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Council May Grant Police Unions a Pay Raise

A bill introduced this week would give police union members a 3-percent raise.

New legislation from the Anne Arundel County Council would grant police union members a combined pay raise of between $800,000 and $1 million, more than a week after next year's budget was finalized.

A bill introduced by freshman County Councilman Peter Smith (D-1st District), of Severn, would grant police unions the raises outlined by arbitrators just before the county's fiscal year 2013 budget was approved. No vote has been taken on the legislation, but it is scheduled to be considered in July.

Smith said the arbitrator's decision with police union negotiators simply came too late to be included in budget discussions. However, Smith said it deserved consideration.

"This is the right thing to do. It should at least be considered," Smith said. "The FOP [Fraternal Order of Police] has done its part of the process. Now it's our turn."

Under Bill 56-12, a 3-percent pay increase would be granted to about 1,250 police officers, including the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 70, AFSCME, Local 582 and Local 2563.

Funding, which Smith estimated between $800,000 and $1 million, was not included in the budget. If the bill is approved, Council members must come up with a way to pay for it.

Cpl. O'Brien Atkinson, head of the FOP, who attended the Council's 10-hour budget hearing on May 28, said he was hopeful for the bill after being dismayed that it wasn't included in the initial budget.

He said the pay increase is essential to stabilizing the county police workforce, given the current state of morale.

"Morale has reached epic lows," Atkinson said. "Our agency is about to start hemorrhaging from the top and bottom."

Atkinson referred to the tension in the department created by the ongoing investigation into . In March, local police unions cast a vote of no confidence in Teare. In April, the Council did the same with .

In 2011, Council members put an end to binding arbitration, changing the law requiring them to agree to an arbitrator's decision on union negotiations. Smith's bill would give the Council an opportunity to go along with the arbitrator's decision voluntarily instead of being forced.

Bill 56-12 will be up for consideration at the Council's July 2 meeting at 7 p.m. in the Council chambers.

Richard Hertz June 12, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Indeed, a cop's job is very dangerous: http://jonathanturley.org/2012/06/07/lawsuit-architect-in-diabetic-shock-beaten-by-multiple-officers-pepper-sprayed-and-repeatedly-tasered-before-dying/ How were they to know he had not "targeted" them? Brian C.: Your article shows a #9 ranking for PATROL officers, which is not at all the same as ALL OFFICERS. Take a look at # 8 on your list. Do you think driving/riding might have something to do you the #9 ranking of patrol officers? I do. Also, I never claimed that being a police officer wasn't dangerous, I've just been pointing out that it's not even close to the MOST dangerous job. And if you want to have some real fun, compare the average salaries/benefits of those dangerous jobs, on either list (yours or mine), and see where police stack up. Most of those jobs won't come close to the salary/benefits of police.
Brian C. June 12, 2012 at 02:48 PM
You know RH, we could go back and forth all day with the stats and support both our views. The bottom line is we all pay taxes (supposed to at least). Our taxes pay the Public safety sector to do job that most of us take for granted. Do they get compensated too much? Nope, they get compensated as much as they can, just like those in the private sector. Most people, if they could, would increase the amount they are compensated for doing a job. Why complain about the Public safety guys asking for more. If you dont like what you make then go get another job or better yet go make a job or two. Btw Richard, Police are 2nd on the list of non life threatening injuries. This may be why retirement at 50 is acceptable.
Brian C. June 12, 2012 at 02:54 PM
LOL I did get a chuckle at the salaries of the most dangerous jobs. LOL
Richard Hertz June 13, 2012 at 01:59 AM
Again, it's not the public safety people in particular, it's public employees in general. These people don't get raises the way private sector workers do. Public sector unions funnel money to help elect politicians (of both parties). Then, after the election, the union sits down with those very same politicians (that they just helped elect) and negotiate a contract. It should shock nobody that the politicians end up giving away the farm in these negotiations. How else could these contracts allow retirement at the age of 50 (in many cases)? The average life expectancy in the US for a 50 year old is 77 for males and 80 for females. These people will be collecting generous pensions for as long, or longer, than they actually worked. Someone has to be taxed to pay those extravagant benefits. That is the problem. The solution to the problem is taking place across the country. Some local governments that can't afford to pay the benefits are starting to default...they just stop sending out checks. Some states have stopped collecting union dues on behalf of the unions. When they do that the unions are losing more than half of their members (and more importantly their dues). A union that can't buy off politicians isn't going to be a very effective union.
D. Frank Smith June 14, 2012 at 04:14 AM
Lively comments in here. The Capital had an update to this story today: http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/government/county-attorney-police-union-bill-could-be-illegal/article_f07deaab-7355-5c35-968d-5c3281d0c463.html

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