At its Monday, January 24, 2021 meeting, the Rockville Mayor and Council will discuss the creation of an Education Commission, establish vaccination requirements to enter city buildings, review the staff hiring freeze, and discuss parkland dedication for new developments.
The proposed Education Commission seems to be focused on three diverse areas:
- encouraging student and school involvement in local government through presentations, events, town hall meetings, and internships
- active involvement with the Montgomery County Board of Education to improve communication and represent Rockville’s interests.
- serve as the liaison between residents and City Council on issues related to public education.
Still to be determined are the involvement of private schools, length of terms, financial impact, and which city department supports the commission. In a period of fiscal constraints, a pandemic, and a hiring freeze, adding another commission to the nearly three dozen commissions, committees, and taskforces already in service seems like we’re putting ten pounds of potatoes in a five-pound bag. How many meetings does that create each month? The City is already struggling with its existing boards and commissions to ensure diversity, transparency, coordination, training, mission focus, and effectiveness. Unfortunately, elected officials love to create shiny new things and rarely think about the longterm cost of time and money. The Mayor and Council doesn’t even have time to meet with every board, commission, and taskforce once a year—when will they be able to meet with one more? Is the Mayor and Council delegating responsibilities it should be doing, such as representing Rockville’s interests to the school board? Before we add another commission, eliminate an existing one or increase the budget to pay for improving the ones we have. This will be a public hearing, so residents may send comments or participate virtually by sending requests to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 10 am on the day of the meeting.
The Mayor and Council are discussing the possibility of requiring vaccinations for anyone entering or using city facilities, including members of boards and commissions, vendors and contractors, renters, employees, and guests. They’ll need to show proof of a “full dose of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the Federal Drug Administration and on a schedule consistent with the current US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines” or have a qualified exemption. The Mayor and Council already required vaccinations of all city employees by November 15, 2021, but strangely the Mayor and Council is not mentioned in this ordinance. Are they exempting themselves (a common trick used by Congress)?
More details in the 118-page agenda packet available at https://www.rockvillemd.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_01242022-6462.