Harford deputies’ union urges legislators to support bill for collective bargaining

Harford Co SO patch

The salary scale for Harford County Sheriff’s Office deputies must be fixed, or the agency will continue to lose experienced personnel to counties with better pay, and have greater difficulty recruiting new deputies, according to union leaders, who are pushing for collective bargaining rights.

“I’m concerned that if this continues on the same course of conduct, I don’t know where the county Sheriff’s Office is going to be in 10 years,” Aaron Penman, vice president of the Harford County Deputy Sheriffs’ Union, told Harford’s state senators and delegates last week, when he and union president Mike Montalvo made their pitch for necessary state enabling legislation.

The union wants collective bargaining with binding arbitration. It started a petition drive for county legislation over the summer, only to abandon it after the union’s lawyer and the Harford County Department of Law agreed such legislation can only come from theMaryland General Assembly because the Sheriff’s Office is legally considered a state constitutional agency.

Penman and Montalvo shared their concerns about a salary scale they described as off-kilter because deputies did not get raises for eight years. They asked legislators to support a collective bargaining bill in the 2017 session of the legislature when it convenes in mid-January.