MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF LAUREL
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2023
MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF LAUREL
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2023
Douglas Redd- Emergency Services Commission
7. General Public Hearing
MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF LAUREL
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2023
The meeting convened in the Council Chamber of the Laurel Municipal Center at approximately 6:00 pm with Council President Brencis D. Smith presiding.
Mayor Moe led the Pledge of Allegiance.
The roll was called with Councilman James Kole, Councilman Carl DeWalt, Councilman Martin Mitchell, Councilman Keith R. Sydnor and Craig A. Moe, Mayor present.
The following staff members were also present: Christian L Pulley, CPM, City Administrator, Joanne Barr, Deputy City Administrator, Sara A. Green, CMC, City Clerk, Bill Bailey, Director, Department of Parks and Recreation, Audrey Barnes, Director, Department of Communications, James Cornwell-Shiel, Director, Department of Information Technology, Chief Russell Hamill, LPD, Brian K. Lee, Director, Department of Public Works, Robert Love, Director, Department of Economic and Community Development, S. Michele Saylor, Director, Department of Budget and Personnel Services, Danny Selby, Director, Office of the Fire Marshal and Permit Services, Larry Taub, City Solicitor, Monta Burrough, Deputy Director, Department of Economic and Community Development and Chrissy Cornwell, Emergency Manager. Many members of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 11 and City of Laurel Department of Public Works employees were also in attendance. There were approximately seventeen (17) members of the public in attendance.
The next agenda item was approval of the minutes of the:
The minutes listed above were approved on motion by Councilman Kole, seconded by Councilman Sydnor and carried on a roll call vote of all other members present.
The next agenda item was the report of the Mayor and City Council.
Councilman Mitchell recognized the black elected municipal officials: Reginald Parks, Fred Smalls, Valerie Nicholas, Councilman Sydnor, President Smith and himself as Black History Month came to a close. February 3, 2023 Laurel High School wrestling team; PGCMA monthly meeting via Zoom; 2/18 Selborne House food, clothing, etc. Giveaway; February 19, 2023 Love Life Café book signing, Prince George’s County House Delegation meeting in support of PG-309 a bill that would give restaurants in the entertainment district of Main Street some liquor licenses. February 21, 2023 Black History Month Read-in at Laurel Elementary School, Nothing Bundt Cakes grand opening at Centre at Laurel; February 25, 2023 3A/4A South Regionals to support the Laurel High School Wrestling Team; February 26, 2023 It’s all about Laurel Exhibit at Laurel Museum; Announced that February 28, 2023 was Fair Housing Day and a Hearing would be held on CB-007 in Prince George’s County; Appreciated all City workers and the International Labor Organization made collective bargaining a principal standard, workers should be able to organize, was approached by a Department of Public Works employee who wanted the right to collectively bargain and form a union and he supported that.
Councilman DeWalt said he attended the annual Deep Creek Dunk last weekend and Chief Hamill and other Laurel Police Department Officers were there representing Laurel Police. Councilman DeWalt also read an email from his neighbor Kusuma (Attached hereto as Attachment #1) who witnessed a vehicular accident on Fifth Street that involved a woman being struck by a vehicle the previous week. Kusuma initially thought it had been a child that was hit by the car because the accident occurred at approximately 7:15 am when a lot of parents were taking their kids to school. In the email, Kusuma stated that she felt speeding was a significant problem on the numbered streets in old town Laurel and that speed bumps would make people slow down. Councilman DeWalt agreed with Councilman Mitchell regarding unionization and said that before he came to Maryland, he was a shop steward for the United States Steel Workers in Pennsylvania for eight (8) years and when he came to Laurel and became Laurel FOP Lodge President the first thing the group tried to accomplish was to have collective bargaining for the Laurel Police Department and that at that time the Mayor and City Council were against collective bargaining and that it was amazing that six (6) years ago, under the leadership of Sergeant Aaron Waddell, Lodge 11 was successful in getting collective bargaining for the FOP Lodge 11. Councilman DeWalt said that collective bargaining meant piece of mind for employees and that he would support collective bargaining for any City employee.
Councilman Sydnor attended the February 22, 2023 Laurel Senior Housing Black History Month event; spoke about the unionization and that he had been a longtime member of the Federal Bureau of Prisons American Federation of Government Employees union and when he came to DC in 2003 to work for District Pre-trial Services they did not have a union, so in 2006 he helped organize a union and acted as a steward to support the union. Councilman Sydnor was also involved with negotiating the union’s contracts. Councilman Sydnor said that he always said that the Laurel Police Department, Department of Public Works and Department of Parks and Recreation worked hard every day and that he was in support of all City employees and he was sure that the Administration would be open to negotiating with employees and that he had a lot of experience in working with unions.
Councilman Kole said that he also attended many of the events already mentioned by Councilmembers, so he would keep his remarks to the things that had not been mentioned. On February 23, 2023, he attend the swearing in of new City of Laurel Police Officer Tiago DeCarvalho; On February 26, 2023 he attended the funeral service for longtime Laurel Volunteer Fire Department member Bill Watts; February 28, 2023 at 6:00pm would be the Environmental Affairs Committee meeting; Saturday, March 4, 2023 would be attending an invasive vine removal behind the Laurel Museum and invited everyone to participate; March 8, 2023 at 6:00 pm would be the next Pride Day Committee meeting.
