Baltimore Cops Get $200 Hazard Pay, Then Get Told They'll Lose Thousands In Pay
Baltimore, MD – The president of the union that represents Baltimore City police officers blasted the city for asking officers to take a financial hit to make up part of the $11 million shortfall in city’s 2021 budget.
“I’m furious and disgusted with the Mayor and his administration for asking our members to shoulder the burden of this crisis both physically, and now financially,” Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President Michael Mancuso wrote in the letter to his membership, a copy of which was obtained by Blue Lives Matter.
“As of today, we have had 350 members who have been quarantined, 63 who are awaiting test results, and 19 who have tested positive for COVID-19. According to all projections, this is just the beginning of what could be a devastating couple of weeks for our area,” Mancuso said.
The union boss explained in the letter that city had given the FOP three options to choose from, all of which would have a “negative and drastic impact” on officers.
The first option, according to the letter, was to freeze all salaries at their 2020 rates.
Another option would be for officers to be furloughed for 4, 5, or 6 days, but with a catch.
Because police officers are considered “essential employees,” they would still have to work those days, just not be paid for them, Mancuso explained in the letter.
The final option eliminated the pay freeze and furloughs but instead resulted in the layoff of 173 full-time employees of the Baltimore Police Department (BPD).
Mancuso said the people laid off would be “non-essential employees currently on permission leave along with specialized public safety functions such as BPD’s Mounted Unit, Marine Unit, and Traffic Units,” in violation of the clearly-defined layoff procedure agreed to by the department and the union.
In other words, officers can choose to take a personal financial hit or put 173 of their friends and colleagues out of work.
Two weeks ago, Baltimore City lawmakers gave themselves a big pat on the back after they voted to give a $200/pay bonus as hazard pay as appreciation for the dangers the officers were facing, Mancuso pointed out in the letter.
The city’s request would recoup that money and more in order to make up a financial shortfall that has nothing to do with police, he said.
“We are on the front lines of this pandemic each and every day,” Mancuso told his members. “Our officers continue to sacrifice their own well-being and the well-being of their loved ones in the face of this crisis. Now we are being asked to sacrifice even more while we continue to put on our uniforms and place ourselves on the front lines of this pandemic for the citizens of Baltimore.”
“While [police officers] have courageously answered their call to duty, the City has chosen to allow thousands of its workers to stay home or continue to work from the safety of their homes while being fully compensated,” the union boss pointed out.
He called it poor leadership on the part of Baltimore Mayor Jack Young to even discuss furloughs and layoffs of police officers at a time when the police department is already down by more than 500 police officers.
Mancuso said the FOP would not participate in the negotiation with the city, and would not recommend its membership choose any of the posited options.
He promised to “fight any effort to force our members to sacrifice anything more than you already have been required to do.”