Sunday, May 26, 2013 1:16 AM
Published on: Monday, November 19, 2012
By Christa Puccio
ROCKVILLE - Montgomery County Councilmember and Chairman of the Public Safety Committee Phil Andrews said Question B will result in a better police department, while the executive director of the Steve Young Law Enforcement Legislative Advocacy Center said it’s hard to know how it will affect police employees.
“It means the rights they bargained with the county to get over time in which the county gave them over time have been taken away from them,” said Executive Director James Pasco of the Steve Young Law Enforcement Legislative Advocacy Center, Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).
Question B on the ballot was "Shall the Act to modify the scope of collective bargaining with police employees to permit the exercise of certain management rights without first bargaining the effects of those rights on police employees become law?" Out of the 289,824 total votes in Montgomery County, 59.47 percent voted yes.
“I’m glad that voters recognized the need to give the chief the ability to make management decisions without having to first bargain for them,” said Andrews. “It will result in a better police department. It will enable the police chief to more efficiently and effectively serve the public interest and protect public safety. And in the meantime, all the traditional bargaining rights still remain the same – wages, benefits, retirement, health and safety and working conditions. So the ability of the FOP to represent its members on all the traditional bargaining rights is still very much there.”
Pasco said it’s hard to know how this will affect police officers within MCPD. “Police officers are professionals and they will do their best under any circumstances,” said Pasco. “The shame of it is that these rights which I say were bargained for years ago now the county has gotten buyer’s remorse and things they bargained and agreed to are now the object of concern rather than the decades of fiscal mismanagement which have put them in the situation they’re in today.”
Andrews said he hopes the passing of Question B won’t create division within the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD). “I’m sure there will be a period where there will be some feeling out of what is the area that is considered effects bargaining,” said Andrews. “What I would expect is there will be some challenges from the FOP about whether something is something that would have been subject to effects bargaining in the past or whether it should still be covered under working conditions or some other measure or category that is still required for bargaining.”
Andrews also said he hopes that members of the FOP and other members of the police department will work together well.