Thursday, July 21, 2011

Montgomery County Council and the FOP

From the Germantown MD On-line Newspaper

Legislation that strips a bargaining tool from the county’s police union won approval from the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday.

The council voted unanimously to do away with “effects bargaining” for county police officers.

The legislation eliminates the collective bargaining process between the county and the Fraternal Order of Police on management decisions such as how officers are given new assignments and how a new computer system used by employees is implemented.

Council President Valerie Ervin (D-Dist. 5) of Silver Spring introduced the bill on the recommendation of the county’s Organizational Reform Commission and at the urging of County Executive Isiah Leggett (D).

FOP Lodge 35, which represents county officers in the bargaining process, opposed the change. In a message on its website, the union said that the change would “disrupt services in the police department.”

“When we follow a process we don’t have these problems,” the message said. “Despite what you have been told in the media, this dispute is not about money. It is about process. The FOP was willing to give up $2.4 million in benefits cost for the county. The County Council rejected that and did what they wanted to do.”

County police Chief J. Thomas Manger released a statement in support of the council's passage of the bill.

“This change increases the ability for the public to hold me and future Montgomery County Police Chiefs accountable for running the Police Department in an effective and efficient manner; while protecting the rights of Police Officers to bargain their salary, pension, benefits, working conditions, and issues related to their health and safety,” Manger said in the statement. “This change provides for the balance between labor and management as required by law.”

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