Votes for police union leader being counted

Three men running for president

4,900 ballots were mailed out to eligible voters

September 26, 2006|By Nicole Fuller | Nicole Fuller,sun reporter

Ballots were being tallied last night after members of the union representing Baltimore police officers voted to choose a president.

Paul M. Blair Jr., president of the city's Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, was challenged by Officers Scott Ripley and Dave Miller.

At its headquarters in Hampden, union officials began counting ballots cast by current and retired police officers in the afternoon and had not announced a result by late last night.

FOR THE RECORD - Articles in the Maryland section yesterday and Tuesday incorrectly described internal complaints about finances that were lodged against Lt. Frederick V. Roussey, who was ousted from the Baltimore police union in February. He was accused of falsely claiming to members that the union had voted against an internal audit. Roussey has denied the allegation.
The Sun regrets the errors.

The election follows the ouster in February of Lt. Frederick V. Roussey as union president after he was dogged by allegations of financial mismanagement and by public comments he made criticizing the Police Department and Mayor Martin O'Malley.

Cautiously optimistic

Blair, who as vice president voted to remove Roussey and expel him from the union, is a 37-year veteran and detective lieutenant who previously headed the vice unit in the department's organized-crime division.

He was cautiously optimistic as he awaited a final accounting last night.

"I'm numb," Blair said. "I'm tired. It's been a long day. I don't try to predict. Police are funny, you know. Everybody says when they talk to you, they voted for you."

"There's plenty of issues to tackle, but I'll save all those issues until the voters say I'm the president," Blair added.

Renegotiation

Ripley, an 18-year-veteran assigned to the Southeastern District, said the election comes at a crucial time for officers, as a contract renegotiation is set to begin in January.

"I'm a police officer who works the streets, and I have a pulse of the officers that work the streets," Ripley said. "I'm in the trenches. I believe I'm a strong leader."

Miller, assigned to the Northeastern District, could not be reached last night.

Ballots were mailed to the nearly 4,900 eligible voters in late August.

Other offices contested on the ballot were third vice president, secretary, state trustee, commission of trustees and treasurer.

nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

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