October 19, 2021
Statement from Councilmember Hans Riemer
on Vaccine Requirement for County Employees
Since the beginning of this pandemic, I have been incredibly proud to serve on this Council. As a body, we have been laser focused on saving as many lives as possible, and minimizing the damage to our community. Time after time, we have stepped in to address shortcomings in the County’s response to make sure that it was fast enough, robust enough, and served all Montgomery County residents.
Our County workforce has done incredible work under terribly difficult circumstances to keep our community safe. But COVID is not done with us yet, and we can’t throw in the towel. Employees, their families, and all County residents are still at risk.
So I am deeply disturbed that the County Executive is resorting to scare tactics, rather than standing strong as many Mayors and Governors are doing across the Country in the face of anti-vaccine resistance.
And I am disappointed that certain union leaders, here in Montgomery County, would engage in right-wing conspiracy theories and attack my family, just to try to stop a vaccine requirement that would keep their own members safe. Their advocacy stands in stark contrast to the school employee unions, which have embraced a vaccination requirement.
I want to address this deranged conspiracy theory head on. Yes, as I have disclosed each year on my financial disclosure, my wife works for Pfizer. She is amazing and I am so proud of her. No, this vaccination requirement has absolutely nothing to do with her job and my family will not see a dime as a result of it. That’s because Pfizer has said they will manufacture 3 billion doses this year and 4 billion doses next year. The federal government has already agreed to purchase 600 million doses. A few hundred additional vaccinations is a drop of water in an ocean.
This County is known for good government, and I take my responsibility to uphold that standard very seriously, so I asked the Ethics Commission for an opinion and they have confirmed that there is no conflict. The opinion states: “The Commission concludes that the County’s vaccine policy does not impact the company. As a consequence, the bar of 19A-11 does not prohibit the Councilmember from participating in matters relating to whether the County should impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.”
The full Ethics Commission Advisory Opinion is available here: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/Ethics/Resources/Files/pdfs/A21-10-017%20FINAL.pdf