I was not surprised to read the view of The Sun's editorial board in "End the pension fight" (Aug. 8), but your facts are incorrect. The police and fire unions made a proposal in September of 2009 regarding the fire and police pension plan. While the unions were negotiating with members of the City Council to seek those changes, the mayor's folks were crafting Ordinance 10-0306, which took effect in June 2010. While in litigation we made a settlement offer to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in January of 2013 with regard to Ordinance 10-0306. Eighteen months later, we have yet to receive a response. In my opinion we have made an effort to arrive at an agreed upon solution/settlement, but what we will not do is settle for pennies on the dollar! Where was The Sun's editorial board in 2012 when Judge Marvin Garbis ruled in the unions' favor and the city appealed to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals? There was no demand that Mayor Rawlings-Blake settle, yet your board now feels compelled to school the unions on what is in their members' best interests.
Article 22, section 42 of the Baltimore Code reads "Upon becoming … a member of the Fire and Police Employees' Retirement System … such member shall there upon be deemed to have entered into a contract with the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, the terms of which shall be the provisions of this Article 22, as they exist at the effective date of this ordinance, or at the time of becoming a member, whichever is later, and the benefits provided thereunder shall not thereafter be in any way diminished or impaired."
When we become members of the Baltimore City Fire Department, we raise our right hand and take an oath to serve the citizens of Baltimore. That oath is our contract to those citizens that whether it is a severe weather event, major emergency incident, a child needing rescue from a burning building or a family member needing immediate medical care, we will continue to serve the citizens of Baltimore with dignity and professionalism. All we are asking is that our mayor honor her contract with our members outlined in the City Code. The 4th Circuit opinion states there are remedies available to the unions in their pursuit of this litigation, and we are poised to seek one of those remedies for this egregious breach of contract.
Michael B. Campbell, Baltimore
The writer is president of Baltimore Fire Officers, Local 964.
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