Legislators Ask Council To Delay Vote

A county employees union collects the signatures of 27 of 29 legislators who want a delay on a vote on a bill that changes a pension appeal process.

A majority of state legislators who represent the county are asking the Baltimore County Council to delay a vote on a bill that affects how county employees appeal decisions on pensions.

All but two of the county's 29 delegates and senators signed the letter written by representatives of the Baltimore County Federation of Public Employees.

Only Sens. Ed Kasemeyer, a Democrat who represents Catonsville, and Delores Kelley, a Randallstown Democrat, did not sign. Todd Schuler, an attorney for the union said the two were unavailable to meet on Friday when the signatures were collected.

The letter asks the council to delay a vote for at least a month so the county can obtain an opinion from the Office of the Attorney General regarding the legality of the bill.

The bill, requested by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, would move such appeals from the County Council-appointed Board of Appeals to one of two administrative law judges appointed by the executive.

Currently, the seven-member Board of Appeals is responsible for hearing the appeals involving pension benefits and disability claims. The proposed change would move those appeals to a pair of quasi-judicial hearing officers, positions that were created and appointed by Kamenetz shortly after he was sworn-in in 2010.

Union officials oppose the change saying that it is an attempt by the county to change the process because of decisions issued by the Board of Appeals that went against the county.

Don Mohler, a county spokesman, said the goal is to improve efficiency and provide another layer of hearings for employees while at the same time improving the professionalism of the system.

A vote on the bill is scheduled for Tuesday night.

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