Montgomery County police officers collectively bargain over pay, hours and working conditions under the Montgomery County Code. Matters subject to bargaining, the timeline for bargaining, and the means of resolving an impasse are all laid out in the law. An agreement reached under our law is binding on the FOP and the County Executive. It can be enforced by either party on the other. But the County Council still has a say.
The County Council must vote on legislation required to implement a provision of the contract. An agreement to change our retirement benefits would require a change in the retirement law. The change would be submitted as a bill, debated, and voted on by all councilmembers.
The Council also has the sole power to appropriate money. So it decides whether to fund or not to fund any provision of the contract requiring an allocation of money. Our compensation comes in the form of wages and benefits which must be budgeted and funded in any fiscal year.
The Council must indicate on or before May 1 whether they intend to fund the compensation for the upcoming budget year. This allows a period to renegotiate the agreement so it can be passed by the Council.
This year we negotiated a 1% pay increase and the restoration of a 3.5% increment for officers missing increments.
On April 26, 2016, the Council unanimously voted to reject funding our restored 3.5% increment. We met with the County Executive and agreed to amend the contract to address the Council’s concerns. It was sent back to the Council. The Council will take it up again on Monday, May 16, 2016.
The Council should honor our agreement. It was reached through give and take by both parties. Years ago, the Council took unprecedented action in withholding funding for service increments. Since that time some of us have been working for up to 7% less than we were promised when hired. Meanwhile, the Council has continued to spend, including spending on their own raises. It’s time to restore the pay promise to police officers.
You can help by actively supporting your Contract. Watch for information for the date of the Council vote. Come to the Council meeting for the vote and let them see us – the families affected by the vote. Bring your family. Call and email the councilmembers and ask your family, friends and neighbors to do the same. The County Council must hear that the community supports us. The County Council must hear from US that our pay is important to us. They must know we need it and that we are willing to fight for it. It is YOUR money. YOU have to stand up for it.