BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police, the city’s police union, released a response Thursday to an Inspector General Report that found the Baltimore Police Department exceeded its overtime budget by more than $12 million over the last two years.
The statement, signed by President Mike Manusco, said that the report and Commissioner Michael Harrison’s response to the report lays blame on the Union’s Memorandum of Understanding instead of on city policy.READ MORE: Inspector General Report Finds Baltimore Police Department Exceeded Budget By $12M For Overtime
“This equates to stating the MOU allows members to wear blue uniforms,” said Manusco.
In the report released Wednesday, Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming found some management authorized some police department employees to submit and receive payment for both approved personal or vacation leave and overlapping over time. She was unable to determine the exact excess due to the department’s practice of simultaneous payment for paid leave and overtime hours.
“Although this practice is permitted and does violate any city policy, it could be perceived as wasteful,” she wrote in the report.
Labor Commissioner Deborah Moore-Carter said the practice has been permitted for years and changing it would require negotiation with the Fraternal Order of Police, according to the report. The department is negotiating with the FOP for successor memoranda of understanding, including reforming this practice and others, the report stated.
Manusco said the memorandum does not make any reference to members working overtime or paid time off, and that the “double-dipping” is solely a BPD and City issue.
Manusco said Commissioner Harrison’s response to the report was an attempt to “deflect the failures of his leadership.” Because no BPD employee can work without a supervisor’s approval, Manusco said Harrison is either ignorant of current policy or was intentionally misleading the Office of the Inspector General.
The statement also alleged that the report was an attempt to disrupt labor contract negotiations between the FOP and Baltimore City.
“The timing of this report is of no surprise to anyone else in the FOP,” said the statement. “Just like the 10-hour shift schedule that was desired by the City in 2016 and then quickly became the boogie man issue as to why the crime fight was faltering, the BPD continually tries to pin its self-created failings on the FOP.”READ MORE: Baltimore FOP On Violence: City Is Short 500 Officers, Blames Police Leadership
Manusco then called back to an earlier statement in December 2020, that BPD is short 500 officers.
“As always, the rank and file of the BPD will bear the brunt of the backlash from this report,” the statement said. “The real issue is the City and Command Staff have no plan to address the recruitment and retention issues.”
FOP #3 Response to OIG Report pic.twitter.com/JTkwu6N9Qa
— Baltimore City FOP (@FOP3) July 8, 2021