Montgomery County might be willing to make a special exception and allow the Fraternal Order of Police to put signs against Question B on RideOn buses, but police say the decision came too late.
“They’re going to bureaucratically keep us off the bus,” Marc Zifcak said Wednesday during a press conference.
Zifcak, immediate past president of FOP Lodge 35, said the union was told by the contractor who handles the bus advertising, Direct Media USA, that it will take 14 days to get their ad on buses.
The Nov. 6 election is 13 days away. Question B, which will appear on the ballot, asks voters if they want a bill, passed in 2011 by the Montgomery County Council, to become law and eliminate the current way police bargain the effects of management decisions.
“It takes 14 days to get these ads in so effectively we’ve still been shut out,” he said.
As of Wednesday, Zifcak said the contractor told the FOP it had not been made aware that the county had made a special exception for the union’s signs.
FOP reached out to the American Civil Liberties Union after it was denied the ability to run ads on Montgomery County’s RideOn buses.
The county has ads on the buses encouraging voters to support Question B.
The ACLU challenged the county, saying that denying the FOP the right to run a political ad when the county was already running political ads on the same issue was viewpoint discrimination and violated the constitution.
Leggett decided to allow the FOP to run ads on the buses, said county spokesman Patrick Lacefield, who directs the Office of Public Information, the office in charge of the county’s efforts to sway voters to vote “yes” on Question B and repeal the current way police bargain the effects of management decisions.
Lacefield said it takes about two weeks but possibly as long as three weeks to get an ad on the bus.
Lanny Davis, the FOP’s attorney, said union members would be stopping by Leggett’s house Wednesday to hand-deliver signs and encourage the executive to bypass the bureaucracy, act in good faith and have the signs put on the buses now.
With state ballot questions dominating the media, Zifcak said the FOP and Question B are relegated to bus backs.
Only adding to the challenge of getting their message across is the County Council’s phrasing of Question B, he said.
FOP is encouraging voters to vote “against” Question B and keep things the way they have been for the last 30 years, saying that a vote “against” Question B is a vote for police and their families.
Voting “for” Question B would allow the bill to become law and eliminate the FOP’s effects bargaining process.