Frederick County Council makes a revision to County Code/Charter

I-270

FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — In a 6 to 1 vote, the Frederick County council voted to pass the revision to the Frederick County Code to comply with Charter section 705(b).

This revision adds working conditions and binding arbitration to collective bargaining for Fire Service Employees. But the IAFF Firefighters union is not happy about it.

“I’m really disappointed that the council took the steps that they did,” said Jeffery Buddle “It’s really inconsistent with what is case law and what is the law of the land here in Maryland.”

Members of the Career Firefighters Association of Frederick County have shown up week after week, in hopes of getting their message across and changing the language in the charter.

Over 70% of voters, voted in favor of Question D, so now rescue personal want to know, why the county isn’t enacting the will of the voters.

A lot of confusion comes over what Question D actually means. Councilmember Kai Hagen, who held the lone opposing votes says he doesn’t agree with everything in this new amendment.

“The intent and spirit of this is clear, and it seems like we’ve gone out of our way to find a way to make an interpretation contrary to what has been clearly upheld in the courts,” said Hagen.

The councilman offered up three amendments of his own, but they were rejected.

Councilmember Jessica Fitzwater, who was tasked with amending the charter and is apart of a union herself, says this bill does, in fact, hold up the language of the charter agreement.

“To say that this bill denies our firefighters a seat at the table or a professional voice in their safety is just not accurate when you look at what the bill does,” said Fitzwater.

Members of the council say they do not deserve to vilified, as they care deeply about first responders, it’s just hard being stuck between two court opinions.

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