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Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35 v. Montgomery County

Court of Appeals of Maryland

December 2, 2013

FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE LODGE 35, et al.
v.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND, et al.

Barbera, C.J. Harrell Battaglia Greene Adkins McDonald [*] Bell, JJ.

OPINION

Bell, C.J. (Retired).

In this case, the issue for decision is whether all of the signatures of registered voters collected by an affiant, who, in completing his affidavit to an election referendum petition, provided partially incorrect zip code information, are, for that reason, invalidated. We hold that they are not.

Similar to the general collective bargaining law for County employees, Montgomery, Md., Code §§ 33-101 to 33-112, the collective bargaining law for police department employees, Montgomery, Md., Code §§ 33-75 to 33-85, requires the Montgomery County Executive ("Executive") to bargain over wages, benefits, and working conditions. On July 19, 2011, the Montgomery County Council passed Bill 18-11[1] to amend Section 33-80(a)(7) of the Montgomery County Code. Section 33-80(a), which prescribes the scope of County collective bargaining with its police department union, provided, before its amendment:

"Collective bargaining.
"(a) Duty to bargain; matters subject to bargaining. A certified employee organization and the employer must bargain collectively on the following subjects:
"(1) Salary and wages, provided, however, that salaries and wages shall be uniform for all employees in the same classification;
"(2) Pension and retirement benefits for active employees only;
"(3) Employee benefits such as, but not limited to, insurance, leave, holidays and vacation;
"(4) Hours and working conditions, including the availability and use of personal patrol vehicles;
"(5) Provisions for the orderly processing and settlement of grievances concerning the interpretation and implementation of the collective bargaining agreement, which may include binding third party arbitration and provisions for exclusivity of forum;
"(6) Matters affecting the health and safety of employees; and
"(7) The effect on employees of the employer's exercise of rights listed in subsection (b)."

Montgomery, Md., Code § 33-80(a) (2007). Section 33-80(b), on the other hand, delineates certain "rights" of the Executive that cannot be impaired through police collective bargaining. It provides, in pertinent part:

"Employer rights.
"This article and any agreement pursuant hereto shall not impair the right and responsibility of the employer.
"(1) To determine the overall budget and mission of the employer and any agency of county government;
"(2) To maintain and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of operations; "(3) To determine the services to be rendered and the operations to be performed;
"(4) To determine the overall organizational structure, methods, processes, means, job classifications or personnel by which operations are to be conducted and the location of facilities;
"(5) To direct or supervise employees;
"(6) To hire, select and establish the standards governing promotion of employees and to classify positions;
"(7) To relieve employees from duties because of lack of work or funds, or under conditions when the employer determines continued work would be inefficient or nonproductive;
"(8) To make and enforce rules and regulations not inconsistent with this law or a collective ...

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