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Council Interviews Applicants for District 5 Council Seat

With Valerie Ervin (D-District 5) about to step down from her position as District 5 council member, the council is interviewing applicants to fill her seat until the end of her term.

Council Member Valerie Ervin announced on Dec. 10, 2013, that she will become executive director of the Center for Working Families. She will resign her seat as the council’s District 5 representative in January. Credit: Montgomery County Council.
Council Member Valerie Ervin announced on Dec. 10, 2013, that she will become executive director of the Center for Working Families. She will resign her seat as the council’s District 5 representative in January. Credit: Montgomery County Council.

Interviews began Friday for the soon-to-be-vacant Montgomery County Council District 5 seat.

Currently, Democrat Valerie Ervin holds the seat, but—as she announced last month—she is stepping down this month to lead nonprofit New York City-based organization Center for Working Families, Patch reported.

The new council member must reside in District 5 and must be registered to vote as a Democrat (i.e., the same political party as Ervin), according to county law.

Applications for the position closed on Jan. 8, and the council is interviewing 13 applicants on Jan. 17, 22 and 24 in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville. The interviews are open to the public and will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). The broadcasts also will be streamed through the council web site at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council and later will be available on demand, according to a news release from the county council's office.

The interviews will start with a list of questions provided to interviewees in advance (see below for the questions).

The council is scheduled to vote on the appointment on Tuesday, Jan. 28. Right after the vote, the new council member will be sworn in by the clerk of the circuit court.

Interview schedule:

Jan. 17

  • Jeanette Dixon: 2 p.m.
  • Kim Jones: 2:30 p.m.
  • Alan Bowser: 3 p.m.
  • Dale Tibbitts: 3:30 p.m.
  • Michael Diegel: 4 p.m.

Jan. 22

  • Arthur Jackson Jr.: 2 p.m.
  • Herman Taylor: 2:30 p.m.
  • Andrew Kleine: 3 p.m.
  • Timothy Male: 3:30 p.m.
  • Cherri Branson: 4 p.m.

Jan. 24

  • Ronald Galvin Jr.: 2 p.m.
  • Jay Hutchins III: 2:30 p.m.
  • Daniel L. Wilhelm: 3 p.m.
Interview questions:
  1. Why would you like to be the interim council member for District 5, and what do you hope to accomplish in this role?
  2. What civic, professional or other experience qualifies you for this appointment
  3. What do you see as the three most important issues facing the council in 2014? Are there any issues that you would add to this list?
  4. Many of the council’s land use decisions require balancing the community’s desires for further economic development and enhanced environmental protection. What factors would you look at in trying to achieve a reasonable balance in individual cases?
  5. As you know, the operating budget for the public school system currently makes up about half of the total county operating budget, and the state maintenance of effort law requires its funding to be increased as enrollment increases. What factors would you look at in trying to balance the school system’s request for funding above the required level with the needs of other high priority county programs and agencies, such as libraries or public safety?
  6. This position requires a very large commitment of time and attention to prepare for meetings of the council and its committees and to interact extensively with constituents and others from the public sector, the private sector and the community at large. In particular, during much of April and May, the council will meet five days a week as we consider the budget. Are you prepared to make this commitment of time and attention?
  7. The current professional staff who serve District 5 residents collectively have more than 20 years' experience working for the legislative branch. Would you have any reservations about retaining the current staff to maintain continuity of service for District 5 residents?
  8. Is there any actual or potential conflict of interest, or anything else in your background, of which the council should be aware?
  9. Can you confirm that you do not intend to run for this seat, or the council generally, in this year’s election?

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