Showing posts with label police union. Show all posts
Showing posts with label police union. Show all posts

Friday, June 11, 2021

Montgomery County police union trolls elected officials on social media for defunding police amid crime wave

Montgomery County's Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35 criticized County elected officials on social media Thursday for "defunding MoCo police" amid a crime wave. The posts on Facebook and Twitter called out County Executive Marc Elrich and the County Council for eliminating 27 police officer positions in the budget. They also cited violent crimes in the county that made area headlines in the last few days.

"3 carjackings in 2 days (2 @ gunpoint, 1 w/ serious injuries) when is @MontCoExec and @MoCoCouncilMD going to get their priorities straight and stop defunding MoCo police?" the posts asked. Officers have reported that morale on the force and officer recruiting efforts are both trending downward.

"Just because of the, so much of the anti-police sentiment, not being treated well," County Officer Petr Speight told CBS' Ted Koppel in a report aired Sunday. "Those kind of things are just discouraging people from wanting to stick around. Things have just changed, the way people view us, and the way they view our role in society and our jobs."

While anti-police sentiment has markedly increased after the death of George Floyd, declining police morale has actually been trending in Montgomery County for more than a decade, based on what officers have told me over that time period. The County Council tried to slash disability benefits for officers in 2009, approving a modified version of that plan in 2011. Councilmembers, and the Washington Post editorial board, falsely characterized officers seeking disability benefits as schemers and scam artists without evidence to back up those claims. Both have publicly criticized County police on a regular basis for a variety of grievances since that opening move.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Mayor & Council table discussion of compensation for Rockville employees, want more data

Representatives of the union representing Rockville's police officers expressed displeasure with a proposal to substitute annual leave for salary step increases at last night's Mayor and Council meeting.

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 117 President Michelle Milne pointedly noted that "annual leave doesn't pay the mortgage," during the Community Forum before the compensation discussion.

By the end of the evening, Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton and Councilmembers Virginia Onley and Beryl Feinberg were also less than satisfied with the options on the table after a Compensation and Classification study funded by the city.

Seeking more information as to whether a hybrid plan could accommodate step increases to any extent, the three sought to table the discussion until such analysis could be completed by consultant Evergreen.

Councilmember Tom Moore said such a move was impermissible under the rules. He said the Mayor and Council had already voted on that issue at a prior meeting, and that it was too late to reconsider that vote. Newton said she was "disappointed" that Moore did not want the body to obtain more information. "You lost that vote," Moore insisted, accusing his three colleagues of "blowing up" the discussion. "I didn't lose them, I didn't blow this up," Newton replied. "It is incumbent upon the Mayor and Council to ensure we receive all the information we need to make a decision."

"I suggest we take a break," to have the City Clerk review the transcript of the May 11, 2015 meeting where the vote(s) in question were taken, Moore insisted.

Onley said, "I think we can change our minds." The options on the table were Evergreen's, "not ours," Newton said. Onley then made a motion to table the discussion.

A motion to table would be inappropriate under Robert's Rules, Moore argued.

"We are not Robert's Rules," Feinberg shot back. "We've been through this before - we do not follow Robert's Rules, we have our own rules here."

Moore turned to Onley and said, "This discussion was going great. I don't understand why all of a sudden...we're talking about ending the discussion. We were five minutes away" from reaching consensus, he said. Moore conceded that Newton, Onley and Feinberg were raising "legitimate questions," but "our votes matter."

A frustrated Onley fired back. "I don't want to say anything disrespectful...[but] five minutes doesn't mean a damn thing - and I apologize, because I don't usually talk like that - if we're not taking care of our employees."

Feinberg said "It is so vitally important to every staff member that we get this right. I want to do the right thing." She suggested a few months' delay would not have a major impact, as there are funds in reserve.

Moore was unconvinced. "We made that decision," he said. "Maybe you didn't like it, but we made it." He stated that he would prefer to approve the recommendations of Evergreen, and then consider "what is the best way to make up for six tough years."

