Meeting planned Monday on police union

December 09, 1997

Meeting planned Monday on police union


Staff Writer

Hagerstown City Police supervisors interested in forming a union will meet Monday to decide whether and how to pursue the matter, a union official said.

About 17 of 20 police supervisors have expressed interest in forming a union, said Louis Kellerman, a business agent with Teamsters Local 103 in Glen Burnie, Md. Supervisors include captains, lieutenants and sergeants.

Kellerman said the effort to unionize is not about money, but grievance procedures.

Matters negotiated between city officials and the patrol officers' union, such as vacation, retirement, sick leave and accumulation of unused sick leave toward retirement, can affect supervisors, he said.


When a citizen files a complaint against a patrol officer, a union representative helps the officer with the investigation and provides support, Kellerman said.

Supervisors, such as sergeants who also patrol the streets, would have to hire their own lawyers, he said.

Supervisors have not submitted a formal proposal for unionization to the City Council, officials said.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey said he supports representation for police supervisors, whether union or non-union.

Police supervisors don't have a say in their own destiny, Bruchey said. He has been unable to get council backing for a supervisors union, he said.

"If they wanted to be in a union, they should not have sought to be in management," said Councilman Lewis C. Metzner.

If supervisors have concerns, they should take them to Personnel Manager Eric Marburger or City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman, Metzner said.

Council members Metzner, Susan Saum-Wicklein and William M. Breichner said they don't favor unions for management.

Kellerman said police supervisors cannot hold an election to decide whether to form a union because the city charter wouldn't recognize the Teamsters as a bargaining unit.

The union cannot force the council to adopt a resolution recognizing the Teamsters as a bargaining unit, so other options would have to be explored, he said.

Councilman J. Wallace McClure said he had no comment since the council had not discussed the matter in-depth.

Councilman Alfred W. Boyer could not be reached for comment.

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