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In Observance of International Human Rights Day, Olszewski Issues Executive Order Fostering Diversity and Equity

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today issued an Executive Order creating a Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Community Advisory Council and Employee Advisory Council, both aimed at advancing equity and inclusion in Baltimore County and changing the culture of County government to consistently focus on equity in decision-making.

The Executive Order also establishes a Policy Statement on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity that articulates the government’s commitment to applying an equity lens to all its work.

“Baltimore County is a large, diverse jurisdiction, and our communities have complex needs. We have a responsibility to ensure that our government serves our communities in an equitable way, and that we are doing everything in our power to celebrate diversity and advance equal opportunity,” Olszewski said.

Today’s Executive Order comes on Human Rights Day, an international observance commemorating December 10, 1948: the day United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—a milestone document proclaiming the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being. Available in more than 500 languages, it is the most translated document in the world.

Baltimore County’s Diversity

Baltimore County has 847,000 residents—the third largest population in Maryland. Nearly 30 percent of the County’s population is African American, 100,000 residents are foreign-born, and students in the County’s school system speak 97 different languages. Nine percent of the County’s households live below the federal poverty line, and 29 percent fall under the Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE), threshold, according to the United Way. Given Baltimore County’s diversity, Olszewski’s transition team identified a need to take steps to advance equity and inclusion.

Earlier this year, Olszewski included funding in his budget to create an Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and named Troy Williams as the County’s first-ever Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer.

“Advancing the cause of equity and inclusion requires a concerted effort to change the way we think and the way we work, and the steps outlined in today’s executive order are designed to help our government better respond to the needs of our communities,” Williams said.

The Executive Order

The Executive Order outlines a number of steps to advance the cause of equity and inclusion:

  • Articulates a policy statement on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity: Baltimore County government shall advance fair policies and practices by making decisions, providing opportunities and allocating resources and services through a diversity, inclusion and equity lens that ensures engagement, growth and prosperity for all county employees, residents, visitors and stakeholders.
  • Creates a Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Employee Awareness Program in order to ensure all county employees understand the policy statement and the county’s commitment to equitable decision-making.
  • Establishes a Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Employee Advisory Council to advocate for, engage in and respond to issues, concerns and needs of the County workforce as it relates to diversity, inclusion and equity.
  • Establishes a Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Community Advisory Council to advocate for, engage in and respond to issues, concerns and needs of county residents as it relates to diversity, inclusion and equity.

The full text of the Executive Order is provided below:

EXECUTIVE ORDER

BALTIMORE COUNTY DIVERSITY, INCLUSION AND EQUITY: POLICY STATEMENT; EMPLOYEE AWARENESS PROGRAM; EMPLOYEE ADVISORY COUNCIL; AND COMMUNITY ADVISORY COUNCIL

WHEREAS, Baltimore County has 847,000 residents—the third largest population in Maryland; and
WHEREAS, Baltimore County recognizes that diversity is one of the county’s greatest strengths; and
WHEREAS, it is imperative for county government to demonstrate a core commitment to advancing diversity, inclusion and equity practices that give voice to and strengthen all populations and communities; and
WHEREAS, nearly 30 percent of the County’s population is African American, 100,000 residents are foreign-born, and students in the County’s school system speak 97 different languages; and
WHEREAS, nine percent of the County’s households live below the federal poverty line, and 29 percent fall under the Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, or ALICE, threshold; and
WHEREAS, the veteran population density in the County is between four and six percent of Maryland’s total veteran population; and
WHEREAS, 17 percent of County residents are persons over the age of 65; and
WHEREAS, more than seven percent of county residents, under the age of 65, are living with a disability; and
WHEREAS, four percent of the adult population in Maryland identifies as LGBT; and
WHEREAS, Baltimore County is home to over 4,000 immigrant entrepreneurs who contribute to the small business economy; and
WHEREAS, Baltimore County government is an economic engine for the region, employing more than 8,000 employees and spending approximately $3.6 billion annually in operating expenses; and
WHEREAS, it is critically important that all county employment, procurement and operational activities foster equitable outcomes for all individuals, populations and communities, particularly those that have been traditionally underserved; and
WHEREAS, it is important for every county employee to understand their professional obligation to promulgate polices, provide services and make decisions through an equity lens whenever possible; and
WHEREAS, it is the goal of this Administration to ensure that all county resources, opportunities and services are administered in an equitable manner, that values diversity and inclusion for all county employees, residents, visitors and stakeholders; and
WHEREAS, it is the goal of this Administration to ensure that every county employee is aware of Baltimore County’s policy statement on diversity, inclusion and equity; and
WHEREAS, it is the goal of this Administration to provide employees with the opportunity to take on an active roles in fostering an enterprise-wide culture that acknowledges, values and celebrates diversity, inclusion and equity; and
WHEREAS, it is the goal of this Administration to provide diverse groups of county residents with the opportunity to provide advocacy and counsel to county leadership on issues of diversity, inclusion and equity;
Now, therefore, it is this 10th day of December, 2019, by the County Executive of Baltimore County, Maryland ordered that the Administration shall pursue and implement, the following with regard to diversity, inclusion and equity:

