Labor Power Grab in Maryland

You know things must be bad in Montgomery County, Maryland, when the Washington Post takes notice of the taxpayer giveaways to the county’s Big Labor bosses.

In an editorial, the Post notices that Isiah Leggett, the county’s executive, has:

. . . negotiated contracts that grant union members far bigger raises than are common in the private sector, plus staggeringly generous new benefits, Mr. Leggett has now bowed to a blatant power grab by the county’s main general employees’ union. In the interest of county taxpayers, who pay the bills for this unaffordable largesse, the County Council should overcome its own history as a pawn of the unions and say no.

Don’t count on Leggett growing a backbone anytime soon.

The stakes in the current dispute seem obscure: whether to change the composition of Montgomery’s Board of Investment Trustees, which manages more than $3 billion in assets for the county’s employee pensions. Three of the board’s 13 current trustees are union representatives (up from one out of nine until 2004); under the proposal now before the County Council, the board would grow to 16 trustees, five of whom would be union representatives.

The Post also notes that:

This is a terrifically bad idea. Retirement plans should be overseen by investment experts, not labor figures whose agendas can be, and often are, political. . . .

For once, it seems like the Washington Post got one right.