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Correctional Officers Rally Against Furloughs

Less than 24 hours after the Prince George's County Council voted to furlough them and other county workers, about three dozen officers from the county Department of Corrections gathered in Upper Marlboro to try to drum up public support against the action.

The correctional officers, most of them clad in white or black DOC (Department of Corrections) T-shirts, convened near the lake outside the County Administration Building and handed out fliers opposing the two-week unpaid furloughs, which were approved by the county council yesterday.

Sgt. Curtis Knowles, president of the union that represents correctional officers, said another 20 officers would have been on hand, but they had to work overtime shifts on what should have been off-days because of staffing shortages.

Knowles predicted that the furloughs will cost the county more money than they save, because more officers will have to work overtime shifts. "We have to maintain a certain level of staffing. DOC never shuts down, and we can't send the inmates home for the weekend," Knowles said.

Union members said that neither County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) nor any other elected officials had stepped out of their offices to speak to them. But some union members said they thought they had spotted Johnson drive by (or be chauffeured) in his county-provided Cadillac Escalade.

-- Ruben Castaneda

By Anne Bartlett  |  September 17, 2008; 2:35 PM ET
Categories:  Prince George's County  
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