leggett detailed a six-point plan designed to make Montgomery more competitive and promote more investment and job growth.

“Montgomery County will never shy away from competition as long as I am your County Executive.

“Over the next four years, I want to refocus on our economic growth and shared prosperity and put to rest some misperceptions about the business climate in Montgomery County.

“Right here and now, we must dispel any myths about a lack of a welcoming business environment.

“I want us to usher in and foster a ‘culture of yes’ when it comes to doing business in Montgomery County.”

In remarks presented at the Inauguration, Council President Craig Rice talked about functioning as “One Montgomery.”

“This Council will serve once again with our great County Executive, Ike Leggett.  I am intensely proud of the historic collaboration between the Executive and the Council when the County’s fiscal future was truly on the line….

“A central theme of our work together has been that we must function as ‘One Montgomery’ -- that if the County is to stay on track as the economic and educational engine of the State, we must confront the challenges and embrace the opportunities before us together. ‘One Montgomery’ means that all of us -- the Council, the Executive, and our Delegations in both the General Assembly and Congress, as well as the School Board, the College, the Park and Planning Commission, the WSSC and our entire community—must sharpen our focus and work as one, together to achieve our goals.”

Read Council President Craig Rice’s Inaugural Remarks.

Immediate Past Council President Rice Reflects on His Term

As he concluded his one-year term as Council President, Councilmember Craig Rice (District 2) summed up the many accomplishments of the Council this year. He also said that he was glad that the Council was able to address many of the goals he set upon taking office.

“This year, I worked hand in hand with County Executive Leggett and his staff, Superintendent Starr and the School Board, Dr. Pollard and Montgomery College and Stu Edelstein and Universities at Shady Grove to make sure Montgomery County stayed on track as the economic engine and education leader of the State.

“In 2012, I had the privilege to visit the White House where President Obama told a group of Young Elected Officials that ‘You don’t get elected to be somebody; you get elected to do something.’ And I feel confident that we answered the President’s call: We certainly did a lot this year.”

See full text of remarks.

Council Elects Officers for Coming Year

The County Council has unanimously elected George Leventhal (At Large) as president and Nancy Floreen (At Large) as vice president for the year ahead.

President Leventhal, who served as Council vice president this past year, is beginning his 13th year on the Council. He previously served as Council president in 2006. He chairs the Council's Health and Human Services Committee and also serves on the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee.

Vice President Floreen was first elected to the Council in 2002. She chaired the Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment (T and E) Committee until 2010, when she became chair of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee. She remains a member of the T and E Committee.

In his remarks, Leventhal said, “Another election is now behind us. Some people may think that the election results demonstrate that Marylanders are fed up with taxes, but I don’t see it that way. I think Marylanders and Montgomery County residents want to know that their taxes are paying for a government that works.

“We are ready to work with Maryland’s new governor. We want a state government that works, and we want a County Government that works. We are not Congress, and we are not going to engage in petty partisanship at the expense of our efficiency or our productivity. We want results, and we want a County Government focused on customer service.

“I was glad to hear County Executive Leggett in his speech...focusing on strengthening our economy and streamlining bureaucracy.

“We want to generate jobs, so that everyone who wants a job will be able to get one. We need to take a real look at workforce development. We have a disconnect between workers who need jobs and employers who need workers. Some are still feeling the systemic effects of the recession and need re-training and skill development. We must have a more robust training or unemployment program.”

Read full text of Leventhal’s remarks. 

Chat Online with the County Executive

Residents are invited to share their comments and/or concerns about issues with County Executive Ike Leggett during his next Online Chat to be held on December 10 from  2 to 3 p.m.

Questions may be submitted before or during the chat at Live Discussion with Ike Leggett.

Questions and answers will be posted both during and after the chat.

For more information, call the Office of Public Information at 240-777-6507.

Life Sciences Impact Grant Program to Retain Jobs and Stimulate Growth Launched; Information Session Set for December 12

Under a new program aimed at strengthening the Life Sciences industry within the County, the Department of Economic Development (MCDED) has announced that grants of $5,000 to $25,000 will be available to companies to assist in the advancement of business development and product development initiatives.

An information session for potential grant applicants will be held on December 12 at 10 a.m, at DED’s offices, 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 800, Rockville.

Montgomery County Life Sciences companies are encouraged to submit an application that will be evaluated on the strength and ability of the company to execute the project, ability to leverage other funding sources and use of local vendors for goods/services purchased for the project.

The deadline for applications is Friday, January 2, 2015. Between five and seven companies will be selected to receive grants and will be notified by February 20, 2015.

Find the application.

Get more information about the program.

Ride On May Institute ‘S’ Plan During Winter Storms, Other Emergencies

When snow, storms or other special circumstances occur that affect Ride On’s ability to follow normal weekday schedules, the County’s transit service may operate under the 'S' Service Plan. Under the plan, Ride On attempts to maintain some bus service on all its routes even when conditions prevent staying on a regular schedule. Read more.

Pilot Snow Removal Program Launched for Capital Crescent Trail

Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is launching a pilot snow removal program this winter for the Montgomery Parks portion of the Capital Crescent Trail in Bethesda.

Park staff will clear snow on three and a half miles of the trail starting at the Bethesda Avenue entrance point to the Montgomery County / Washington D.C. line, as well as along 12 feeder trails. Parks staff will begin clearing the trail within 24 hours from when snow stops falling.

Regular updates on the status of snow removal along the trail will be posted on Montgomery Parks’ website at during and after snow events. Trail users are welcome to contribute updates on the conditions of the trail via Twitter using #CCTSnow.

Funded by the County, the pilot program includes a one-time allocation to purchase special trail clearing equipment, as well as support to cover staff time.

The Capital Crescent Trail is a 10-foot wide, 11-mile hiker-biker trail connecting Silver Spring to Georgetown in Washington D.C. It is one of the most heavily used trails in the United States and is a recognized commuter trail by the Maryland Department of Transportation.