Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Maryland Teachers, MoCo Police & County Executive Ike Leggett Lobby MoCo Democrats to Endorse Referenda for Sample Ballot

BACKGROUND: Yesterday Maryland Juice reported that Montgomery County Democrats were set to vote on which ballot questions to endorse for their Presidential Election sample ballot mailing. That vote is taking place tonight, and Democratic precinct officials are now being lobbied by numerous politicos to support various positions on the referenda. We noted that Governor Martin O'Malley was emailing MoCo precinct officials regarding four of the questions (gambling, redistricting, marriage equality and the Dream Act), and that County Executive Ike Leggett's staff have been pushing for an elimination of certain police bargaining rights.

MoCo's Facebook account pushes Question B
LT. GOV. MICHAEL STEELE, TEACHERS & OTHERS LOBBY FOR MOCO DEMS' SAMPLE BALLOT - It turns out that lots of lobbying is going on behind the scenes. You can see a few more examples below, including advocacy from the teachers union and more PR efforts by Ike Leggett's team on police union rights (Question B). The MoCo County Executive, for what its worth, is pulling out all the stops and directing the various County agencies to hit their email lists, Facebook pages and other outlets with information regarding the police referendum. See a few exhibits below.

We also provide a rebuttal to Leggett's messaging on Question B from the Fraternal Order of Police. Notably, The Washington Post's Victor Zapana reported that the FOP has hired a new advocacy team that includes a prominent Democratic attorney and former GOP Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: The Montgomery County police union on Monday hired Lanny Davis, a former special counsel to President Clinton, and Michael Steele, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, as consultants for a referendum campaign on collective bargaining rights....
The move will give the union some muscle as it works to strike down a local law that limits its collective bargaining rights. The union, Fraternal Order of Police Local 35, is able to bargain on traditional rights such as wages and vacation time. But for decades, the police have been able to bargain on other aspects of a police officer’s job — even something as seemingly small as checking e-mail. Last year, the Montgomery County Council unanimously voted to repeal those additional rights....

Davis was hired just before a major local Democratic meeting that is expected to take place Wednesday. At the meeting, Democratic precinct officials in the county will vote whether to support or oppose the law....

SEVERAL EXAMPLES OF LOBBYING FOR THE MOCO SAMPLE BALLOT: Below, Maryland Juice re-prints several examples of politicos lobbying MoCo's Democratic precinct officials. We include messages from the FOP (MoCo's police union), MSEA (Maryland's teachers union), and County Executive Ike Leggett's aides:
FOP Letter to MCDCC Officials (via Lanny Davis)

FOP Appendix for MCDCC Officials (via Lanny Davis)

Below you can also see a string of communications from Leggett administration officials to Democratic Precinct officials regarding police bargaining rights (Question B):
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Falcon, Karen <>
Date: Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 2:51 PM
Subject: Vis-a-vis Question B

Dear Democratic Precinct Official:

Vis-a-vis Question B, please see the attached Police Department policies awaiting that have been sent to Police Union leaders and are still awaiting "approval." You will note that one  --"Use of Force"  -- is pending for over four years and ten have been pending for at least two years.

Patrick Lacefield, Director
Montgomery County Office of Public Information
101 Monroe Street
Rockville, MD 20850
240-777-6515 (fax)
MoCo Exec Ike Leggett's Question B Flyer: "Directives Held Up by the FOP"

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Silver Spring Regional Center <>
Date: Thu, Sep 13, 2012 at 8:37 AM
Subject: Information You Need on Question B on the November Ballot

The Facts on Question B & “Effects Bargaining”

