Baltimore County Considers Binding Arbitration for County Employees

An October 28 Baltimore Sun article describes an upcoming referendum in Baltimore County that would give county employees the right to binding arbitration as part of the collective bargaining process.  Currently, binding arbitration is limited to police and firefighters in certain counties.  Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith opposes the measure.

Baltimore County voters will consider a referendum next week to require the county to change the way it determines salary increases and benefits for up to 3,000 employees, including emergency call dispatchers, health inspectors and code enforcement workers. …

Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. urged voters Thursday to reject Question A on Nov. 2. The measure would compromise the county executive’s authority to submit a “fiscally responsible budget” if an outside party determined pay increases and other employment issues each year, Smith said in a statement.

“The County Executive is directly accountable to the people of Baltimore County and voters in the next election for the budgetary decisions made,” Smith wrote. “The arbitrator is not.” …

The union has received support from the police and firefighters unions, both of which received the arbitration provision in 2002.

“It’s only fair as they go down the referendum road that we support them as well,” said Michael Day, president of the Baltimore County Professional Fire Fighters Association.

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