President Smith was happy to see the Laurel Police Department and the Department of Public Works employees attending the meeting and he was open to union contracts like he thought the majority of his colleagues were. President Smith presented Councilman Sydnor and Councilman Mitchell each with a plaque thanking them for their service as elected officials for Black History Month. Thanked Mayor Moe, the Administration and everyone in the City for celebrating Black History Month and being diverse.
Mayor Moe offered condolences to the friends and family of Bill Watts who was a longtime volunteer in the City of Laurel and a retired Prince George’s County Police Officer; He offered condolences to the friends and family of Denise Schaab who was a former Commander at the American Legion Post 60 in Laurel and to Mark Freeman, Department of IT employee on the loss of his father; Wished a speedy recovery to Mr. Tommy Scaggs who is a member of the Emergency Services Commission was in an accident the other day and sustained injuries; February 16-17 attended the Maryland Mayor’s Winter Conference; Attended the memorial Service for William Watts; on February 19, 2023 attended the Prince George’s County House Delegation 2023 Late-File Public Bill Hearing as a bill regarding liquor licenses for the Main Street area had been filed without the knowledge of the City or the 21st Delegation but everything was worked out and he thanked the Delegates and Senator for their support; February 21, 2023 hosted an Alley Community Meeting; February 23, 2023 attended the swearing in of new City of Laurel Police Officer Tiago DeCarvalho and hosted the Prince George’s County Municipal Association General Body meeting at the Laurel Municipal Center. Mayor Moe noted that what was before the Mayor and City Council that night was not extending anything it was approving the FOP’s newly negotiated contract because the City already had an approved labor agreement with the FOP and thanked the FOP and the City’s negotiating team for all of their hard work getting the contract completed. Thanked the Department of Public Works employees that were attending the meeting and that if he had known ahead of time that there were certain things that they had wanted to move forward on, they’d have been taking care of and wouldn’t have needed to be at a meeting. Mayor Moe said that union representatives that were there knew that there would have to be certain things put into place before things could occur and that the Administration would work to hear all employees out as had always been the case. He said that as the Councilmembers had mentioned, all wanted to hear them out and do what was best for the employees.
The next agenda item was the Mayoral appointment of Mr. Douglas Redd to the Emergency Services Commission. Mr. Redd was in attendance, stood and was acknowledged by Mayor and thanked him for volunteering to serve. Councilman Sydnor made a motion to approve the recommendation to appoint Mr. Redd to the Emergency Services Commission. The motion was seconded by Mr. Kole and carried on a roll call vote of all other members present as written.
Agenda Item No. 7 was the General Public Hearing opened by President Smith at 6:29pm. President Smith said he would call the speakers from the sign-up list, reminded that speakers were limited to three (3) minutes each and were asked to state their name and address for the record. The following people were signed up to speak and were called on in this order:
President Smith closed the public hearing at 6:49 pm.
Agenda Item No. 8 was the second public hearing with possible action on Resolution No. 2-2023- A Resolution of the Mayor and City Council of Laurel, Maryland Designating the Month of April 2023 and Thereafter each Month of April, As "No Mow Month", to Encourage Residents to Voluntarily Delay Lawn Care and Mowing to Support Pollinator-Friendly Habitat During a Critical Period of Pollinator Emergence and Providing an Effective Date. President Smith read the title into the record for the second public hearing and asked Councilman Kole if he had anything to add. Councilman Kole mentioned that he had recently attended the Greenscape Symposium at Brookside Gardens and that taking just one month not to mow grass would really help pollinators. President Smith opened and closed the public hearing at 6:51 pm noting that there was no one signed up to speak on the item. Councilman Kole made a motion to approve Resolution No. 2-2023 as presented. The motion was seconded by Councilman Sydnor and carried on a roll call vote with Mayor Moe concurring.
Agenda Item No. 9 was the second public hearing with possible action on Resolution No. 3-2023- A Resolution of the Mayor and City Council of Laurel, Maryland for the Purpose of Approving an Agreement Between the City of Laurel and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 11. President Smith read the title into the record for the second public hearing. Ms. Christian L. Pulley, CPM, City Administrator did not have anything to add and thanked the FOP and the negotiating team for all of their hard work on the contract. Councilman Sydnor said that he had conversations with the City Administrator, Mayor and FOP President regarding salary and wage increases and that he always said that everyone had to remember that there also had to be money left for all of the other employees to receive fair wages. Wanted to put on the record that he and the Administration were concerned with all employees getting pay increases and that he had been on the Council during the last FOP contract agreement in 2017, that when the FOP received an increase in pay all of the other employees also received an increase in pay.
Councilman Mitchell asked Ms. Pulley about follow-up from the last meeting regarding the annual use of force report he had asked about and asked when the report would be posted. Chief Hamill said that the report would be posted by the end of March. City of Bowie, City of College Park and City of Mt. Rainier in Prince George’s County also have collective bargaining agreements and he was happy to be signing the collective bargaining agreement.
Councilman DeWalt made a motion to approve Resolution No. 3-2023. Councilman Mitchell seconded the motion that was carried on a roll call vote with Mayor Moe concurring. Mayor Moe thanked Mr. Weiner for all of his hard work over the years, stating that he was the first attorney that the City worked with on collective bargaining for the Laurel Police Department and took the time to explain everything. Mayor Moe also thanked the FOP Lodge 11, Laurel Police Department, City Administrator Pulley and all of the staff who worked on the negotiations and agreement.
There being no further business to come before the Mayor and City Council, the meeting was adjourned at approximately 6:57pm.
Approved: Sara A. Green, CMC, City Clerk Date: March 27, 2023
Email from Kusuma to Councilman DeWalt dated February 17, 2023