Winning At Any Cost

Winning At Any Cost

This appeared as a Letter to the Editor in the Capital on 3/27/11
and in the Maryland Gazette on 3/26/11

It was bad enough that the County Council voted on Monday to ignore the will of the voters by freeing themselves from the obligation to fund an arbitrator’s decision on police and firefighter compensation.  Even though the final bill would have obligated County Executive Leopold to include the arbitrator’s recommendation in his budget, it provided a legal pathway by which the County could ignore the arbitrator’s decision. 

Since this was his claimed reason for raising the issue, Mr. Leopold should have viewed Monday’s vote as a win.  Instead, he chose to emasculate the County Council by using a line item veto to pass the bill while rejecting the amendments the Council fought hard to add. 

There can’t be much doubt that Mr. Leopold is planning to impose draconian cuts on the county’s public safety personnel.  Now that the arbitrator’s decision is binding on no one but themselves and without the right to strike, the public safety unions will be forced to accept whatever is proposed.  

When binding arbitration was approved in 2002, 78% of county voters overwhelmingly supported the right of public safety personnel to effectively negotiate for fair compensation.   So in addition to shafting our hard-working police officers and firefighters along with all seven members of the County Council, Mr. Leopold’s actions are a clear affront to the voters of this county.

One can only hope that at least five members of the County Council have the courage to stand up to the County Executive and overturn his veto.  Otherwise, Mr. Leopold will run roughshod over this Council for four long years, and the people of Anne Arundel County will pay dearly as many of our best employees leave to work somewhere where they can count on being treated fairly. 

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