County files motion for reconsideration of court’s decision
By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun
7:16 PM EDT, September 20, 2013
The Baltimore County police union is asking a judge to hold in contempt County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and his budget director, arguing that the county has not complied with an order to return money to hundreds of retirees who overpaid health care premiums.
The petition comes more than a month after a Baltimore County circuit judge ordered the repayment of nearly $573,000, plus interest, to more than 400 retirees. The payment was supposed to have been issued within 20 days, but the county is challenging the decision and has not paid.
“The only conclusion to be drawn is that the County and its officials … have and will continue to ignore and disregard the orders of the Maryland courts,” the Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 4 wrote in the petition filed Friday.
County spokeswoman Ellen Kobler said the county is within its legal rights.
“The county is not willfully ignoring the decision of the court,” she said. “We have filed a well-reasoned motion for reconsideration of the judgment in question.”
The dispute stems from an arbitration decision in 2008, when an arbitrator sided with the union and said the county had violated a memorandum of understanding when it shifted more health care costs to police officers who had retired between 1992 and 2007.
County officials said the shift was negotiated by the county’s health care review committee, and that by challenging it, the FOP reneged on an agreement made by its own representative, officials said.
The county also said the courts do not have authority to require the payment, that only the County Council can appropriate the money.
After two unsuccessful appeals, Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Michael J. Finifter ordered the county to refund retirees in August.
Baltimore Sun reporter Alison Knezevich contributed to this article.