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Pr. Geo.'s Unions Sue Over Unpaid Furloughs

Rosalind Helderman

A coalition of five unions representing public safety unions in Prince George's County filed suit in circuit court today, arguing the county is in breach of contracts with their members because the County Council agreed to a plan to furlough workers for 80 hours between now and mid-June.

According to the suit, the county must honor contracts it negotiated with each of the unions, which represent police officers, firefighters, correctional officers, deputy sheriffs and civilians working for the police department. The suit argues that a county does not truly face a budget shortfall, as the county executive and council have said, because it maintains a reserve fund. County personnel law allows workers to be furloughed when a budget shortfall exists.

However, the union suit notes the county has for years had a policy of maintaining 7 percent of all county revenues in a reserve fund, though the county charter requires a fund of only 5 percent. The county has reserves of $44 million even beyond the 7 percent figure, county leaders have acknowledged.

County Executive Jack B. Johnson has said the county projects a budget shortfall of $57 million by the year's end and the furloughs are needed to close the gap. A spokesman for Johnson said county leaders had received the lawsuit but had not yet reviewed it and had no comment.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 18, 2008; 4:26 PM ET
Categories:  Prince George's County , Rosalind Helderman  
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This is an easy fix. Fire 10% of the forces and that will balance the budget. Lets not forget the reason MD is so strapped is due to law suites it's had to pay because of unlawful actions of the police (The BE of the Mayors home) Sheriff (The murder of Ronnie White) Fire dept. ( Caught on tape drinking and partying with Hooters girls at the tax payers expense) the list goes on and on. Why should the hard working staff that hasn't cost the state millions be furloughed. Let the ones who are most responsible pay the price.

Posted by: askgees | September 18, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

You can bet your bottom dollar that no one is going to touch that rainy day fund; they need a little something, in reserve, on which to skip town.

Posted by: properbostonian1 | September 18, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I would rather see lazy,unproductive employees get fired than to see hard working employees forced to take unpaid furloughs. There;s too many out there that earns a full-time pay check when only performing part-time duties.

Posted by: Shannon | September 19, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

The unions are selfish and wrong. They would rather see their membership fired than work with the County to minimize the long term impact of of this nationwide crisis for all. Are they blind or just plain short-sighted. Look at what is happening across the country, the economy is a mess and they are griping about a 80 missed hours. I would rather lose 80 hours short term than lose 2080(a work year) indefinitely. If layout becomes necessary becasue of this selfishness, the first one fired should be that arrogant a-hole Canales.

Posted by: Rather loss 80 hours than 2080 | September 20, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

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