City police union expels leader

Board ousts Roussey from organization

he denies violating laws, vows to seek legal action

February 15, 2006|By GUS G. SENTEMENTES | GUS G. SENTEMENTES,SUN REPORTER

Lloyd Fox [Sun photographer] The Baltimore police union's board of directors voted to remove and expel its president after finding he "acted inappropriately and outside the scope of his authority to the extreme detriment of the organization," the labor organization said yesterday.

The decision came after months of acrimony between Lt. Frederick V. Roussey and the board, which filed internal administrative charges last month. Roussey, who was elected in November 2004, was removed from office late Monday night by a 25-to-2 vote and then expelled in another vote, 22 to 5, the union statement said.

"Nobody wanted to do this," said Paul M. Blair Jr., the union's new president. "The charges placed against him accumulated over the 14 months in office. No board ever wants to remove any president of the lodge. It just reached a point where the board had to act."

The union board cited violations of its bylaws and Maryland corporate law in deciding to remove Roussey.

Roussey, who had been an outspoken critic of the Police Department and Mayor Martin O'Malley, continued yesterday to maintain that he was ousted because he upset the status quo at Baltimore's Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 3. He disputed the charges against him in an affidavit he said he presented to the board, and he said he would seek legal action.

"I still like the FOP. ... I still support the organization," Roussey said in an interview. "I just don't like what was going on in that particular lodge. I have no desire to go back out there. I just want to clear my name. I want an apology from them."

The board's vote to remove a president who was elected by union membership is uncommon. Several longtime members, including Blair, said they thought that one other board member had been forced out in the union's 40-year history.

According to the board's written statement, Roussey appointed 13 members of the board that ultimately voted to remove him. The board had been expected to remove him as president, but went further by expelling him.

Blair said yesterday that board members could not vote on individual charges but that bylaws required them to vote on "the whole package" of accusations.

With Roussey's removal, Blair, a 37-year veteran, rose from first vice president to president, a full-time assignment in a union that represents about 4,800 active and retired officers. Blair is a detective lieutenant who previously headed the vice unit in the department's organized crime division. Roussey has been assigned by the Police Department as a liaison to the Juvenile Justice Center.

The union released what it called a "non-exhaustive list of [Roussey's] offensive behavior," which included "openly defying" the board by starting a Web site that allowed FOP members to make anonymous posts and criticize union members and leadership, "flagrantly refusing" to conduct orderly membership meetings and "defying the rules for participation."

Other allegations included refusing to follow proper procedures for proposing bylaw changes, "attempting to demolish democratic practices of Lodge #3 in order to impose autocratic rule" and "degrading" members and officers of the union. He also was charged with "falsely claiming" to members that the board had voted against an internal audit of its finances and "openly advocating the overthrow of the Fraternal Order of Police" as the bargaining representative for city police officers.

The union said that Roussey has the right to an administrative appeal to the state FOP lodge and the grand lodge at the national level.

Roussey said he believes he was expelled from the union because board members wanted to ensure that he will not be voted back in as president. Blair said that the board believed - after finding that Roussey violated internal rules - that he "deserved to lose the privilege of being an FOP member."

The next general membership election for the union's top leadership positions is slated for fall.

gus.sentementes@baltsun.com

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