Police Union Sues Leggett Over Question B

FOP Lodge 35 sues County Executive Isiah Leggett over the county government's efforts to convince voters to reign in the police union's bargaining powers.


Despite Montgomery County's passage of a measure to reign in the police union’s powers, the controversy has found a new battleground—the courts.

A 2011 law, which Tuesday’s referendum upheld, strips the county police union of its 30-year-old power to negotiate any action by police leadership that has an “effect on employees.” That has been applied to include officer reassignments, disability guidelines, distributing equipment and how to implement a computerized system for writing reports.

FOP Lodge 35 successfully petitioned to put the law to referendum, where it appeared on Election Day as Question B.

After a contentious campaign that grew especially heated in the weeks before Nov. 6, voters affirmed Question B by a nearly 17 percent margin—211,213 votes for and 150,459 votes against.

But the day before, FOP representatives sued County Executive Isiah Leggett and his spokesman Patrick Lacefield in Montgomery County Circuit Court. The lawsuit alleges that Leggett and Lacefield improperly used county funds and resources to advocate for Question B, including a Web site, ads on RideOn buses and paying county employees to hand out flyers at the polls on Election Day.

The lawsuit asks that Leggett and Lacefield personally repay the expense.

“I’m not intimidated by it,” Leggett told The Gazette.

In the weeks before Election Day, Maryland State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt investigated the issue and found that the county government was acting in good faith, according to the advice of County Attorney Marc Hansen, The Examiner reported.

Saying that “the issue will undoubtedly arise again,” Davitt asked Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler to weigh in, reported Maryland Juice.

The FOP lawsuit is set for a scheduling hearing in February.

macadoodle November 09, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Spelling lesson for the day: it's REIN in not REIGN in the power as it appears in the headline and the article above. Not to be confused with rain which is wet and totally different. Reins are used with horses to control their movements. There are many ways to use the verb "rein". See: http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/rein Spellcheck is not the end-all, be-all of everything.
Matt November 09, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Your county council and executive spent HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF YOUR TAX DOLLARS to do this. A campaign of lies. Nothing they said in their ads, signs, handouts, and rolling bus billboards was true. Ike well go on about how he's trying to save expenses. Then turn around and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on this. The county council should be ashamed for what they've done. The taxpayers that unfortunately fell for their BS should be outraged. Hopefully the lawsuit can reverse this absurdity.
TaL November 10, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Matt- This is like the honest and upstanding FOP that insisted for years that the taxpayers should pay for the camera tickets that officers racked up while speeding (and not on an emergency call)?
Bob November 10, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Really? Seems you are nothing but a union whiner. All of what they said was true and was needed by the County to rein in the gross misconduct by the unions. When police are needed to change direction, the police chief needs to be able to do so without the moronic union having to say if it's ok or not. You should be ashamed for your vapid mistruths, distortions and outright lies.
Matt November 10, 2012 at 06:22 PM
I'm not in any union. I'm just a pissed off taxpayer that watched these people flush money for lies. I'm capable of reading what both sides said and determining who's full of crap. Both of you are just repeating the same lies that the council spent hundreds of thousands of dollars spewing. The only thing I'm ashamed of is you.
TaL November 11, 2012 at 07:14 AM
Matt- So you are saying that the police union didnt fight to avoid the speed camera tickets? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/07/AR2008030703484.html Funny that....Im not sure what other lies I was repeating
TaL November 11, 2012 at 07:16 AM
Sorry I forgot to include the quote "Leaders of the police union recently filed a grievance arguing that the citations constitute a change in labor conditions that the department must negotiate with the union before implementing. " From http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/07/AR2008030703484_2.html
Matt November 11, 2012 at 01:59 PM
"Leaders of the police union recently filed a grievance arguing that the citations constitute a change in labor conditions that the department must negotiate with the union before implementing. " What's your point? Apparently it was negotiated as required by law because officers DO pay their own fines. I know several police officers and other county employees. And all of them are responsible for paying their own camera fines. So your article from FIVE YEARS AGO is full of out-dated information. You, like the council, is using it out of context to pretend they still don't and refuse to. As I said, you're doing nothing by repeating the same lies and loads of crap that were listed as reasons to vote for this law. Unless you have something that isn't expired or a complete lie, stop wasting your keystrokes.
TaL November 11, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Matt- My point is that if officers were using the bargaining provisions of the law to avoid consequences for their ILLEGAL ACTIONS and the Police Chief has to NEGOTIATE with them to get them to pay the fines, the "effects bargaining" provision of the law was a bad idea. The County Council changed the law and the voters supported them. Given that the Union was mounting a mis-information campaign about the changes of the law, the County was right to spend the money to explain to the voters the truth.
Matt November 11, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Oh, now it's "my point is..." since your attempt to bring the speed cameras up out of context didn't work. I didn't see any misinformation in the FOP's campaign. Unlike the county council's campaign which was made entirely of misinformation and stories taken out of context to alter the interpretation. If the county felt they had such a strong case, why would they need to lie and alter stories? Hmmmmmm. And again, it was my tax dollars they spent on this. Hundreds of thousands. And Mr Legget still has no answered my question as to what he did not fund in order to pay for this campaign of lies.


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