On Wednesday, June 23, the 4th Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled that Prince George’s County does not have to cover the personnel costs to county police and other workers furloughed for 10 days in 2008 as reported in the Gazette. The County appealed to the federal court after losing part of a lawsuit from county police unions in 2009 and the court stated Prince George’s County had the right to impose unpaid, furlough leave on its 6,000 workers and does not owe them any money.
In short, because the [labor contracts] allowed for the possibility of furloughs, the [lower] court erred,” Judge Robert Bruce King wrote in the opinion issued Wednesday. “Accordingly, we must reverse the summary judgment award to the unions.”
The ruling made in Richmond, Va., reverses the August 2009 decision by U.S. District Court Judge Alexander Williams Jr., who said the county violated labor contracts by implementing the furloughs in September 2008.
The County implemented furloughs in 2010 but did not impose them for 2011 because extra state funding made them unnecessary, according to County Executive Jack Johnson.
The International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA) supported the County’s position by filing an amicus brief. The organization’s 75th Annual Conference will be held in New Orleans on October 10-13. IMLA also offers a variety of useful teleconferences and webinars.