Local 3666 members available for interview
COUNTY-FUNDED STUDY SITS FOR SIX MONTHS AS FIRE FIGHTERS AND PARAMEDICS WAIT ON IMPROVEMENTS IN WORKING CONDITIONS
November’s voter-approved ordinance to improve public safety has failed to be implemented
(March 18, 2019 - Frederick, MD) – A county-funded study that has sat idle for six months is now available, illustrating the need for immediate changes in Frederick County’s level of funding for career fire and rescue services.
The withheld study clearly demonstrates that Frederick County is behind other fire and rescue departments in the region regarding wages, retirement programs, and retiree healthcare.
It also validates the need for the adoption of “Question D”, a voter-approved ordinance passed overwhelmingly by voters in November 2018 that strengthened collective bargaining rights for firefighters regarding safety, wages, benefits, and working conditions by providing binding interest arbitration to settle labor disputes.
Frederick County currently has a collective bargaining ordinance that it is strictly limited to wages and benefits. While virtually all counties in Maryland with career fire departments have established collective bargaining rights that include binding interest arbitration, Frederick County does not. A ballot measure in the November 2018 election addressed this issue (see below), but the County has been slow to implement the will of the people.
“With this study we see the impact of not having a voice at the table,” said Stephen Jones, President of Local 3666. “It is time for Frederick to follow the instructions of voters, implement Question D, and keep public safety in our community on par with similar communities in the region.”
He continued, “It has been almost six-months since voters spoke up in favor of public safety in Frederick County. This study affirms that action is needed to improve things in this County before we lose firefighters to other departments in the region.”
Although the study has been available for some months, Local 3666, after waiting for County government to publish the study for public review, has now taken action to make this document available.
About “Question D”: 2018 Ballot Question
In June 2018 members of Local 3666 started to process of collecting petition signatures to place this Charter Amendment on the 2018 General Election Ballot and let the voters of Frederick County decide if fire fighters should have a voice in public safety. To place this measure on the ballot, members were required to gather 10,000 valid signatures of registered voters in Frederick County. In August 2018 members turned in over 20,000 Petition Signatures. Later that month Local 3666 was notified by the Frederick County Election board that they had met the requirements to place the measure on the ballot by collecting over 13,500 valid signatures and would be on the November 6th General Election Ballot.
With 72,617 “FOR” votes, the Question D Ballot Measure was overwhelmingly supported on Election Day with 72.7% of Frederick County Voters supporting the measure. Question D garnered more support than every other contest and measure on the Frederick County ballot with the exception of The State’s Attorney's Race and Statewide Ballot Measure for Question 1.
Question D’s passage requires the Frederick County Council to provide by ordinance Collective Bargaining for Fire Fighters regarding Wages, Benefits, Working Conditions and other terms of employment and provide for Binding Interest Arbitration by an Neutral Arbitrator to settle labor disputes. As of March 2019 the County Council has taken no action on this measure.
About Frederick County Local 3666
The Career Firefighters Association of Frederick County Maryland was chartered by the International Association of Firefighters in 1995 and currently represents over 400 men and women employed with the Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue. The members of local 3666 respond to over 50,000 calls annually protecting approx 667 square miles and serving more than 250,000 citizens. The current collective bargaining law was implemented in 2006.
Professional firefighters and paramedics in Frederick County provide coverage at 23 of Frederick Counties 29 Fire/Rescue stations. Local 3666 members staff fire and EMS units providing fire and rescue services as well as both basic and advanced life support services. In addition to these services are members staff several support services that provide training and education (Frederick County Training Center), communications (9-1-1 Center), fire investigations and inspections (Fire Marshal's Office).
This association is dedicated to ensuring members are provided with all the tools they require to ensure the citizens and visitors of Frederick County receive the highest level of emergency medical service and transportation, fire protection, hazardous material mitigation and technical rescue services. Like many metropolitan jurisdictions throughout the country, Frederick County established a paid fire department to meet the growing needs of the community. Today, most 9-1-1 calls in Frederick County are answered by career firefighters and paramedics employed by the Department of Fire and Rescue Services (DFRS).