Town of Forest Heights, MD
Prince George's County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Town of Forest Heights. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Approved 1-16-1980, effective 1-16-1980]
The following underlined words and phrases when used in this Code shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them in this section:
COUNCILPERSON
Any member of the Town Council of the Town of Forest Heights and synonymous with Councilman.
FULL-TIME EMPLOYEE
Any employee of the Town who customarily works 40 or more hours per week.
MAYOR
The Mayor of the Town of Forest Heights.
TOWN COUNCIL
The Mayor and Council for the Town of Forest Heights.
[Amended 12-20-2000, effective 1-19-2001; 3-7-2011 by Ord. No. 02-11; 8-1-2011 by Em. Ord. No. 13-11; 2-5-2015 by Ord. No. 01-15; 2-6-2017 by Ord. No. 01-17]
The Mayor shall receive a salary of $10,000 per year, payable monthly or unless otherwise prescribed by resolution of the Mayor and Town Council. Each Council person shall receive a salary of $2,800 per year, payable monthly or unless otherwise prescribed by resolution of the Mayor and Town Council.
The Town Council is authorized and empowered to provide the employees of the Town with benefits, including, but not limited to, death benefits, surgical, hospitalization and other sick benefits, under group insurance plans or otherwise.
[Amended 5-21-1980, effective 7-1-1980; 7-18-2012 by Em. Ord. No. 11-12; 11-20-2013 by Em. Ord. No. 05-13; 3-16-2016 by Em. Ord. No. 02-16]
A. 
Appointments and promotions. The appointment and promotion of all employees of the Town who are employed to work full-time shall require the affirmative vote of a majority of the Town Council, excluding any vacancies.
B. 
Merit protections. Subject to any applicable or superseding provisions of Section 33-93 (Code of Conduct) of the Town Charter and except as otherwise stated in this section, no full-time employee of the Town, who has been employed 12 months or longer, shall be reduced in pay (i.e., a demotion), suspended or permanently separated except for cause as stated in writing, and with the affirmative vote of a majority of the Town Council following a hearing.
C. 
Hearings. Prior to any decision of the Town Council to reduce in pay or permanently separate a full-time employee, the employee shall be afforded a preliminary hearing followed by an evidentiary hearing. Said evidentiary hearing shall occur at least 14 days after the preliminary hearing. An employee may be represented only by qualified legal counsel or pro se (i.e., by self) at the evidentiary hearing, but may not be represented by a layperson at either hearing. An employee or his or her legal counsel may present evidence and cross-examine witnesses. Unless other law states otherwise, an employee shall have no right to legal counsel at a preliminary hearing. Notwithstanding anything in this Section to the contrary, the Council may immediately suspend with or without pay a full-time employee pursuant to Subsection B pending a subsequent evidentiary hearing.
D. 
Suspensions. The Mayor without the prior consent or approval of Council shall be authorized to suspend i) with pay any full-time employee for a period of up to 10 regular workdays, or ii) any full-time employee without pay for a period of up to two consecutive regular workdays or two separate workdays within any single pay period for cause stated in writing and presented to the employee. Any suspension imposed by the Mayor under this section shall be approved, ratified, extended, reversed, modified or canceled by the Council after a hearing. The Council further reserves the right, subsequent to an evidentiary hearing, to impose a reduction in pay for a full-time employee equivalent to or exceeding the amount paid or previously paid to said employee during any suspension period with pay previously imposed by the Mayor.
E. 
Exceptions. Except for the Chief of Police, this section does not apply to sworn law enforcement personnel and hourly (FLSA non-exempt) employees of the Department of Public Works. Law enforcement officers of the Town shall have their employment rights primarily governed by the provisions of the "Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights" (Public Safety Article, § 3-101 et seq. of the Annotated Code of Maryland). All employees shall be further governed by the employee handbook and any other ordinances, rules, regulations, or policies governing Town personnel.
F. 
Grandfather clause. Any full-time hourly (non-exempt) employee of the Department of Public Works separated but hired before March 16, 2016, shall be entitled to a post-termination hearing before the Council, provided that the employee requests such a hearing in writing within three days of the employee's termination date. Any termination by the Mayor appealed under this subsection shall be approved, ratified, extended, reversed, modified or canceled by the Council, and the Council may restore any lost compensation resulting from the Mayor's disciplinary action.
