The Gaithersburg City Council announced last week that it will create a 13-member task force to explore the possibility of opening a day-laborer center in the city.
The task force will consist of 11 residents or business owners and two representatives from the local religious or nonprofit community.
The group will have until April 1 to examine how other jurisdictions have responded to increasing numbers of day laborers and recommend solutions. Dozens of day laborers, many of them immigrants, gather in the parking lot next to Grace United Methodist Church on North Frederick Avenue each morning to wait for possible employers.
Mayor Sidney A. Katz was part of a committee of church leaders and county officials who decided this year to create an employment center where day laborers would look for work and take English classes. City officials chose a building not far from Grace, but residents balked because it was too close to their homes. They also complained that they were not invited to participate on that committee.
Montgomery County officials, who had agreed to pay the building's lease, dropped their plans for the North Frederick facility after the city's support waned. But they have said they would fund a center somewhere else in the city.
At a work session last week, some city council members said they would be open to having the county operate a day-laborer center in the city.
"We do have a serious community problem," council member John B. Schlichting said. "I think we do need to deal with this reality that's in our midst."
Those interested in applying for the task force have to submit to the city a resume or biography and written statement about the day-laborer question by Nov. 16. Send applications to Day Laborer Task Force, City Hall, 31 South Summit Ave., Gaithersburg, Md. 20877.