Let the Voters Decide If Cecil County Deputies Should Have Binding Arbitration


Oh since we’re straying into other elements of this latest controversial matter involving political decision making in the county, we’ll go ahead and toss out one more opinion.  As a citizen we favor letting the voters decide whether the deputy sheriffs should be granted binding arbitration.  If the voters don’t feel they deserve this protection, they’ll turn it down and if those taxpayers are okay with it they’ll approve it.  We watched the same process in Elkton and the Mayor and commissioners opposed it there but the voters approved the protection.  It hasn’t brought the town of Elkton to a standstill yet, despite worries presented in an advertising campaign financed by the Mayor and Commissioners.

In fact, we’ll go an extra step here and say we favor allowing them to have binding arbatration.  It is a standard labor-management tool and if you’re going to allow a workforce to have collective bargaining,what happens when the two parties can’t reconcile their differences. It’s a highly regulated process and there has to be some mechanism to force both parties to reach an agreement. Otherwise, what’s the sense of giving these hardworking men and women of Cecil County law enforcement a collective bargaining agreement.  We’ll probably have a lot more to say on this as we get over the decision being made behind closed doors.


6 responses to “Let the Voters Decide If Cecil County Deputies Should Have Binding Arbitration

  1. This bunch is real good at raising our taxes every year but those politicians dont want to let people decide. I say let them deputies have a union. They work hard. Not like those politicians hiding behind doors to go against working men. Time to vote in some new Commissioners

  2. Fred, thanks for posting your thoughts on this matter.

    Taxes are certainly a large part of the latest stir that has been generated, but I do clearly see the commissioners point on that. What gets our attention is how the commissioners are able to take what, at some points is valid (in our opinion) and shift the argument away from what are their strongest points. For example, hiring a lobbyist is not necessarily unreasonable in some circumstances and might have been right in this case, but I’m unable to evaluate that, because they shut the public out. If they hadn’t done that, I would’ve been able to evaluate their action. Who knows it just might have been something I agreed with, but when it’s behiind closed doors, I don’t know what happened. When you’re focused on an argument don’t confuse the issue and stick the core matter you’re trying to resolve.

    On another point, I’m also bothered by politicans who promise to hold taxes and then find that promise isn’t practical. When I hear conservatives make those pledge, I’m always sure they’re speaking in the heat of campaign as they do what they have to do to win and generally they’re doing it without being fully informed about the impacts. It puts an opponent who says I’ll do the best I can to hold taxes down (but doesn’t go as far in a promise) in a more challenging position. We’ve seen that discussion on some of the blogs a lot lately.

    As for the issue with the deputies, I see no problem with using the democratic process of letting the people decide by a poular vote. If they don’t want to give them rights to resolve a colletive bargaining agreement when the parties haven’t been able to reach settlement, they’ll turn it down, whether it is because of cost or whatever. I’m just fine with the inclusive approch to letting a large number of people decide. In fact, I trust that large decision making process far more than have a small number of people, with a range of coused interests, decide.

    This also has me thinking about what will happen if power is even more centralized in Cecil County with charter government. But that’ll be an issue all of us will deal with in the months ahead.

    Right now the Commissioners and the delegation are capable of making more than enough noise to keep the voters thoroughly distracted as they try to sort through the facts.

    If the Board of Commissioners wants to be transparent why not do as much business as possible in front of the people.

  3. The commissioners hide from the public to oppose the deputies and to grab more taxes. About what I expect from the county. Why hide behind a door. Let us see what you do. That is not right

  4. McGruff: Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    I don’t think they were hiding behind closed doors to grab more taxes. I suspect they were just reacting to important governmental challenges, and they weren’t thinking clearly about what that would do to public perceptions and how it might shift the attempt to solve problems from a practical standpoint.

    From the commissioners standpoint, it just adds more confusion to a tangle that’s mixed up enough and now they have an added issue along with other real ones. From the public standpoint, it makes people suspicious, which you’ve noted clearly in your message.

    For those trying to sort through the noise and evaluate the underlying issues, it makes it hard for us to get to the facts.

    Whatever the case and whatever the purpose, we’re big supporters of open government. The more govt that takes place in front people the better for everyone.

    That’s one of the things we like about the Kent County News. They always challenge co govt down there when they close the doors and thus it helps create a balance, for the commissioners know that media will challenge the decision. It causes them to make better decisions so that when they close doors the justification is solid. Here we don’t have too many challenges so it is something that doesn’t come up that much and thus lawyers, staff and the political leadreship aren’t as sensitive to the issue as they might be.

  5. Yeah like out county commissioners would negotiate in good faith. Got to have some way to make them settle Otherwise they will do what they always do stall and prevent everytning from getting straightened out.

  6. Moe:

    I see the commissioners favor allowing the deputies to have collective bargaining. But the point you make about how they would settle the differences if good-faith bargaining failed to produce results, is a valid one, from our standpoint. We have a long record in this county of being unable to compromise on issues, in order to reach settlement. Now there’s plenty of blame to go around for that fact, but it’s a fact. So given our recent record with these types of things, what would happen when the predictable occurs, the two parties aren’t able to reach a settlement. That’s where binding arbitration comes in. Both parties would know that they’ve got to work hard to settle the matter, otherwise it’s going to be handed over to a neutral party who will consider a range of facts and force a compromise for both sides. In collective bargaining this neutral party will look at the full range of things, including the ability of the county to meet the demand and then make a decision.

    If we all favor collective bargaining, as has been stated, we have to have some method to force the parties to reach settlement. Otherwise way give it to them.

    More than that, we’re gong to let the voters decide. I’m always in favor of the democratic process, the people who pay for levy to support government will decide.

    It’s sort of like the New England town meeting where everyone comes together to decide. The larger the body deciding the better.

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