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City school police cast vote of 'no confidence' in chief

Members of the Baltimore school police union cast a vote of "no confidence" in their police chief last month, pointing to what they said was his lack of responsiveness to their concerns, union leaders announced Thursday.

In a letter addressed to city schools CEO Andrés Alonso, Sgt. Clyde E. Boatwright, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5, said that between Oct. 14 and Oct. 21, 84 of 110 officers cast a vote of "no confidence" in Chief Marshall "Toby" Goodwin's ability to run the school system's police department.

"Since the FOP has taken over responsibility of being the bargaining agent for school police officers, we have attempted to have and maintain a working relationship with Chief Goodwin," read the letter, obtained by The Baltimore Sun. "Recently all communication on issues relevant to the membership have been ignored and or unanswered."

Boatwright and Goodwin declined to comment Thursday on the letter, which was sent to all union members.

It was unclear what issues the union and Goodwin clashed over to prompt the vote.

But the letter said that the union plans to discuss the reasons for the vote at its next meeting Monday; union leaders will also meet with city school management Nov. 20.

The city school police, with about 140 sworn officers, broke with the City Union of Baltimore last year to join the Fraternal Order of Police.

In January, the police force overwhelmingly ratified a five-year labor contract that ties their pay to performance.

"The focus is to have a system that rewards good officers or officers who stand out," Boatwright said at the time of the January vote. "It gives officers an incentive to say, 'If I do an exceptional job, I can be compensated.' "

The new contract, approved 122-2, raised the salary ceiling for officers, who could retire making $70,000, about $8,000 more than the roughly $62,000 under the old contract. School officers also were to receive signing bonuses of between $2,000 and $4,000.

The contract gave officers a 4 percent raise retroactive to July 2010. The new pay-for-performance scale was due to take effect July 1, 2013.

The city's principals, teachers and service workers have adopted similar contracts.



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