Prince George's County Executive Lawrence J. Hogan's labor troubles mounted yesterday when two county unions initiated separate actions against him.
The county's politically-powerful Fraternal Order of Police, which represents 800 police officers, filed an unfair labor practice charge accusing Hogan of bad-faith bargaining in ongoing contract negotiations.
Earlier yesterday, the union that represents 600 Prince George's health and social services employes filed suit against Hogan for failing to pay them salary supplements that were adopted in the county's current budget.
Leaders of both unions accused Hogan of ignoring the needs of county employes, to the detriment of county services, in order to save a few dollars.
FOP President Laney Hester, whose negotiations with the county fell apart several weeks ago, said Hogan and his negotiators violated ground rules set up months ago by the two sides.
"We've never filed an unfair labor practice charge againist the county before. It's unfortunate that Mr. Hogan finds himself again unable to adhere to county labor laws," Hester said. "Apparently Mr. Hogan wants a war and we've been there before."
Hogan's labor negotiator Allen G. Siegel said yesterday negotiations with the FOP had resumed recently with a mediator and he thought they had been going well. "This is a stab in the back," Siegel said. "It creates an atmosphere that is not conducive to peaceful resolution."
Leaders of the local Maryland Classified Employees Association, which represents nurses, social workers and disease control specialists among others, charged yesterday that Hogan's "anti-employe fervor has gone too far," and accused the executive of trying to "curry favor with the taxpayers by showing his fiscal toughness at the employes' expense."
Hogan minimized the dispute with MCEA and said "political embarrassment (by union leaders) is not going to make me abandon the taxpayers." Hogan said health and social services employes are technically state employes because they receive salaries from the state and therefore should turn to the state government, rather than the county, to supplement their pay.
County officials have maintained for several years that the state must be responsible for increasing state employes' salaries to make them competitive in the Washington area and the county should not be forced to subsidize wages.
In 1973 former county executive William Gullett also refused to release money included in the county budget for the employes' salary supplements and MCEA filed suit. That suit was dropped when a new county executive took office and immediately approved payment of the supplements.
This year, Hogan included no money in his proposed budget for salary supplements but the County Council added $352,000 to the final budget for the additional wages. It is this amount that Hogan has refused to release, leading to the new MCEA suit.
Hogan said that according to the county attorney, the county council lacked authority to add that money to his proposed budget.