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Union Official: Pension Bill Was a Surprise

County Federation of Public Employees plans to oppose controversial pension bill in Annapolis.

The head of one union that represents about 1,600 county employees said the county blindsided union leaders with a currently before the Maryland General Assembly.

"I don't see how any union leader can support this because it changes the terms and conditions of employment and should at least be brought to the unions first," said John Ripley, president of the Baltimore County Federation of Public Employees.

The union counts sheriff's deputies and correctional officers among its members. 

County officials say the bill could by overturning a court ruling that said it was charging too much for a penalty on interest on pensions to retirees who transferred their state pension time into the county retirement system.

"We had no idea this was coming," Ripley said. "It was a surprise."

The Baltimore County Federation of Public Employees is still scrambling to understand the full impact of the bill and determine how many members might be affected. Preliminary numbers gathered by the state chapter of the union suggest the bill would "be much higher than the 150 (the county) is using," Ripley said.

Not every union, however, opposes the bill.

Michael Day, president of the Baltimore County Professional Fire Fighters, testified Tuesday before the House Appropriations Committee in favor of the bill.

Day also sits on the Board of Trustees of the Employees' Retirement System.

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Richard L March 01, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Yea, the Professional Fire Fighters are in favor of the bill, they and the police are exempt from the effects of it. Looks like the fire fighters don't care about the fate of general County employees.
Brian March 02, 2012 at 12:08 AM
thats not true at all.....just the one that represents them
DHAMMER March 02, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Nothing like Liberal Unions getting stabbed in the back by the Politicians they support. My heart bleeds for them
Jimmy March 02, 2012 at 01:03 PM
I guess he doesn't want to piss off Kamentz. Maybe Day has political aspirations and wants to ride KK's coat sleeves. He is eligible for retirement. Day has been a company man from day one. The only thing he cares about is loosing his Tee time with Chief Homan. His big catch phrase when asked why they let management do horrible things to the membership is "management has the right to manage, even if they manage badly". Forget about standing up to management. He and his union chronies have rolled over on many issues that effect their members. He said nothing about loosing the fire investigators, and when approached to get benefits for members in support services, he says there isn't enough people there to worry about...I thought if you pay your union dues you deserve to be protected...hmmm. He and the previous union president lost the chance to get back furlough money by not teaming up with the FOP. The FD was the only county agency that didn't get back their furlough money during the Hayden Administration. I guess this is the same thing...there aren't enough members affected by this bill to worry about. Wake up Mike, who's side are you on?!!??!?
Greg Redmer March 02, 2012 at 05:13 PM
It does affect the police and they are against it.
Thomas Gunn March 02, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Please tell me, a taxpayer, why Baltimore County should provide a retirement for an employee who transfers to Balto.Co. employment and get credit from the previous governmental employment without providing his/her contributions to Baltimore Co. So we are to give them 10 year of credit for no contribution!
Greg Redmer March 02, 2012 at 11:36 PM
They do pay Baltimore county when they transfer their time. At issue is the courts ruled Baltimore county charges too much. "At the heart of the issue is a bill that Don Mohler, a spokesman for the county, said is "an important piece of legislation that has a fiscal impact to the county." The legislation, if passed, would affect how the county calculates reductions in pension benefits for some state employees who bring their pensions with them when they work for the county. State law requires that the county count the employee's time in the state pension system as county time even though the employee doesn't contribute to the state system. In Baltimore County, employees contribute a percentage of their salary toward their retirement benefits. State law allows the county to reduce the final pension benefit to adjust for years when payments weren't made plus 5 percent interest compounded annually." Currently, the county reduces the payments by nearly 8 percent interest compounded monthly—which nearly doubles the reductions to affected employees.
Momofmany March 03, 2012 at 02:52 AM
I applaud Mr. Day and his union! They are the only union out there that can echo those famous words of Bob Dylan..."The times they are a changin........." By taking a leadership role on the issue. This management partnership is what will allow the county to survive without compromising the wages and benefits of our firefighters and EMS personnel who put their lives on the line everyday and protect us at all costs! Mr. Day is experienced politically and he gets it! Perhaps others should follow suit?
Buzz Beeler March 03, 2012 at 03:05 AM
Greg, there is a certain hypocrisy in Mohler's following comment: "Don Mohler, a spokesman for the county, said is "an important piece of legislation that has a fiscal impact to the county." There are so may issues that have a fiscal impact on the county, there is not enough room in this small block to reveal some of the most egregious. Pensions is certainly at the top of that list of, as they said in the great American war film, "Saving Private Ryan - FUBAR. http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/News_Articles/2010/municipal-pension-systems.aspx
Jimmy March 03, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Momofmany, are you his wife? The members had nothing to do with his endorsement of the bill. Nobody had any idea of the bill untill it hit the paper. Mike day is only after one thing...political recognition. He doesn't "get it". He sides with administration every chance he gets. It is not "his union". The union belongs to it's members. He is running it into the ground. He and Kevin are the prime reason the FD didn't get back their furlough money during the Hayden admin. He is the the bigest reason the union had such a bad relationship with Dutch when he was county exec. During that time, the police DOUBLED their salary and the FD got less than 18% raise in 8 years...and much of that went back into health care premium and pension contribution. NO union official should endorse a pension change of this type. And the FD does have members that will be effected by it.
Thomas Gunn March 04, 2012 at 03:31 AM
Jimmy you are a disgruntled member of the fire fighters union. You have dropped the curtain you have hid behind. "Lapsus linguae, my friend!"
kevin March 05, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Joe Bartenfelder PLEASE update your resume. We the voters of Baltimore county especially those tricked by Johnny O and his boys Beg you to come back!!

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