Roger Berliner was elected president of the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday, and the results of the November election were still on his mind.
“For one consequence of the presidential election, our work at the local level becomes even more important if the values that have defined our community are to be realized,” Berliner told his colleagues after the unanimous vote.
He said how council members do their work matters more now.
“In a time of great anger, our response must be we must double down on respectful discourse, on listening even more carefully to what our residents are saying to us, on honoring the legitimate need of all our residents—and in finding common ground,” Berliner said.
Council member Hans Riemer was chosen as the council’s vice president.
Berliner was the council’s vice president last year, and by custom, a vice president is elected president the following year, which means Riemer will be the council president during 2018, an election year that will include races for county executive and council seats.
Berliner said his priorities would be to focus on improving education and transportation; creating a community that is a model of inclusiveness; expanding the ladder of opportunity; and creating vibrant communities.
Berliner took over for council member Nancy Floreen, who, in her address looking back on the year, noted the “education first” budget passed by the council in May.
“As a result of our budget decisions, students and parents are now getting more teachers, paraeducators, counselors and other student support positions, as well as expanded programs to support achievement goals and enhance college and career readiness,” Floreen said.
She also noted the passage of legislation that prohibits minors from using indoor tanning beds, and mandates food allergen awareness training in restaurants.
In her speech, Floreen mentioned an accomplishment for each council member, including Berliner’s effort to reduce food insecurity in the county and council member Tom Hucker’s efforts to help the families displaced by the explosion and fire at the Flower Branch apartments in Silver Spring that killed seven people.