The Montgomery County Republican Party last night unanimously voted to urge a vote “FOR” Question B.
A vote FOR Question B supports the County law, passed unanimously by the County Council, which eliminates “effects bargaining” that gave Police Union leaders the power to demand that the Police Chief bargain everything about running the Montgomery County Police Department -- inhibiting innovation, accountability and efficiency.
The action by the Montgomery Republican Central Committee followed a September 19 decision by the Montgomery County Democratic Party Precinct Officials and the Central Committee, who voted by an overwhelming 109-14 margin to urge a vote "FOR Question B" in the November election.
These endorsements will be included on both parties’ sample ballots sent to all registered Democrats and Republicans and distributed at the polls on Election Day.
“The message couldn’t be any clearer,” said Patrick Lacefield, Director of the Montgomery County Office of Public Information. “Who do we want to run our Montgomery County Police Department? The Police Chief or Union Leaders? Democrats and Republicans may disagree on many issues, but the fact that both political parties overwhelmingly are urging a vote ‘FOR Question B’ says a lot. Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative or somewhere in the middle, voting FOR Question B just makes sense.”
“Effects bargaining” was included in the police labor relations law enacted in 1982. Since that time Police Union leaders have used that right to stall department innovations and diminish accountability and efficiency. No other Police Union in the State of Maryland has effects bargaining. No other County employees union has it in their contract.
Under effects bargaining, Police Chief Tom Manger has to bargain any issue about running his department if Police Union leaders demand it. That has included the distribution of critical police equipment, the redeployment of officers to crime hot spots, and even the revised policy on “Use of Force” – important to protecting the public and officers alike – which was sent to the Police Union for their “approval” on June 27, 2008 – over four years ago.
In all, 15 Police Department policies are awaiting Union leaders' “approval” – 12 of them for over two years. Under effects bargaining, police officers still don’t have to “sign” their electronic time cards. The Police Chief could not even require that police officers have County email accounts – or check their email. It took months to negotiate that.
The repeal of effects bargaining does not affect the fully supported and continued right of the Police Union to bargain wages, hours, working conditions, benefits, and safety issues. It would also not affect officers’ schedules and leave, the details of which are already spelled out in collective bargaining agreements agreed to by the Police Department and the Union.
A “FOR” vote on Question B is a vote that lets the Police Chief run the department in the most efficient and productive way to protect the lives and property of County residents -- and still protects the full range of collective bargaining rights enjoyed by all other police unions across the State and all other County unions.
For more details about Question B, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/QuestionB.
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