Police union asks lawyer to look into city pension deal

August 08, 2007|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,Sun reporter

Baltimore's police union has authorized its law firm to explore the possibility of suing the city and the Police Department over a former top deputy's pension deal approved this year.

Paul M. Blair Jr., president of Baltimore's Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, said yesterday that the union's board of directors voted to seek clarification on "possible improprieties" involving the pension given to Marcus L. Brown.

"There's a lot of questions, and what they really want is for us to find an answer," said Blair, about concerns he's heard from his union members. He said the board voted Monday night.

Brown, who was the No. 2 official in the Police Department, left after serving for 17 years - three years' short of being eligible for a full pension - after being tapped by Gov. Martin O'Malley to take over as chief of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police.

Then-Commissioner Leonard D. Hamm wrote in a January letter to the pension board that he had laid off Brown, triggering a clause in the contract that enabled him to receive a more lucrative pension. The letter drew a sharp rebuke from the pension board that oversees the police and fire departments' retirement funds, because Brown left the force voluntarily to take a job with the state.

City and Police Department officials have said that Hamm's letter should have been worded differently but that he had the authority to revoke Brown's status as deputy commissioner/

gus.sentementes@baltsun.com

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