For the second time in two months, the Montgomery County Council has refused to approve an appropriation of nearly $400,000 to hire staff persons to develop and coordinate services for county youths, the handicapped, the elderly and minorities.
The council again told County Executive James P. Gleason, as it did almost two months ago, to specify how $150,000 would be spent for staff needs if that were all the council appropriated.
Gleason originally asked the council to appropriate $397,010 for the staff. However, the council has indicated it would look more favorably on an appropriation of $150,000.
Gleason, who has spent almost a year with a special task force collecting testimony and information on the problems of these groups, said in a brief interview after the council vote, "I'm going to submit a lower proposal." Gleason listen to the entire three-hour council discussion on the appropriation and walked out immediately afterward.
The council, which plans to consider the subject again at its regular session next week, has become increasingly hesitant to approve appropriations for large amounts of money.
Earlier Tuesday, the council debated a school board request for $358,000 needed to continue a desegregation program for specially targeted schools. The school board recently lost federal funding because it failed to meet federal requirements for the programs. The council agreed to hold a public hearing on the subject, but by a narrow vote of four to three.
The council's scrutiny of money requests was explained by Council President Elizabeth Scull in a memo in late July to Gleason concerning his program for youth, elderly, handicapped and minorities. "Due to Proposition 13 and other developments," Scull wrote, "the overall fiscal outlook for fiscal year 1980 has changed appreciably in recent months and it is within this new context that council members are evaluating this supplemental request."
But Gleason remained undaunted the atmosphere of cautious spending. Speaking before the council Tuesday on the merits of the appropriation, he said, "There are young people who will never make it to adulthood. There are people who from an accident of birth are not ablr to get jobs. Finally, there are people in this county who have the time and talent to help unfortunate citizens. This program is geared to give all these people a chance to realize their opportunities, and I don't give a damn about Proposition 13."
Members of Gleason's staff echoed his sentiments on the issue.
Among the staff members that would be hired, if the council decides to approve funding, would be persons to aid representatives of county youth organizations in outlining problems of youth and coordinating existing youth services.
Other staff members would be designated to help the handicapped find jobs and to coordinate services for them. Another person would be utilized as an advocated for minorities in county government. Among that staff member's duties would be to study minority recruitment by the county.
Finally, several staff members would be hired to evaluate programs offered to all the groups in Gleason's proposal, including the elderly. A members would be to identify duplicative programs and areas where programs are needed.
Nonetheless, the council voted three to three, with Esther Gelman abstaining, to defeat the proposal. A simple majority is required for approval.
Scull, Dickran Hovsepian and Jane Ann Moore voted for the $397,010 appropriation; John Menke, William Coleman and Neal Potter voted against it.