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As Long as We Remember...

July 19, 2011

Selfish, Dumb FOP

Roy Meachum

Frederick’s Fraternal Order of Police brought out their big guns for a press conference. In fighting for public support for their raises by any name – a step increase, in this case – they blasted City Hall for not increasing the property tax.


Already earning an estimated $20,000 more than their fellow municipal employees on average, the cops want to penalize every home owner, including older people on fixed incomes. Families pedaling very hard to hang on to their cherished houses – together with children – might be thrown in the street.


The union’s attitude reminds me of Marie Antoinette’s. When informed that ordinary citizens could not afford bread, the later-guillotined French queen responded “Let them eat cake.”


The cop-on-the-beat’s tough and dangerous life I understood before I moved here some 28 years, as a Washington street reporter. In a drawer on North Market Street lies a Frederick Police sweatshirt; then-FOP President Pat O’Brien awarded me the emblazoned shirt for my columns’ support when ex-Mayor Paul Gordon attempted to bust the union. Knowing Pat well, I’m sure members’ dues paid for the gift.


But that was in the time when many officers relied on food stamps to feed their families, as the retired cop activist reminded in a Frederick News-Post-published Letter to the Editor. Unlike Friday’s news conference he did not single out Mayor Randy McClement; his remarks about the aldermen board’s President Pro Tem Karen Young were both snide and cruel. The letter obviously continued his feud against her husband; former mayor Ron Young is now comfortably ensconced in Maryland’s State Senate. Standing on her very capable feet, Alderman Young gave more than she got in Sunday’s newspaper, one week after the gratuitous attack.


Despite evidence to the contrary, Friday’s FOP news briefing singled out the mayor for blame. The union unwittingly – and stupidly – contributed to Randy McClement’s re-election in a major way. The same tide will also float into office, fellow Republican Alderman Shelley Aloi. Far ahead, Democrat Karen Young is assured of a sweep in her favor.


On my part, I’m astonished the union I fought so forcefully for could be so arrogant and stupid. To blame City Hall for failing to impose a tax increase is at least impolitic, especially when the FOP previously announced they hoped to rally public support for the increased pay for the police department. Their press conference spelled out details that should have been ignored by paper readers – deservedly.


Pat O’Brien’s personally vilifying Karen Young was contemptible; he owes her an apology in writing any way. Knowing the man I cannot possibly imagine that the ex-FOP president can be so gracious to deliver to her face “Sorry.” That’s not his style.


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