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Montgomery Co. Firefighters Protest Outside Leggett's Home

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Firefighters marched Wednesday outside the suburban Maryland home of County Executive Ike Leggett.
Elliott Francis
Firefighters marched Wednesday outside the suburban Maryland home of County Executive Ike Leggett.

The small group of county firefighters is part of local union 1664, the Montgomery County Career Fire Fighters Association. The group was in negotiations to keep flat funding for firefighters in the 2012 budget earlier this year, but those talks broke down. An arbitrator was called in and recommended the flat funding plan, but Leggett disagreed.

Instead he proposed raising the firefighters' out-of-pocket contributions for health and pension benefits.

Jeffery Buttle, vice president of the union, says the Leggett's rejection of the arbitrators recommendations violates collective bargaining law.

"We think that the law is clear, and that he is indeed obligated to submit to the council what was decided in arbitration," Buttle says. "Then the council determines the final course of action."

County spokesperson Patrick Lacefield says the executive is obliged to submit a responsible and balanced budget in spite of the recommendations of the arbitrator.

"When it comes to the arbitrator's decision versus keeping government going, we choose keeping government going," says Lacefield.

It's not clear if executive Leggett was home during the protest.

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