Section I. Policy Statement on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity.

Baltimore County government shall advance fair policies and practices by making decisions, providing opportunities and allocating resources and services through a diversity, inclusion and equity lens that ensures engagement, growth and prosperity for all county employees, residents, visitors and stakeholders.

Section II. Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Employee Awareness Program.

A.  Purpose.
The Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Awareness Program is intended to ensure that every Baltimore County employee is aware of the county’s policy statement regarding diversity, inclusion and equity, while also providing general awareness education.

B. Program Components.

  1. Every current county employee shall annually be provided with a copy of the Baltimore County Policy Statement on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity.
  2. Every current county employee shall annually provide a signed acknowledgement of the Baltimore County Policy Statement on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity.
  3. All of the county’s new employee orientation sessions shall include a presentation that minimally addresses the following topics:
    1. Review and signed acknowledgement of the Baltimore County Policy Statement on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity.
    2. Applying an equity lens to policies, practices and decision-making.
    3. Introduction to cultural competency.
  4. The county may institute additional diversity, inclusion and equity training for all county employees as deemed necessary.

Section III. Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Employee Advisory Council.

A. Purpose.
The Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Employee Advisory Council (hereinafter, “The Employee Council”) shall advocate for, engage in and respond to issues, concerns and needs of the workforce as it relates to diversity, inclusion and equity across government. The Employee Council’s responsibilities shall include:

  1. Providing advisement to, and working collaboratively with, the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer on specific workforce diversity, inclusion and equity issues, to include: employee training, customer service delivery, public policy analysis and impacts, workplace accommodations and other relevant topics.
  2. Assisting in the planning of workplace initiatives and/or events designed to foster a culture that acknowledges, advances and celebrates diversity, inclusion and equity across the enterprise.

B.  Membership.
The Employee Council shall consist of at least 12 and not more than 20 voting members. The voting members shall consist of current Baltimore County employees, drawn from a cross-section of professional classifications, departments and agencies. The Employee Council will seek to maintain diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation/identity, national origin, religion, physical/mental ability and other relevant classifications.

C. Terms.
Each voting member will be appointed by the Baltimore County Executive for a term of one year. An appointed member may be re-appointed for not more than three consecutive one-year terms.

D. Chair.
The Chair of the Employee Council shall be the Baltimore County Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. The Chair shall have one vote, equal to that of each voting member of the Employee Council.

E. Meetings.
The Employee Council shall meet at the request of the Chair as frequently as required to perform its duties, but not less than quarterly.

F. Quorum.
A majority of voting members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business and an affirmative vote of the majority of those present at any meeting shall be sufficient for any official action.

Section IV.  Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Community Advisory Council.

A. Purpose.
The Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Community Advisory Council (hereinafter, “The Community Council”) shall advocate for, engage in and respond to issues, concerns and needs of county residents as it relates to diversity, inclusion and equity. The Community Council’s responsibilities shall include:

  1. Providing advisement to, and working collaboratively with, the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer on specific community diversity, inclusion and equity issues, to include: community education and awareness; equitable access to government opportunities, resources and services; public policy analysis and impacts; public accommodations; and other relevant topics.
  2. Assisting in the planning of community initiatives and/or events designed to foster a culture that acknowledges, advances and celebrates diversity, inclusion and equity county-wide.

