BALTIMORE, MD – Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan blamed the state’s largest employee’s union for not being able to remove corrections employees who face charges that range from driving under the influence to assault.
The governor said the union has prevented the state from being able to remove “these bad actors.”
Union officials said the governor doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It’s not the union contract but rather state law that is keeping many of those criminally charged from getting quickly fired.
Since 2013, more than 200 Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services employees have been charged with crimes that include DUI, assault and having sexual relations with an inmate, yet they remain on the job.
Hogan told WBAL NewsRadio 1090 AM C-4 program that the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is to blame.
“The AFSCME union laws prohibited the secretary from removing these bad actors out of the department,” Hogan said.
AFSCME Maryland President Patrick Moran said the union contract Standards of Conduct allows the agency secretary to discipline and fire those who have been charged with a crime.
“Gov. Hogan is guilty of misrepresenting our union contract,” Moran said. “The reality is if you bring disrepute or a bad reputation so to speak to the department, then you can be held accountable for that.”
Corrections officials point to state law, not the union contract, as the reason for slowing down the process. State law imposes a 30-day time limit on disciplining non-uniformed employees and a 90-day limit on disciplining corrections officers, unless they are involved with criminal activity arising from official duties or in the workplace.
“Our contract does not prevent that,” Moran said.
“We now have got an agreement out of AFSCME that they can fire bad actors and people with criminal records,” Hogan said.
Union officials believe the governor is referring to a change in the state law and not the union contract. It happened last year after the conviction of corrections officers tied to Black Guerrilla Family gang activity at the Baltimore City jail.
“If someone is engaged in criminal activity inside one of the facilities, they can be held accountable, as they should be,” Moran said.
State corrections officials said Public Safety Secretary Stephen Moyer is committed to hiring better people and firing lawbreakers faster. They said he has put together a new team to make that happen.