[Amended 5-16-2012 by Ord. No. 05-12, effective 6-15-2012]
A. 
The Town Council may, from time to time, by resolution issue such rules and regulations governing: 1) the use of Town property by officers, employees, and volunteers and 2) the compensation, discipline, performance, safety, separation and all other matters pertaining to the employment, supervision or management of the Town’s officers, employees, and volunteers, as it deems appropriate.
B. 
The Town Administrator, with the approval of the Mayor, may, from time to time, by order or directive, promulgate rules, regulations, or policies governing employee compensation (except salaries, wages, pensions and other monetary compensation), discipline, performance, safety, separation, leave, and all other matters pertaining to the employment, supervision or management of the Town’s employees and volunteers that are not in conflict with or contrary to the established and approved Charter provisions, ordinances, resolutions or administrative directives of the Council, provided that the Town Administrator and the Mayor shall not without Council approval alter the quantity or amount of employee compensation, leave or other benefits but may otherwise place reasonable restrictions and conditions on the use thereof or implementation of said leave or other employee benefits. The Town Administrator, with the approval of the Mayor, shall further have the delegated authority to establish any rule, regulation or policy that reasonably interprets, implements, expounds upon or otherwise establishes policy in areas where the Council has heretofore not yet acted.
C. 
The Town Administrator shall have the duty to give reasonable notice to the employees of any promulgated rule, regulation, order or directive permitted under this section. Reasonable notice may include but is not limited to posting any proposed rule, regulation, order or directive on a designated bulletin board or other conspicuous place in the municipal building for no less than five work days prior to its effective date. The Town Clerk shall ensure that the proposed or newly effective rule, regulation, order or directive is provided to the Council for its consideration to rescind, modify, ratify, approve or otherwise let stand should the Council elect to take or not take further action on said rule, regulation, order or directive.
D. 
Any proposed rule, regulation or policy to be established by the Town Administrator, with the approval of the Mayor, under this section shall be reviewed by the Town Attorney for legal sufficiency and shall bear the signature of said Attorney prior to its implementation.
Holidays shall conform to Federal holidays as set forth in 5 U.S. Code, § 6103, (Monday Holiday Law), and will be observed as follows:
New Year's Day
January 1
Washington's Birthday
Third Monday in February
Memorial Day
Last Monday in May
Independence Day
July 4
Labor Day
First Monday in September
Columbus Day
Second Monday in October
Veteran's Day
November 11
Thanksgiving Day
Fourth Thursday in November
Christmas Day
December 25
Inauguration Day
January 20 (every 4 years)
M. L. King, Jr. Day
Third Monday in January
[Amended 5-21-1980, effective 7-1-1980; 5-16-2012 by Ord. No. 05-12, effective 6-15-2012]
All full-time employees, after completing six months of consecutive satisfactory employment, shall be entitled to earned annual or vacation leave. After one month of satisfactory employment, full-time employees shall be entitled to sick leave. The earning rate and accumulation quotas for annual and sick pay shall be established by administrative directive of the Mayor and Town Council. Unless otherwise promulgated by the Town Administrator, with the approval of the Mayor, pursuant to Section 2.5, the Council shall promulgate the appropriate regulations and directives implementing this ordinance.
[Adopted 8-4-2014 by Ord. No. 10-14]
A. 
Whenever riot, unlawful assembly, insurrection, other disturbance, the imminent threat thereof, or any fire, flood, storm, earthquake or other natural catastrophe or disaster occurs in the Town and results in or threatens to result in the death or injury of persons or the destruction of property or the disruption of local government to such extent as to require, in the judgment of the Mayor, extraordinary measures to prevent the death or injury of persons and to protect the public peace, safety and welfare, and alleviate damage, loss, hardship or suffering, the Mayor shall forthwith proclaim the existence of a municipal emergency.
B. 
Such civil emergency shall cease to exist upon the issuance of an executive order by the Mayor or by a resolution passed by a vote of not less than 2/3 of all the members present and voting of the Town Council terminating the same. Such proclamation shall be issued by the Mayor or by a resolution passed by a vote of not less than 2/3 of all the members of the Town Council present and voting when such extraordinary measures are no longer required for the protection of the public peace, safety and welfare. Before a civil emergency is declared terminated, either by proclamation by the Mayor or by a resolution as stated herein, the Mayor or Council will consult with the Town's Police Chief to determine if there are any fiscal, public safety response or disaster recovery imperatives that require the continuation of emergency measures.