B.  Membership.
The Community Council shall consist of at least 7 and not more than 14 voting members. Each County Council member shall appoint one representative from each of their respective council districts. The County Executive shall also appoint up to 7 additional members, serving at-large. The Community Council will seek to maintain diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation/identity, national origin, religion, physical/mental ability and other relevant classifications.

C. Terms.
Each voting member will be appointed by the Baltimore County Executive for a term of two years. An appointed member may not serve more than two consecutive two-year terms.

D. Chair.
The Chair of the Community Council shall be elected to a one year term by the voting membership. The Chair shall have one vote, equal to that of each voting member of the Community Council.

E. Meetings.
The Community Council shall meet at the request of the Chair as frequently as required to perform its duties, but not less than quarterly.

F. Quorum.
A majority of voting members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business and an affirmative vote of the majority of those present at any meeting shall be sufficient for any official action.

Section V. Staff Assistance.

Staff assistance shall be provided by the Office of Human Resources and the Baltimore County Executive’s Office.

Section VI. Effective Date.

This Executive Order shall take effect immediately according to its terms.


Pledges to Advocate for County Governments in Annapolis

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski was elected Treasurer of the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) for the 2019 to 2020 term today during the organization’s winter conference in Cambridge, Maryland.

As treasurer, County Executive Olszewski will guide the finances and long-term fiscal planning for MACo, a nonpartisan statewide organization that advocates the needs of local government to the Maryland General Assembly, representing all of Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City.

“I am proud to join my colleagues on the Executive Committee, where we will work together to find common ground and support the needs of communities across our state,” said Olszewski. “I’m honored to represent Baltimore County and looking forward to serving Marylanders as MACo’s next treasurer.”

Olszewski, who took office a year ago this week, will serve on the MACo statewide leadership team for a one-year term along with Sharon Green Middleton, Baltimore City Council (president); Wilbur Levengood, Caroline County Commissioner (first vice president); Laura Price, Talbot County Council (second vice president); Calvin Ball, Howard County Executive (secretary); and Barry Glassman, Harford County Executive (past-president).

Olszewski previously served on the 2019 MACo’s Board of Directors.


Interactive Portal Shares Information About Comprehensive Zoning Map Process

Baltimore County’s Department of Planning has launched a new interactive web dashboard displaying zoning issues raised during the 2020 Comprehensive Zoning Map Process (CZMP), making the process more accessible to county residents.

Every four years, Baltimore County residents may review the zoning classifications of any property in the county and request changes. Spanning 12 months, the process seeks input from residents, property owners, the Planning Board, county staff and the County Council. Ultimately, the County Council decides on whether to change a property’s zoning, taking a final vote in September 2020.

The new 2020 CZMP dashboard monitors, tracks, and assesses zoning issue request data. This tool can be used to view zoning statistics of all areas in the County that are impacted by a zoning issue request. The statistics can be shown at the countywide level, council district level or by issue.

“Since taking office, my administration has made it a priority to make county services more accessible and transparent,” County Executive Johnny Olszewski said. “The Comprehensive Zoning Map Process is a critical step in determining land use and planning for our county, and we’re committed to making this process open and accessible to all of our residents.”

The CZMP Process

Since opening CZMP to public comment, the planning department has received 191 requests from individuals, community associations, landowners and others seeking to change the zoning classification of properties covering a total of 2,075 acres.

“Already, the CZMP process has had extensive input from residents across our county, and we want to continue to be inclusive and transparent through this yearlong process,” said Planning Director Pete Gutwald. “We’re proud to launch this Zoning Dashboard, which will make this process more accessible to our residents.”

Resident input began in August and ran through October 15. Over the next several months the Department of Planning, along with other key agencies, will be reviewing all of the requested changes to zoning. Planning Board Public Hearings begin in March 2020.

A complete timeline is available online.

Questions about the CZMP process can be directed to the Department of Planning at 410-887-3480 or at czmp2020@baltimorecountymd.gov.

View the Zoning Dashboard.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017