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MoCo Council: Fix Disability Retirement Program

A majority of Montgomery County Councill members signed on to a letter to County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) this week, urging "swift action" to overhaul the county's disability retirement system. The missive appears to try to turn up the pressure on Leggett's team and leaders of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35, who are in closed-door talks about making changes through the collective bargaining process.

"Council will be forced to act through legislation if bargaining cannot produce an acceptable result in a timely manner," according to the letter signed by council members Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg-Rockville), Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda), Marc Elrich (D-At Large), Don Praisner and Duchy Trachtenberg. "This is an issue that county residents expect to see resolved without delay."

The council's interest in the issue was prompted by an inspector general's report that found that more than 60 percent of police officers who retired in the past four years are collecting disability benefits. Leggett also raised questions about the program after an internal review.

The issue has attracted the attention of federal authorities, who are investigating the disability retirement packages of two former assistant police chiefs who have gone on to other law enforcement jobs.

Leggett's spokesman, Patrick Lacefield, said the administration is "actively talking" with union leaders and called the negotiations a "work in progress."

"We're happy that the council is joining our campaign for changes and reforms," he said.

By Anne Bartlett  |  November 28, 2008; 8:37 AM ET
Categories:  Ann Marimow , Montgomery County  
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We need go back through those cases over the past few years. Make a spread sheet giving the name and position of who approved the disability claims and the basis of the disability claims. The patterns of fraud, waste and abuse will emerge. Don't paper this over. We don't have 60% of military units from Viet Nam, or Iraq retiring on disability. We have hundreds of murders in D.C. every year and relatively few in Montgomery County. Yet, the disability retirements in D.C., Va. and Howard County are nowhere what they are in Montgomery County. These statistics make our a prima facie case of fraud which our elected officials have yet to rebut. No wonder homeowners feel they are getting the short end of the stick and that they are serving as ATMs here.

Posted by: robinfickerofrobinrealty | November 28, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Why don't the elected officials in Rockville use the fraud for this like Robin Ficker does? Isn't that what we have here? Doesn't the County CAO approve disability designations?

An editorial in the Washington Times today says, "Five days before voters approved Question B, the County Council learned that 134 county police officers---more than 90 percent of county police officers who applied for disability retirements benefits since 1998--had received them. By way of comparison, over the past eight years no Fairfax County officers have retired on disability."

If this isn't fraud, what is?

Posted by: barbaraj1 | November 30, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

This is a disgrace...there is no way every one of these claims are legit. My family member had two back surgeries, after a brief recovery period went back to work...they had no choice. They should be looking at the people who rubber stamped these claims, pushed them through a corrupt system. MoCo police know how to work this system to their advantage and are copying their chiefs.

MoCo government is a mess: inefficient, wasteful and totally out-of-control in spending, greed and blatant cronyism. This is why taxpayers are so ticked off. Ike, get a clue! These people are going to vote you out of office.

Posted by: laurabunny | December 1, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

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