C. 
Any such executive order of a civil emergency by the Mayor shall, within 48 hours of issuance of the proclamation or as soon as practical, at the earliest practicable time be filed with the Town Clerk for presentation to the Town Council for ratification and confirmation, modification, or rejection. The Council may, by resolution, modify or reject the proclamation, and if rejected, it shall be void. If the Council modifies or rejects the proclamation, said modification or rejection shall be prospective only, and shall not affect any actions taken prior to the modification or rejection of the proclamation. The Council shall endeavor to act on any proclamation of civil emergency within 48 hours of its being presented to the Council by the Mayor. Except with the consent of the governing body of the political subdivision, a local state of emergency may not continue or be renewed for longer than 30 days pursuant to State law.
A. 
Upon the executive order of a civil municipal emergency by the Mayor, and during the existence of such civil emergency, the Mayor may, in a form that meets the requirements of this section, make and proclaim any or all of the following orders:
(1) 
An order imposing a general curfew applicable to the Town as a whole, or to such geographical area or areas of the Town and during such hours as he deems necessary, which effective hours and affected area or areas may be modified from time to time;
(2) 
An order requiring any or all business establishments to close and remain closed until further order;
(3) 
An order requiring the closure of any or all bars, taverns, liquor stores, and other business establishments where alcoholic beverages are sold or otherwise dispensed, provided that with respect to those business establishments which are not primarily devoted to the sale of alcoholic beverages and in which such alcoholic beverages may be removed or made secure from possible seizure by the public, the portions thereof utilized for the sale of items other than alcoholic beverages may, in the discretion of the Mayor, be allowed to remain open;
(4) 
An order requiring the discontinuance of the sale, distribution or giving away of alcoholic beverages in any or all parts of the Town;
(5) 
An order requiring the discontinuance of the sale, distribution or giving away of firearms and/or ammunition for firearms in any or all parts of the Town;
(6) 
An order requiring the discontinuance of the sale, distribution or giving away of gasoline or other liquid flammable or combustible products in any container other than a gasoline tank properly affixed to a motor vehicle;
(7) 
An order requiring the closure of any or all business establishments where firearms and/or ammunition for firearms are sold or otherwise dispensed, provided that with respect to those business establishments which are not primarily devoted to the sale of firearms and/or ammunition and in which such firearms and/or ammunition may be removed or made secure from possible seizure by the public, the portions thereof utilized for the sale of items other than firearms and ammunition may, in the discretion of the Mayor, be allowed to remain open;
(8) 
An order closing to the public any or all public places, including streets, alleys, sidewalks, public ways, schools, parks, shorelines, amusement areas, and public buildings;
(9) 
An order prohibiting the carrying or possession of a firearm or any instrument which is capable of producing bodily harm and which is carried or possessed with intent to use the same to cause such harm, provided that any such order shall not apply to peace officers or military personnel engaged in the performance of their official duties;
(10) 
An order requesting federal and/or State assistance in combating such civil emergency;
(11) 
An order establishing economic controls in aid of and supplementary to and consistent with State and federal orders relating to price stabilization or controls including: the convening and establishing of ration boards; auditing retail and wholesale ration accounts; monitoring price control operations and reporting violations to appropriate authorities; assisting in providing essential supplies to disaster victims; advising appropriate authorities concerning rationing, price control, wage and rent controls and allocation of food and other essential commodities;
(12) 
An order directing the use of all public and private health, medical, and convalescent facilities and equipment to provide emergency health and medical care for injured persons;
(13) 
An order authorizing, in cooperation with utility management and appropriate State and federal agencies, the shutting off, restoration, and operation of utility services in accordance with priorities established for combating such civil emergency;
(14) 
An order providing for the evacuation and reception of the population of the Town or any part thereof; and
(15) 
Such other orders as are imminently necessary for the protection of life and property;
B. 
