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MoCo Firefighters To Appeal Labor Ruling on Raises

John Sparks, president of the Montgomery County Career Firefighters Association, plans to appeal a labor relations administrator's ruling last week in a dispute over cost-of-living pay raises for his members.

"If we don't, we're stuck with a decision we don't agree with," Sparks said on Monday.

A labor relations administrator ruled Saturday that County Executive Isiah Leggett's (D) decision not to fund pay raises for the budget year that begins July 1 was within his authority as executive.

Teachers, police officers and general government workers had agreed to forgo cost-of-living pay raises after renegotiating their contracts. But Sparks challenged Leggett's decision not to fund 4 percent raises for firefighters without first negotiating a new agreement with his members.

The labor relations official wrote that the county's charter and the executive's responsibility to propose a budget essentially trumps the requirement in collective bargaining law that the executive fully fund negotiated contracts.

Sparks said the decision should have been limited to the question of whether Leggett violated the collective bargaining law. He acknowledged the risk of appealing to the Circuit Court, but said he could not "imagine a court making a decision that's worse."

By Ann Marimow  |  March 31, 2009; 4:43 PM ET
Categories:  Ann Marimow , Montgomery County  
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