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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 08, 2012 at 06:11 PM
"My answer to that is if every cop quit who did'nt like their job right now there would be major crime problems." That was in response to your snide comment to Dave that there are openings if he needs a job. And if that happened, then we would know for sure that the pay that is offered for police officers is too low. But, it appears that you don't have other options for the same or better pay, otherwise perhaps you would have likely already left. Retention rates tell the real story regarding adequacy of pay. Everybody loves to complain about their pay. But the fact is, if there were so many better options out there, they likely wouldn't stay in the job whose pay they're complaining about. "When did the police officer and firefighter become the enemy?" It's not that police officers and firefighters are the enemy, it's more that public service in general is the problem. To the extent that police and firefighters get more criticism, it might be because of stories like this one from CA (that's not to imply that AAC benefits are on par with CA benefits): http://www.city-journal.org/2011/cjc0630tg.html Earlier you made the comment that your pension would be half your pay. As far as I could find, the AA County pension is 2.5% of the highest 3 out of your final 5 years, times the # of years of service, and that it maxed out at 70% of that average. Meaning you could retire at 50 (after 28 years on the job) with a pension that paid 70% of the average pay.
Brian C. June 08, 2012 at 06:19 PM
For those who think our public safety folk should not get raises, I have one question. How much should the person who saves your loved one on a daily basis get paid? Pay the public safety folks...they already have to wear those silly uniforms. (bad attempt at a joke).
Patrick Mondor June 08, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Brian, I don't think anyone is saying they shouldn't receive raises. I think the discussion revolves around the total benefit packages received by police officer's in relation to private sector employees.
Jennifer I June 09, 2012 at 01:53 AM
For those of you who think police officers shouldn't get this raise clearly don't understand the full picture. This raise isn't even truly a raise... Officers who have been on the job for 4 years are now making less than they did in the academy because of the past few years of cuts. This raise would barely get them back to even. As for the nonsense about if there were better paying jobs out there that most would have left, you clearly have no idea what makes someone choose work that risks their life every time they leave their home and their family. It certainly isn't the pay or the appreciation of ungrateful people like you.
Richard Hertz June 09, 2012 at 02:34 AM
If he's not in it for the money...why all the complaining...about the money? As far as risking their lives...we all do that every time we leave the house. Just for kicks I looked up the top 10 most dangerous jobs. http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2011/03/01/top-10-most-dangerous-jobs/ When's the last time you thanked a fisherman or a logger for risking their lives to do their jobs?
Jennifer I June 09, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Your lack of understanding and acknowledgement of the difference between every day activities and the risks associated with the work police officers and other public safety workers do is sadly typical of the self-centered mentality of so many people.
Richard Hertz June 09, 2012 at 03:06 AM
What do you have to say about the risks associated with those 10 jobs listed on that link? Their death rates are higher than both police officers and fire fighters. The fact that you can easily ignore the dangers of the top 10 most dangerous careers leads me to question which one of us is being self-centered here.
Jennifer I June 09, 2012 at 03:14 AM
I never claimed there weren't other equally if not more dangerous jobs. My comment was about your claim that we all risk our lives every time we leave our houses. Give me a break. If you do happen to run into trouble, you aren't calling a fisherman for help are you? Not to mention that they don't have to have the merits of every aspect of their pay and benefits debated publicly by people who have no idea what they are talking about but latch on to the "my taxes pay your salary" line of argument as to why they should.
Richard Hertz June 09, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Yeah, we call the police when we run into trouble. That's their job. They signed up for it willingly. They weighed various career options...salary, power, guns, retirement benefits, job security, etc., and they decided to become a cop, or a fisherman, or a logger. So now I'm supposed to bow down and kiss the cop's feet when they respond to a call to do their job? How about the fisherman, should I bow down and kiss his fee too? What's the difference? I'll tell you the difference. You're not a fisherman, or married to one. One of the biggest issues with public employees is the problem created by the unions feeding money to the politicians, and then sitting down with those exact same politicians, often behind closed doors, and negotiating contracts. That's how we get to the point where many public employees can retire with a generous pension at the age of 50, while the rest of the taxpaying public works 12-15 more years to pay for those early retirements of the public employees. Yes, that does cause some to get angry about how their tax dollars are spent. What's shocking to me is that you seem to find that kind of anger appalling.
Jennifer I June 09, 2012 at 04:12 AM
It isn't the anger but the ignorance but lucky for me I don't need to point it out because you demonstrated it do well.
Richard Hertz June 09, 2012 at 04:17 AM
You think the anger over public employees retiring with generous pensions is out of ignorance? Maybe you're right...but are you going to tell me what I'm ignorant about, or it that a secret?
Dave Williams June 09, 2012 at 09:31 AM
no one should retire in 20 years at half pay. Period. Most cops and fire men never save anyone. I'm still looking for what a sgt. makes in 20 years. You complain cops are burnt out in 20 and they go work for a security company after retiring. If they quit in 20 they should not collect till age 66. We tax payers pay 7.5% to social security and get 1/3 my pay after 45 years. Why should you get more?
Dave Williams June 09, 2012 at 09:45 AM
hey,, this is not TV. Most police officers are never shot at, never shoot at anyone,, and never get in a fight with someone. This 20 year rule goes way back to a time when life expectancy was 50. It hasn't changed in 100 years, its time it does. 401k plans, no paid retirements. You pay 30% of your health care. You work till you can afford to retire. Cops are never around when you need one, they arrest people after you've been raped or shot. So if they love the job, hang in there, if not don't. Give them the raise and take the retirement, give them 401ks.