Provided, however, that any such order(s) shall, within 48 hours of issuance of the order or as soon as practical at the earliest practicable time, be filed with the Clerk to the Town Council and presented to the Town Council for ratification and confirmation, modification or rejection, and if rejected, shall be void. The Council shall consider the statements set forth in this section and may, by resolution, modify or reject the order. If the Council modifies or rejects the order, said modification or rejection shall be prospective only, and shall not affect any actions taken prior to the modification or rejection of the order. The Council shall endeavor to act on any order within 48 hours of its being presented to the Council by the Mayor.
An order issued pursuant to Section 2.8 of this Code shall contain the following:
A. 
A statement of the facts upon which the order is based; and
B. 
A statement that the Mayor believes it is in the best interest of public safety, rescue and recovery efforts and the protection of property that the exercise of certain rights be temporarily limited; and
C. 
A statement that the conditions of the order are designed to provide the least necessary restriction on those rights.
In addition to and/or in connection with the exercise of the powers specified in this Part II of Article 2, the Mayor shall in carrying out the provisions thereof:
A. 
Utilize to the maximum extent practicable the services, equipment, supplies and facilities of existing departments, offices, and agencies of the Town, State, counties and other municipal corporations organized under the laws of the State consistent with any applicable intergovernmental agreements (i.e., memoranda of understanding); and
B. 
In the event of a disaster and upon the proclamation by the Governor of the existence of such disaster, command the service and equipment of as many citizens as the Mayor considers necessary in the light of the disaster proclaimed, provided that citizens so commandeered shall be entitled during the period of such service to all privileges, benefits and immunities as are provided by this Article and federal and State civil defense regulations for registered civil defense or emergency services workers.
C. 
Except for regular and reserve police officers appointed pursuant to Article 23 of this Ordinance Code, the Mayor may at any time appoint or authorize the appointment of volunteer citizens to augment the personnel of any Town activity in time of an emergency. Such volunteer citizens shall be enrolled as emergency management volunteers in cooperation with the heads of the Town departments affected, and shall be subject to any rules and regulations set forth by the Mayor. Except for Town officials having subscribed to the oath pursuant to Section 33-84 of the Town Charter, each person serving as a member of the Emergency Operations Committee or similar advisory council, or as an employee or volunteer in any capacity in the Town's emergency management or similar organization shall, prior to assuming his duties, take an oath which shall be substantially as follows:
I, __________ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this State against all enemies, foreign or domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter, and I do further swear (or affirm) that I do not advocate the overthrow of the government of the United States or of this State by force or violence; and that during such time as I am a member of the Town of Forest Heights' emergency management organization I will not advocate nor become a member or an affiliate of any organization, group or combination of persons or of any political party that advocates the overthrow of the government of the United States or of this State by force or violence.
D. 
Emergency management volunteers assigned to duty during a period of natural disaster or civil emergency in the Town shall be eligible for the benefits of the State Workmen's Compensation Law at a rate of compensation commensurate with that of persons performing similar work under conditions of regular employment.
Plans and programs for executing emergency powers including a disaster readiness and response plan or emergency management/continuity of operations plan shall be prepared and kept current under the direction of the Mayor who shall submit such plans and programs and proposed amendments thereto to the Town Council for review and approval by resolution. Upon such approval the Mayor shall be authorized to exercise in accordance with such plans and programs the powers provided therein.
There shall be an Emergency Operations Committee or similar advisory council consisting of such number of members as shall be appointed by the Mayor and chaired by the Town's Director of Emergency Operations, if so appointed, or the Public Safety Advisory Council/Council liaison to the Police Department, if so appointed, or the Chief of Police, in case an elected official is not so appointed or named to chair said Committee. Members of the Committee shall serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties. The Committee shall meet at least annually at the places and times as shall be prescribed by the Mayor, and shall:
A. 
Advise the Mayor on all matters pertaining to disaster readiness and response capabilities within the Town;
B. 
Periodically review and make recommendations for the revision and/or maintenance of up-to-date disaster response plans for the Town including:
(1) 
Preparations for and the carrying out of executive emergency powers;
(2) 
The delegation and sub-delegation of administrative authority by the Mayor;
(3) 
The performance or coordination of emergency functions, including firefighting, police, medical and health, welfare, rescue, engineering, transportation, communications and warning services, evacuation of persons from stricken areas, facility protection, restoration of utility services, and other functions relating to civilian protection together with all activities necessary or incidental to the preparation for and carrying out of such functions; and
(4) 
Requirements for department and municipal operations, including management succession, procedures for providing twenty-four-hour capability, mobilization procedures, special disaster response procedures, plans for records protection, personnel procedures, finance plans, and training procedures for disaster response.
