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County, Police Union Spar Over ‘Effects Bargaining’

by BethesdaNow.com — October 12, 2012 at 1:15 pm 1,226 0

UPDATED AT 3:10 p.m.: Police union consultant Lanny Davis said none of the 15 police issues a county spokesman claims were held up by effects bargaining were delayed by the process.

Davis said spokesman Patrick Lacefield’s citation of the 15 examples was “demonstrably false.” He again asked for a forum to debate county officials on the issue, which will appear as Question B on the Nov. 6 ballot.

“We have declined to label elected officials as intentionally misstating the truth and have avoided the “L” word for that reason.” Davis said. “I can say that Mr. Lacefield either should meet me for a public debate or send one of his taxpayer-paid colleagues to do so or I will have to assume that he is intentionally misrepresenting the truth. Not one of the examples he cites were delayed one day, indeed one minute as a result of the 30-year statute that the Council wishes to repeal.”

Montgomery County’s fight to do away with “effects bargaining” for police has reached a fever pitch, with each side labeling the other as dishonest and County Council President Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda) openly refusing to debate a police union consultant on the issue.

Yesterday, after we linked to a WAMU story about union claims that effects bargaining does not delay or hinder management as police chief Thomas Manger has claimed, County spokesman Patrick Lacefield emailed us with 15 issues the county claims have been delayed for years by the process.

The County Executive’s office and the County Council have been actively campaigning voters to approve Question B on the Nov. 6 ballot, which would uphold an earlier Council decision to repeal effects bargaining.

Effects bargaining dictates decisions on issues such as use of email and clothing allowance for undercover officers. Montgomery County is the only police union in the state with effects bargaining.

The county started a website, which has drawn the ire of Lanny Davis, a Washington lobbyist hired by the police union to make its case against Question B.

Lacefield’s list of decisions delayed by effects bargaining included procedures for use of force, equipment turn-in, the types of holsters that can be used, restricted duty, raids, search warrants, video systems in police cars, school resource officers and the type of personal information kept by the department and available for public release.

He said the union’s claim that the police chief can override the need for union leaders’ approval within 50 days is false.

“First, why should Union leaders get to delay critical Police policies for even 50 days,” Lacefield wrote. “Second, Union leaders can file Prohibited Practices charges against the Police Chief for failing to negotiate in ‘good faith.’”

Lacefield went on to say the issues often go to a labor arbitrator who can rule against the county under existing effects bargaining rules.

“Under effects bargaining, management always gets to do what they want to do,” Marc Zifcak, the immediate past president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35, told WAMU this week. “All effects bargaining provides is an opportunity for us, the people who are affected by the decision, to discuss up front and hopefully deal with the negative impact.”

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