Montgomery County Executive James P. Gleason has submitted legislation to the county council that would prohibit discrimination against the county's physically disabled in areas of employment, public accommodations and housing.
"Passage of this bill will represent continuing progress in assisting our handicapped to realize their full potential as workers and residents of Montogomery County," said Gleason Tuesday in a memo to the council.
The bill goes beyond existing state laws which prohibit discrimination against the handicapped in employment. In 1974, Montgomery County adopted legislation requiring new public buildings to accommodate the physically handicapped. The county council is expected to hold public hearings on the new proposals.
According to the state department of vocational rehabilitation, there are 60,000 non-institutionalized mentally and physically handicapped persons in the county.
At Tuesday's meeting, meanwhile, council members expressed concern that the purchasing power of county and school employees who have reached the top of their grades has been eroded in comparison to other employees who are below the top. Workers below the top of a grade receive automatic step grade increases each year until they reach the top.
Since fiscal 1973, cost-of-living increases granted county employees have ranged from 2.8 per cent to 7 per cent. However, Council President John Menke said that while many employees also get automatic step inceases, some 30 to 40 per cent of the employees are at the top of their grades and receive only cost-of-living increases.
"After three years of doing this, we're hitting people at the top of the grade harder and harder," he said. Menke offered no formal proposal to aid these workers.
Council member Jane Ann Moore commented, "I think that we have given the public the impression that the increases have been more or less equitable. But what has been presented as an equity has, in fact, hidden a lot of inequity."
Also at the meeting, the council approved Gleason's appointment of former council member Rose Kramer to a three-year term on the bicounty Washington Suburban Transit Commission. She replaces council member Norman Christeller who resigned from the commission two months ago.
Moore cast the lone dissenting vote, saying state law should require full financial disclosure by applicants to the WSTC in order to avoid conflicted of interest. The seven-member commission is the financing and plannig arm of the Metro system for suburban Maryland.
The council also approved modifications in laws covering the county's human relations commission. The new law creates two panels, one on housing and public accommodations, and one on employment. It also allows the council to determine compensation for members of the human relations commission.