C. 
Provide cooperation and coordination with the disaster response plans of other local organizations and agencies;
D. 
Prepare and recommend to the Mayor plans for mutual aid operations with the State, District of Columbia and the agencies or political subdivisions thereof; and
E. 
Recommend expenditures for disaster preparations and training.
Upon the executive order of a municipal emergency by the Mayor, and during the existence thereof, emergency purchases of supplies, materials and equipment are authorized to be made in accordance with Emergency Ordinance No. 02-14 as codified in Section 20.4 of this Ordinance Code and the following procedure:
A. 
A log of all purchases made during any emergency shall be maintained by each department, the Town Administrator and by the Town Treasurer.
B. 
The heads of departments and the Mayor shall account for all costs incurred in making such purchases.
C. 
Upon termination of the emergency, the Treasurer shall report all emergency purchases issued to the respective departments and offices, and shall verify and authenticate such orders, and submit a summary thereof to the Mayor and Council for review.
A. 
Authority of Mayor; review and action by Town Council.
(1) 
Notwithstanding the emergency procurement provisions found in Section 20.4 of this Code, upon the proclamation by the Mayor of a civil emergency resulting from a disaster caused by enemy attack, sabotage, or other hostile action, or by fire, flood, storm, earthquake, or other natural cause, and during the existence of such civil emergency, the Mayor shall have the power by order to enter into contracts and incur obligations necessary to combat such disaster, protect the health and safety of persons and property, and provide emergency assistance to the victims of such disaster. Such powers shall be exercised in the light of the exigencies of the situation without regard to time-consuming procedures and formalities prescribed by ordinance (excepting mandatory constitutional requirements), including, but not limited to, budget law limitations and requirements of competitive bidding and publication of notices pertaining to the performance of public work, entering into contracts, the incurring of obligations, the employment of temporary workers, the rental of equipment, the purchase of supplies and materials, the levying of taxes, and the appropriation and expenditures of public funds, provided that the Mayor shall, wherever practicable, advise and consult with the Town Council with respect to disaster response activities, and any such order shall at the earliest practicable time be presented to the Town Council for review and appropriate legislation including:
(I) 
Findings by resolution with respect to actions taken;
(II) 
Authorization of payment for services, supplies, equipment loans and commandeered property used during disaster response activities;
(III) 
Approval of gifts, grants or loans accepted by the Mayor during the emergency;
(IV) 
Levy of taxes to meet costs of disaster response and recovery operations;
(2) 
And upon such review the Town Council may ratify and confirm, modify, or reject any such order, and if rejected any such order shall be void.
B. 
The Treasurer shall be authorized to draw and to pay the necessary warrants for expenditures made pursuant to order and authorized by the Town Council.
C. 
Nothing in this Article shall be interpreted to prevent or limit the Mayor from invoking or utilizing any emergency purchasing provisions found in Section 20.4 of this Code in circumstances where no executive order or resolution of a civil municipal emergency pursuant to Section 2.8 of this Ordinance Code has been issued by the Mayor or Council.
The Mayor shall cause any proclamation or order issued pursuant to the authority of this Article to be delivered to the Governor of the State and, to the extent practicable, to all news media within or near the Town, and shall utilize as many other available such means, including but not limited to, posting on public facilities, signs and public address systems, as may be practical to use and as shall be necessary in his judgment, in order to give the widest dissemination of such proclamations and orders to the public.
A person or business entity's responsible party or executive is guilty of failure to obey the Mayor's emergency order when he or she knowingly violates any order issued under authority of Section 2.8 of this Article. It is unlawful for anyone to fail or refuse to obey an order proclaimed by the Mayor pursuant to the provisions of this Article. Anyone convicted of a violation of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 180 days, or both such fine and imprisonment. Pursuant to Section 14-114 of the Public Safety Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, a person who willfully violates an order, rule, or regulation issued under the authority of the Governor pursuant to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency Act or this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, on conviction, is subject to imprisonment not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding $5,000, or both.