Several high-level personnel moves took place in the county this week as the transition to County Executive Marc Elrich’s administration continues.

First, Police Chief J. Thomas Manger announced that he would retire in April after 15 years of service in Montgomery County and 42 years as a police officer.

“Chief Manger has set the bar high for police leadership, outstanding service both locally and nationally, and leaves the department and county better and safer than when he arrived,” Elrich said in a press release. “While other departments were shying away from body-worn cameras, he proposed requiring them for all officers, wearing one himself as a demonstration of his leadership and commitment to improved transparency and accountability.

“He implemented de-escalation training for officers long before it became a part of the national dialogue,” Elrich continued. “He was instrumental in the passage of the 2016 Drunk Driving Reduction Act, which strengthened Maryland’s ignition interlock requirement for first-time drunk drivers. Known as Noah’s Law, the act honors fallen Montgomery County Police Officer Noah Leotta.”

“Under Chief Manger’s watch, this county has become a safer and more welcoming place, successfully incorporating new technologies in law enforcement and public safety, and embracing public engagement strategies,” said Council President Nancy Navarro in a statement. “Chief Manger’s successor will have a high ethical and professional bar to meet. On behalf of myself and my council colleagues, I thank Chief Manger for his dedicated service to our residents and wish him the best as he begins this next chapter of his life.”

Manger said he would continue related efforts following his retirement, as he has been asked to lead a team working on the legislative agenda of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, of which he is a member. He also will assist Elrich in the search for his replacement.

The Silver Spring Justice Coalition, which claims to represent “hundreds of individual residents and 20 Montgomery County organizations,” issued a statement concerning Manger’s replacement. Among other criteria, the group asked Elrich “to select a police chief who will be proactive in earning the trust of and protecting Montgomery County’s most vulnerable communities, including communities of color, the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, people with disabilities, and those facing mental health challenges.”

In the meantime, the County Council confirmed two of Elrich’s appointments to county departments.

Adam Ortiz will be the director of the Department of Environmental Protection and Diane Vy Nguyen-Vu as director of the Office of Community Partnerships.

Ortiz served as the director of Prince George’s County Department of the Environment since October 2012. The department, with a staff of more than 300 and annual budget of $170 million, gained recognition for innovative programs including organizing one of the largest organics composting facility on the East Coast, according to a council release.

Vu joined the county government in January 2012 as the OCP’s liaison to the Asian Pacific American community, and as language access coordinator. During that time, she formed the Montgomery County Legal Immigration Service Providers Network and led the county’s Citizenship Initiative.

Photo of Chief Tom Manger from Montgomery County Office of Public Information.

Mike Diegel