Update on the Retiree Health Care Subsidy Case

June 3, 2014

To the membership,

As you know, over the past few months, there have been numerous developments in the Retiree Health Care Subsidy case.  In particular, in November of last year, the Circuit Court ordered the County to reset the subsidy rates to what they were when officers retired.  This spring, the Court entered an additional order requiring the County to pay approximately $1.6 million in damages.  The County refused to take either action. 

As a result, the FOP filed a petition to hold the County, Kevin Kamenetz, Keith Dorsey, and Fred Homan in contempt for their refusal to comply with the Court’s orders.  In response, on April 14, 2014, the Baltimore County Circuit Court issued a Show Cause Order, requiring Baltimore County, Kevin Kamenetz, Keith Dorsey, and Fred Homan to each appear before the court on June 26, 2014 for a hearing to determine why the Court should not hold each in contempt and/or impose sanctions, including incarceration, for their refusal to comply with the court’s orders.

Baltimore County filed a motion, asking the judge to dismiss the individuals, Kevin Kamenetz, Keith Dorsey, and Fred Homan from the contempt hearing.  The FOP opposed that motion, and on May 28, 2014 the court denied the motion and required the County and the three individuals to appear on June 26, 2014.

On May 30, 2014 Baltimore County filed a Certificate of Compliance with the relevant orders. 

First, the County notified the Court that, as of May 30, 2014, the health care subsidy rates for the FOP retirees were reset for each affected retiree to those rates in place at the time of his or her retirement. *This will appear in the June 2014 retirement payment. 

Second, Baltimore County issued a check in the amount of One Million Six Hundred Ninety-Six Thousand Four Hundred Three Dollars and Ninety-Eight Cents ($1,696,403.98) made payable to the Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 4. *This check was received and deposited in a separate bank account, solely established for the purpose of holding these funds until the time they are disbursed to the retirees.

These actions are significant because they represent the County’s attempt to fully comply with the Court’s prior orders.      

The FOP is in the process of reviewing the calculations for the payment to ensure that the County has paid everything that is required.  The FOP has until June 12, 2014 to inform the Court of whether there remains any aspects of the Court’s orders that remain outstanding.  If discrepancies are found, the FOP will attempt to work with the administration to address them.  If that does not happen, the FOP will address their concerns with the court on or before June 12, 2014.

If both the FOP and Baltimore County are in agreement with the calculations we would agree that the petition for contempt hearing should be dismissed. If we do not agree then the FOP would petition the court to keep the petition for contempt hearing scheduled for June 26, 2014.

As of this writing, the County has promised to get us the information necessary to review their calculations as soon as possible.  We will update you again once we have received this information.

There is one last piece we want to address.  While the County has made the payment, the County has not dropped its appeals of the Court’s orders requiring them to reset the subsidy rates and pay damages.  Accordingly, those two orders are still subject to review by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals and potentially the Maryland Court of Appeals.  Because it remains possible that the County will prevail in these appeals, the FOP is not able to distribute the reimbursement for over charged health care subsidies until the appeals have been exhausted or withdrawn.   

The FOP does not think these appeals have merit and that the November 19, 2012 decision by the Maryland Court of Appeals should have signified an end to this case.  We will continue to communicate that to the Executive and other elected officials in an attempt to stop this waste of tax payer dollars and bring this case to an end.  

Fraternally,

Cole Weston
President, FOP Lodge #4

 

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