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MoCo Talks With Unions Stall Over Pay Raises

Montgomery County's annual Arts and Humanities ball was not all dancing and celebration last night. Instead, several council members huddled with union representatives who reported that talks had stalled with County Executive Isiah Leggett over rolling back planned pay raises to help close a massive budget gap.

Leggett's team had set Monday, Dec. 1, as its target for coming up with an agreement with union leaders, but it was not to be. Even so, Leggett sounded upbeat today. "We're moving foward," he said. "It's not like there's a hard and fast deadline."

Gino Renne, president of the county's largest union for government employees, was less cheery. He said he is frustrated by what he views as a "one way conversation."

"They are demanding that we give with no reciprocity," he said, adding that he is willing to "take one more shot to try to avoid a train wreck."

By Ann Marimow  |  December 2, 2008; 3:21 PM ET
Categories:  Ann Marimow , Montgomery County  
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If MoCo were a business and there was a "short fall" this big no employee would expect a raise...that is the way it is in the real world.

There is no money MoCo, overburdened taxpayers have been milked one time too many. Unions will have to be more "fiscally responsible" and be thankful they still have jobs. Many Americans will be getting pink slips and people in County government have been very lucky. The party is over.

Posted by: laurabunny | December 2, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Your comment got me laughing LB! Isn't that just what the auto execs, insurance execs, financial institution execs were doing while the financial world was crumbling around them and their companys were bleeding money.

The government workers give up bonuses, golden parachutes, lucrative stock options, and private company perks in exchange for modest paying, stable employment. I would imagine their thinking runs along the lines of this - if the county government realized a windfall in the middle of one of their contracts, what would be the likelihood that mid-contract raises would be passed along to them. The answer, of course, is that it is unlikely that the county government would pass along any part of this windfall to them. Just some food for thought before you indict the county workers for wanting to keep their benefits.

Posted by: msparks | December 2, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

sparks: I do not indict them. But with no money, either they give up contracted raises or cut programs. I do not care how they do it, but raising real estate taxes with no end in sight, is not the answer with spending this out-of-control.

BTW I have two friends who once worked for the County, and two others who still do. They all say the excess and spending is real, the sense of "gimme me more" palpable in many respects.

Not all people want to milk the taxpayer without a thought, two of these people now work for national nonprofits and left the "system" and are happier.

I hear you, but some people do have a conscience about this. There are many counties the size of MoCo with budgets 25% of ours. That is a reality check, some things can go. If not salaries, then find something else, like MCPD disability claims, now under Federal scrutiny, Casa de Maryland, and OT for police and fire. The fat is there, if they admit it.

Posted by: laurabunny | December 2, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

If 2000 MoCo Health & Human Services employees were laid off, would any taxpayers actually notice?

Posted by: postisarag | December 2, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

As last year, the Executive and Council are going to give some lip service to sticking to the charter property tax limit. Then the council, with the backing of the executive, will vote unanimously to exceed the charter property tax limit. Homeowners will once again get the short end of the stick. Save Our Homes!

Posted by: robinfickerofrobinrealty | December 2, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

MoCo needs to reduce the salaries of county employees so Leggett will have the money to prosecute the illegal alien murderers running rampant. Also, got to cough up more money for Casa de Malley.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | December 2, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Why isn't Gino Renne demanding a complete and total ejection of all things CASA de Maryland from the fiscal picture? It ought to be pretty clear to him that the "one way conversation" is, simply stated, "Ike" Leggett choosing one or the other: CASA, or the unions. Guess who isn't getting what they want, Mr Renne.

What was that about reciprocity and train wrecks?

The train wreck is long overdue.

Let the derailings begin.

It's time for a nice wildcat strike until Mr Leggett and the Council can dump CASA to save some union jobs.

Posted by: thardman | December 2, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

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