Public Safety's Arbitration Rights

Public Safety's Arbitration Rights

This Letter to the Editor was carried in The Capital on 2/3/11
and in the
Maryland Gazette on 2/19/11

Anne Arundel has an extremely powerful County Executive, who alone has the right to propose budgets and make the vast majority of decisions as to how the county is run.  But this is apparently not enough for John Leopold, who wants to strip police officers, firefighters and detention personnel of the binding arbitration rights overwhelmingly granted to them in 2002 by 78% of voters.

Binding arbitration is widely used in the business world to resolve contract disputes fairly and inexpensively by avoiding the need for going to trial.  Our public safety personnel have the right to call for binding arbitration when they are unable to negotiate their way to what they consider to be a fair contract agreement with the County Executive.  The arbitrator is required to take the financial needs of the county into account and, in fact, arbitrators have sided with the county in previous disputes. 


As our forefathers knew, government works best when there are checks and balances.  All five of the largest charter governments in Maryland grant binding arbitration rights to their public safety employees. 


One must wonder if Mr. Leopold, known for his vindictiveness, isn’t attempting to take away this crucial employee right to retaliate for the fact that none of the public safety unions endorsed his reelection.

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