The Washington Post take a deeper look at Montgomery County, MD and Fairfax County, VA — two counties separated by a few miles geographically but are light years away from each other with regards to the power state and county workers unions have over policy. It’s no surprise that Montgomery County — with is powerful union bosses is broke and Fairfax County has a balanced budget.
It’s worth a read but the difference can be boiled down to a few sentences:
“As revenue dipped two years ago, Fairfax officials froze all salaries for county government and school employees with little ado. By contrast, Montgomery leaders were badly equipped to cope with recession. County Executive Isiah Leggett took office proposing fat budgets and negotiating openhanded union deals after he succeeded Mr. Duncan. Then, as economic storm clouds gathered, he shifted gears and cut spending — while still trying to appease the unions.”