Delmar Police Officers ask town leaders not to take away their right to collectively bargain

DELMAR, Md. – Delmar residents flooded a Town Hall meeting on Monday night to express concerns about the town’s plans to revoke the right of police officers to collectively bargain.

Collective bargaining is where employees can get together and negotiate things like wages and benefits with their employers.

At the end of January, town leaders presented a resolution to prevent the Delmar Police Department from doing this.

Delmar Mayor Karen Wells said, “We decided to protect the taxpayers by coming up with a resolution in that manner.”

The Delmar Police Department first got the right to collectively bargain at the end of the 2000’s, but the problem is their collective bargaining agreement is supported by the State of Maryland, but not by the State of Delaware.

Mayor Wells explained, “They didn’t want to take how the residents tax dollars are spent out of their hands and into a third party’s hands.”

Since Delaware is still not on board, if the police department tries to collectively bargain, which they recently did, the responsibility would fall on the shoulders of Maryland taxpayers, according to the town.

Mayor Wells said, “Maryland tax payers can’t afford to take on 100% of that burden.”

Under the town’s Unification Agreement, Delmar’s Maryland residents pay 60% of taxes and Delmar’s Delaware residents pay 40%.

To make it so Maryland tax payers wouldn’t have to take on 100% of the burden, police say whatever they ask for, whether it be a raise or more vacation time, they would ask for 60% of it instead of 100%.

Lt. Alexander said, “We’re going to take care of the tax payers as well as ourselves.”

The Mayor of Delmar claims this would not be legally feasible.

The reason all of this came up is because a significant portion of Delmar’s police force is set to retire in the next seven years.

They say the starting wage at their department is too low, so they want to be able to ask for more money so they can attract more candidates because as it stands right now, police officers are much more likely to go work for other towns and cities where the salary and benefits are higher.

Right now, the Delmar Police Department has until February 23rd to create a petition and get 20% of registered voters to sign it, to prevent this resolution from passing.

If they don’t get those signatures, the resolution will pass 10 days after February 23rd.

Categories: Delaware, Local News