Maryellen Brady June 10, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Not a single one of those 10 most dangerous jobs, involve risking their lives to save another, to walk into a dangerous setting, to break up a domestic dispute, to use common sense when dealing with kids in the neighborhood and enforcing rules that really seem dumb sometimes. AA County has a police force that does its job and it is only fair that each gets a living wage, so they can live and raise their families in the communities they serve . And the benefits they deserve, so they don't have to retire into poverty. Govt workers are needed to protect the common good and police officers are on the front line of that responsibility daily. As taxpayers we had lots of promises about the benefits of growth for our communities: more ppl and businesses, more $$ to pay for nec services. All we have gotten in 30 years has been more growth, lots more expenses connected with serving, protecting and educating those increases in population and development and a whole lot of complaints about having to pay for those vital services. The County Council was irresponsible in rescinding the voter approved "binding arbitration" in the Charter. This is a way to make up for the poor judgement that led to that decision.
Richard Hertz June 10, 2012 at 05:18 AM
Would you mind defining a "living wage?"
Ronald June 10, 2012 at 11:34 AM
How about more police instead of raises for those that get tremendous pensions as it is. Glad they have guns so that they can continue to hold us up. NO MORE BENEFITS! yOU GET PAID WHEN YOU WORK AND SCREW THE UNIONS!!!!!
Richard Hertz June 10, 2012 at 01:13 PM
I guess the author of this article is also ignorant: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304707604577421901195142304.html?mod=djemEditorialPage_h
Ronald June 10, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Because they have BETTER unions and can threten strikes. Unions had their places at one time - now there worse than the Mafia ever was.
Ronald June 10, 2012 at 06:43 PM
It's easy to call people names without justifying it when you disagree. Try increasing your medicaitons and not operating heavy machinery.
Ronald June 10, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Teachers, police, fire fighters = why are they worth more than anyone else?
S June 11, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Greetings. I think we can all agree that there is a daily martyrdom requisite for both public and private sector jobs. It is not an, “either/or.” All of us have experienced worrisome aspects connected with our jobs. We all look forward to the weekend, or the end of shift. That being said, I think that there is an element of the extraordinary that is inherent with the occupation of policeman. Yes, it IS a dangerous job. And yes, they leave home every day with the awareness that their personal safety is in the balance. They may become accustomed to that feeling, but it is still there. Angry citizens, ordinary criminals, gangs and even domestic terrorists have zeroed in on policemen as primary targets. One glance at any major-city newspaper provides all the testimony we need. I am related to a policeman. During his career, he has been assaulted, shot at, hospitalized, and targeted. He has also saved numerous lives, and worked to educate the community. I take exception to the people who believe that the job of policeman is relatively safe, or almost effortless. It is true, that he chose this career, but I’m not sure that choosing to put his personal safety at risk for the safety of others should be considered a quid pro quo. In these difficult times, we all must make sacrifices, but to make the argument that safety workers are less deserving, because their job, “isn’t that difficult,” is simply uninformed. -Wife of a retired, AA Co, Police Lt.
Richard Hertz June 11, 2012 at 04:38 PM
I don't see where anyone is making the argument that the police, or any other public sector employee is "less deserving." What I think most people on here are saying is that police and other public sector employees are not more deserving. Yet, the structure of their benefits makes it appear that they are more deserving. Try to find a private sector job that will allow you to retire at the age of 50 with a pension that pays 50% or more of some measure of the highest salary earned. The irony is that it's the taxes from the private sector (that must work 10-15 more years) that finance these generous benefits. I think the country is finally waking up to that fact. In that regard, the recall election in Wisconsin was one of the most important elections in the past 50 years. Finally, while you acknowledged the danger of many jobs, you still resorted to the common argument that cops face special dangers. There is nothing more dangerous than death...and as I pointed out earlier, police does not even rank in the top 10 most deadly jobs. Furthermore, you are completely off base with police being "primary targets" of "angry citizens, ordinary criminals, gangs, and even domestic terrorists." Unarmed citizens are the PRIMARY targets of those groups. Do you honestly believe that when those groups are figuring out who to target they determine that their best chance of success is to target armed law enforcement?
vw2003 June 12, 2012 at 10:26 AM
i would say it may have something to do with the fact that some of them drive their families around in cars taxpayers pay for (some malls reserve parking spots just for this purpose). just check the news the Maryland State Police Superintendent commutes to pa everyday on taxpayers dime oh and he also got a pension with the city that he did not earn! oh not to metion alot of police do not respect the citzens they serve. by the way it would be nice if aa county cops did not drive around like they are in the indy 500. lets see police officer first class salary is $43,285 – 80,143 not bad and if you make it to Lieutenant Salary ranges from $62,708-111,259 very nice!
Brian C. June 12, 2012 at 11:57 AM
RH, Just for kick I looked up the 15 most dangerous jobs. Law enforcement ranked in the top 15 most dangerous. http://www.businessinsider.com/most-dangerous-jobs-2011-9# At least get your fact straight b4 you try to make a ludicrous argument. The funny thing is that your article says the more dangerous the job, the more the pay is. No wonder Law enforcement was NOT in your example. Police work is inherently dangerous. For one to argue that it isnt is...well ...just stupid to put it mildly. If the Police want a raise, then they have the right to ask for one just like those in the private sector. If you dont want YOUR taxes to pay for it then go somewhere you dont have to pay for it.
vw2003 June 12, 2012 at 12:55 PM
well some officiers are a danger to the public they are either trigger happy or taser happy. i dont think the chances of them getting hurt are very high because a lot of police officiers shot first and ask questions later. and a lot has to do with what areas they patrol (different levels of risk in different areas)
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 (Editor) 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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