In a time of transition for the county, environmentalists are eager to underscore priorities with a new County Executive and almost half of the County Council settling into their first term. 

To address concerns about the omission of clean water from his transition planning process, County Executive Marc Elrich requested a meeting in February with environmental leaders and newly appointed Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Director Adam Ortiz. A single meeting has given rise to the Green Montgomery Network, a group of environmental leaders from more two dozen different organizations. 

The Green Montgomery Network ( the Network for short) has met three times with Elrich, Ortiz and staff from the Executive’s office and DEP. It is an outgrowth of environmental advocates who served on the Elrich Greener County transition team in January. 

“I want there to be no ambiguity about my priorities,” Elrich said, about a month before the release of his transition team report. The Greener County team was assigned with exploring three areas, or indicators: greenhouse gas emissions, the country recycling rate and resident satisfaction with code enforcement. The code enforcement indicator left some members of the team scratching their heads and wondering why clean water -- a stated Elrich campaign priority -- had not been one of the three indicators. 

Emphasizing the importance of clean water as a pressing countywide issue, the Stormwater Partners Network, drafted a “ Clean Water Blueprint ” using the Results Based Accountability (RBA) framework used by Chief Administrative Officer Andrew Kleine. 
According to Kleine’s statement in the transition report, RBA is “an organized system of thinking and taking action that can be used to improve the quality of life in communities and the County as a whole, starting with the ends we desire and working backwards to the means.”

The Stormwater Partners requested that the draft Greener County transition team report be amended to include the Clean Water Blueprint. The Clean Water Blueprint was listed as a link at the end of the Greener County recommendations. 

An initial February 12 meeting with members of his Greener County transition team and other environmental leaders from all sections of the county helped to clarify some of the questions raised during the transition team meetings. At the end of that initial session, environmentalists asked that Elrich and Ortiz meet with them regularly so that natural resource issues could be kept transparent and front and center for the administration.

“We’re pleased about this engagement with the community,” said Ortiz in a recent meeting. “And we’re looking at other ways to involve the public in these discussions. Over the next few months, we’ll look to form working groups and prioritize based on the input we hear.”