Binding Arbitration in Debate at Hagerstown City Council Campaign Forum
Tuesday, November, 8, 2016
The recent Hagerstown City Council campaign forum included debate over whether or not police and firefighters should be held to binding arbitration proceedings.
The question relates to the use of binding arbitration to settle disputes related to salary and other contractual issues, is appropriate when it comes to certain public workers. In binding arbitration, a neutral, third-party arbitrator would be given the duty to settle contract disputes. Hagerstown residents will make the final decision in November when they vote.
The recent candidate forum included a question on whether they would raise taxes or cut services, should the binding arbitration resolution become a reality after the election. Candidates were posed the question, but according to some witnesses, a few of the candidates avoided the issue of binding arbitration and the upcoming vote, as well as the tax and budget cut issues that are directly related to the point in question.
Candidates debated whether or not they would raise taxes or lay off public employees. One candidate predicted “… the results of binding arbitration are going to be disastrous for the city of Hagerstown someday.”
Other candidates pointed out that should cuts need to be made, it shouldn’t effect fire and police staff, but instead the city should look to social services. Some went as far as accusing others of manipulating the system and not focusing on the most important services provided by the city.
Whatever voters determine in the November election regarding binding arbitration will be honored by the city council. Some hope that by putting the issue to a vote, much of the fall-out experienced in other areas will be avoided.