Produced by the Montgomery County Office of Public Information
  • “Effects bargaining” means that Police Chief Tom Manger has to bargain the effects of any and all management decisions with the Fraternal Order of Police leadership. Such mandated bargaining prevents the Chief from carrying out his job of running the Police Department and protecting both his officers and the lives and property of County residents in the most efficient and productive way,
  • No other police union in the State of Maryland has this power.
  • No other Montgomery County employees’ union group has this power in their contracts.
  • The bottom line: Chief Manger and the Police Department waste precious time and taxpayers’ resources having to bargain over issues that have nothing to do with basic police officer rights and everything to do with overreaching Union leadership power. That’s time taken away from fighting crime and protecting us. And it means that Department policies designed to protect police officersand to hold them accountable get delayed, watered down, or dropped altogether.
  • In 1999, the Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) recommended that “the (County) Council look at how the effects bargaining provision in the law has, in practice, affected police management’s ability to manage conduct issues.”
  • In 2011, the Montgomery County Organizational Reform Commission -- an independent citizens’ organization – recommended the elimination of “effects bargaining,” finding that “Effects bargaining has hampered the ability of the police department to issue directives to govern how police officers operate.”
  • That’s why the County Council -- all progressive Democrats and all elected with the endorsement of County unions – unanimously repealed “effects bargaining” last year.  That’s why County Executive Ike Leggett -- another longtime ally of labor – signed it into law.
  • Union leaders say this is an attack on labor a la Wisconsin. That’s not true.
  • Even with the repeal of effects bargaining, the Police Department will still maintain its requirement to bargain with the Fraternal Order of Police leadership on wages, benefits, hours, working conditions, grievances, schedules, leave and more…just like other County unions and other police unions around the State.
  • The Fraternal Order of Police, using paid petition gatherers -- some of whom falsified information, had been convicted of crimes and, in one case, was actively sought on a felony charge – petitioned the issue to the County ballot. Though their signatures were challenged for irregularities and ruled off the ballot by a Circuit Court judge, the Court of Appeals reversed that decision for reasons that have yet to be explained.
Just some examples of how “effects bargaining” hurts our Police Department:
  • The Police Department’s revised policy on “Use of Force” -- important to protecting the public and officers alike – was sent to the Police Union for their “approval” on June 27, 2008. More than four years later, Chief Manger is still waiting. In all, 15 policies are awaiting union “approval” -- 12 of them for over two years.
  • With effects bargaining, the FOP contested and stalled for nearly a decade the placement of video cameras in police cruisers, demanding to negotiate the “effects” of accountability of officers for what might be recorded. Keep in mind that, in the overwhelming number of cases, cameras in cruisers supportofficers’ actions in cases where questions are raised.
  • Effects bargaining meant that the Police Chief and command staff could not communicate with officers by e-mail because union leadership would not agree that officers should be expected to use their County e-mail account – or check it. It took months to implement that simple, common sense step.
  • When Chief Manger sought to quickly shift more officers to Silver Spring in the summer of 2011 to meet a deteriorating crime situation in downtown Silver Spring and the Route 29 corridor, he had to bargain this operational shift with the Police Union – even though officers had already volunteered to do the duty.
  • Chief Manger can’t decide how to best distribute new public safety equipment – the Police Union demanded to bargain over it.
  • The Police Chief wanted to require that officers use yellow “Police” armbands in situations where officers in civilian clothes responded off-duty to incidents (such as the Discovery standoff ) – in order to protect officers from “friendly fire” and make clear to civilians who were the police in a given situation. Using effects bargaining, the Union objected.
  • Even emergency management issues proposed by the Chief are subject to being bargained with Police Union leaders.
  • Effects bargaining hinders the department from moving into the 21st century -- taking advantage of innovations in public safety technological and program advances - because the FOP can demand to bargain anything or can delay and not bargain until the next full term contract -- which can be up to three years.
  • This is about the ability of the Police Chief to manage the Montgomery County Police Department in the most efficient and productive way -- respecting collective bargaining on basic employee issues but not having to submit everymanagement decision to the Union leadership.

Lastly, you can read a letter from the Maryland State Education Association (the union representing Maryland's teachers) to MoCo Democratic officials.
MSEA Letter to Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee

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