Hagerstown Police: "Breakdown" in Contract Negotiations

Hagerstown Police: "Breakdown" in Contract Negotiations

"A contract is a big deal for us," said the union vice president Jesse Duffey.
HAGERSTOWN, MD - Hagerstown police officers protect our city everyday, but on Tuesday they added another duty to their list.

They stepped inside the City Council Chambers to also show support for their union, amidst contract negotiations with the City.

"A contract is a big deal for us," said the union vice president Jesse Duffey.

This topic wasn't on the agenda, but it's a pressing matter for Hagerstown police officers. Their contracts expire at the end of the year. Officers hope the city will give them some more time.

Duffey who is also a detective at the Hagerstown Police Department said, "There's been somewhat of a breakdown in negotiations, and we're merely asking for another three month extension into 2014."

But the union says they feel discouraged after hearing a recent rumor.

"A rumor that the contract won't be extended and that the police and fire union could possibly be working without a contract," said Duffey.

And that rumor was followed by a private executive session where many expected the council to discuss the matter.

We spoke with Councilman Lewis Metzner before the meeting, who said taxes will have to be raised in order to meet the pay demands.

"The police have consistently wanted from day one to just act like the four years of bad economics are all resolved and we can make them all whole like they never happened and that's not possible," said Metzner.

Police officers haven't been paid step increases the last five years. They hope through negotiations they'll get what they were originally promised.

They also say it's a job that's more then just a paycheck, a duty to protect the city around the clock.

"Guys are continually being held past the 12 hours," says Duffey. "Eighteen, 16 sometimes 24 hours and they don't complain. They do it, and it's for the citizens and public safety in Hagerstown."

Firefighters are also currently negotiating their contracts with the City.
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