Newton responded that "If there are a number of us who feel we didn't get the information we wanted," that it was appropriate to pause the discussion until that information could be furnished. She said the possibility of police sergeants making less than employees with less time was an example of why the city should consider a hybrid plan. She also said it was worth exploring whether steps would be less expensive than what Evergreen has proposed. "Getting it right matters a lot," she concluded.

The Mayor then said she would entertain Onley's motion to table the discussion.

"Point of order," Moore called out, saying there was another motion on the floor. There was disagreement as to whether that was accurate, requiring a consultation with the City Attorney, Debra Yerg Daniel. "Under our rules, it's the Mayor's call what happens," Daniel said, although councilmembers could appeal her ruling.

"We've spent twenty minutes hassling" over a dispute that could have been avoided if the Mayor and Council had received the information they had previously asked for, Newton said. She again entertained Onley's motion to table the discussion, which passed 3-2, with Moore and Councilmember Julie Palakovich Carr opposed.

"Before any money is spent with Evergreen," Moore said after the vote, "I would like an accounting of what it would cost." He also insisted that those seeking the information put their requests to Evergreen in writing, so that there would be no dispute when the Mayor and Council resume the discussion at a later date. They agreed to do so.

It was not known as of last night how much time would be needed to comply with the data requests.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Jan Seilhamer, president of the union representing Rockville's city police officers, formally requested the mayor and council grant officers collective bargaining rights, at Monday evening's regular council meeting.

A few weeks ago, Seilhamer testified that the city's continued failure to reinstate salary step increases had left police force morale "at an all-time low." At that time, she presented the report of a forensic accountant, who concluded the city could afford to resume step increases immediately.

With no progress since that Community Forum appearance, Seilhamer returned with a formal petition requesting the mayor and council amend the city's charter to give police officers collective bargaining rights. Seilhamer said the city's public works employees already have such rights, which would include non-binding arbitration.

After outlining many months of delays and poor communication with the city, Seilhamer said the union has recently learned that its previous requests to the mayor and council were never even delivered to those elected officials by city staff. She also cited the city's own employee policy, which states on page 14, that step increases are to be based on "employee performance and availability of funding." Since the former has been outstanding, and the latter proven to be true, Seilhamer said it is clear that "the city is not bargaining in good faith."

The police union, FOP Lodge 117, has retained a lawyer, Pat McAndrew. McAndrew also spoke at Monday night's meeting, and presented a draft charter amendment. "The system in place now is broken," McAndrew concluded. Noting that Bowie, Frederick and Greenbelt are among nearby cities that have granted collective bargaining rights to their police officers, McAndrew asked the mayor and council to  “recognize what the officers in the Rockvile police department contribute to this community.”

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


The union that represents Rockville's police officers is asking the Mayor and Council to reverse cutbacks in officers' compensation, now that the recession is over. Officer Jan Seilhamer, who is the union's president (and an Army veteran of Operation Desert Storm), said "morale is at an all-time low within the police department," due to the reductions.

Speaking at the last council meeting, Seilhamer argued that the city can easily afford to restore step increases to officers, as jurisdictions with worse economies have already done so. A forensic accountant the Rockville Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 117 hired to review the city's finances concluded the city is in "excellent financial health," Seilhamer noted.

Given that context, Seilhamer said, officers see "a mayor and council who do not value our contributions and sacrifices. We have sacrificed time with our families, we have sacrificed our bodies for this city."

A one-time FY-2015 bonus is "unacceptable," Seilhamer said, especially when officers may be ordered to contribute more to their retirement plans, to boot.

Seilhamer pointed to the amount of the city's surplus being spent on capital improvement projects in the budget as evidence of misplaced priorities. "When are you going to make the people who help make this city so great a priority?" she asked.

The mayor and council did not publicly respond to the issue in their Response to Community Forum directly following Seilhamer's testimony.