Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Fire Fighters and Leggett Strike Deal

County Executive Ike Leggett and the Montgomery County Career Fire Fighters Association have reached a Memorandum of Agreement amending the union’s contract. Here are the key provisions.

1. The union’s 4 percent wage increase is “postponed” and will not be effective in Fiscal Year 2010. Salary-based benefits, like pensions, will not be affected by the postponement and will be calculated as if the postponement had not taken place. (This provision will require legislation to be submitted by the Executive.) The agreement does not specify when the postponed wage increase will take effect.

2. The contract will include new provisions laying out personal leave and compensatory leave credits.

3. Members will be permitted to wear union logos on their uniforms and helmets.

4. The County Executive and the union will jointly seek to vacate the Labor Relations Administrator’s decision that the Executive need not include salary increases for the Fire Fighters in his proposed budget. We suggested this deal could be made weeks ago. The memorandum says:

The Union has filed an appeal of LRA Strongin’s March 28, 2009 Decision and Award. The parties shall file a joint motion and proposed Order (attached as Exhibit A) with LRA Strongin asking him to vacate the March, 28 2009 Decision and Award. If he signs the Order vacating the Decision and Award, the Union will voluntarily dismiss its appeal. The parties agree that they will neither cite nor attempt to rely on the vacated decision in any way. In the event that LRA Strongin does not issue an Order vacating the March 28, 2009 Decision and Award, the parties shall file a joint motion and proposed Order (attached as Exhibit B) with the Circuit Court requesting the Court to vacate the LRA Decision and Award and to dismiss the appeal. In the event that the Circuit Court does not enter the Order, the Union will pursue the appeal.
5. The memorandum contains this statement on County Council and senior management pay:

The parties recognize the economic situation facing the County, particularly the shortfall in projected revenues for FY10. The County is calling on all of its employees to come together to deal with this grave situation. The Union and the County Executive, on his own behalf and on behalf of the non-represented employees in County leadership positions, are willing to make financial sacrifices in FY10, and the parties call on each member of the County Council to make similar sacrifices. Postponement of the general wage increase described in Paragraph 1 above shall be rescinded and the County Executive agrees to promptly seek funding from the County Council to retroactively pay such general wage increase unless (a) the County Executive returns to the County the net mandated pay increase required to go into effect in December 2009 under Section Sec. 1A-106 of the Code and (b) no general wage adjustment is given in FY10 to any appointed member of the Senior Management Team. The Parties recognize and agree that this provision does not impact salary schedule step increases.
Politicians’ pay raises are an increasingly dicey subject. According to the Post, D.C. Council Members and Fairfax Supervisors decided not to take raises in Fiscal 2010, but Calvert County Commissioners and Prince William Supervisors will get them. Raises for Prince George’s County politicians are up in the air. Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon and City Council Members received a 2.5 percent raise last December, but the Mayor donated her increase to charity. Many state legislators chose to give part of their salaries back to the state to match state employee furloughs. If Montgomery County Council Members are required to accept their pay by law (as are state legislators), will they follow the example of the state legislators or Mayor Dixon?

Following are the memorandums of agreement between the County Executive and the Fire Fighters, the Fraternal Order of Police and MCGEO.