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.
November 28, 2008; 8:37 AM ET
Categories: Ann Marimow , Montgomery County
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