The Reign of Error
It is a matter of common knowledge to many readers that this writer was as against binding arbitration for the firefighter’s union as one could be. The Question D 2018 Charter Amendment from the Career Firefighters Union Local 3666 was cloaked in the flowering light of "support public safety." The true intent was much more underhanded to the taxpayers of Frederick County.
The shear dishonesty associated with the union's clever (I'll give credit where credit is due), sneaky, and completely twisted campaign used to sell Question D to Frederick County voters is now just being realized. Too little and too late for the taxpayers who were swindled into supporting it.
Stephen Jones, president of the Career Firefighters Association of Frederick County Local 3666, made a full court negative press as he attempted to portray those of us who saw his charter amendment for what it was – to be uncaring, heartless, and the voice of a deranged fringe.
Jones' true intentions are now honestly quoted by him for once in the Frederick News-Post. Jones stated that: “It’s having that ability [that] will compel the county and their staff to negotiate because neither one of us want to go to arbitration”
Demanding irresponsible county tax increases on the public is of little concern to a firefighters’ union whose ultimate goal is to take every penny it can from the pockets of Frederick County taxpayers. Such true intentions are no longer able to masquerade as a public safety concern.
The Frederick News-Post articulated in Sunday’s editorial the very points that this writer attempted to describe months previously on TheTentacle.com.
"Question D was sold to the voters as a chance to support firefighters, a politically popular group in our county. It is doubtful that most voters understood the implications. But the issue is a sword of Damocles hanging over the county now."
Many fiscal-minded conservatives (mostly Republicans) who were openly opposed to Question D were vilified privately within Frederick County's Republican inner circles by the latest "go-along-to-get-along" Republican leadership. That same leadership that sat silently as the Frederick County Republican Party disassociated itself from even a position statement mentioning Question D in public.
Many conservatives banded together and tried to warn of the true purpose behind Question D. It was to gain a tool for a union to hold a fiscally-minded county government hostage if it dared to challenge the union’s fiscally irresponsible demands. That purpose is now very present. We can see that clearly.
Perhaps the local Republican Party's self-imposed exile on explaining the details and diminishing nature of Question D in the 2018 election cycle contributed to the recent shock among the rank and file Republican voters and the Frederick News-Post editorial board over the current contract dispute.
Perhaps if more voices had joined together with the bipartisan chorus that attempted to sound the warnings that Question D posed to county fiscal discipline, the amendment might have failed, and the present union contract crisis averted.
The only hope now is for a new charter amendment to be offered by fiscally-minded Frederick County citizens repealing Question D. If anyone in the union scoffs that such a thing is impossible. I'll wager a case of beer that it isn't. Prohibition taught us that any amendment passed can be repealed.
Despite some people’s best efforts, someone outside Frederick County employ will more than likely be making a major budget decision for the taxpayers of Frederick County. It could be that our county executive wants to raise local taxes, and this is the perfect way to cover her and her rubber stamp County Council’s own hands in doing so.
The time has come either way to rise up and end the Career Firefighters Association of Frederick County Local 3666’s would be Reign of Error over Frederick County by repealing Question D before it gets completely out of hand.