Maryland Firefighters Sue Over Referendum on Binding Arbitration

A firefighters’ union in Maryland is suing a mayor and city council claiming they are illegally refusing to hold a referendum vote on a city charter change that would allow for binding arbitration.

Hagerstown Firefighters IAFF Local 1605 joined by Hagerstown police officers represented by American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council (AFSCME) Local 3373, have filed suit to forced the Mayor and City Council of Hagerstown to schedule a referendum vote on a city charter amendment that would grant binding arbitration to firefighters and police.

According to WHAG news, the suit accuses Mayor David Gysberts and the City Council of ignoring a 12,000 voter petition to hold the referendum. The unions seek a court order mandating that the issue be sent to the voters.

The firefighters and the city have in the past discussed binding arbitration but have been unable to reach and agreement.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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