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City should yield on police, fire pensions

Interior PolicyJustice SystemPension and WelfareStephanie Rawlings-Blake

The Sun editorial ("In defeat, a victory," Sept. 24) claims that the City of Baltimore was within its rights to make unilateral changes to fire and police pensions. Federal Judge Marvin Garbis ruled that the city ordinance was unconstitutional.

It appears that the editorial board at the Sun believes contracts are made to be broken. In 2009, the fire officers, fire fighters and the Fraternal Order of Police approached the city administration with a proposal that would have saved Baltimore over $80 million in pension costs. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the city council chose to enact the ordinance instead with a total disregard to the City Code.

The City also had ample opportunities during the three trials to sever the ordinance but instead chose, in no uncertain terms, to make it an all-or-nothing proposition. The City now has the right to appeal this decision and continue to spend taxpayer dollars on this litigation or they can acknowledge the efforts by the unions to reach a compromise and move everyone forward. Judge Garbis has requested that all parties meet with him in mid-October.

Michael B. Campbell, Baltimore

The writer is president of Baltimore Fire Officers L-964.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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