Fraternal Order of Police v. Montgomery CountyAnnotate this Case
The complaint in this case was brought both individually and as a class action. Plaintiffs, a police union and others, asserted that Montgomery County, a charter county, was not authorized to use its fiscal and human resources to urge approval of a law enacted by the County Council that limited bargaining rights and that had been petitioned to referendum. The circuit court concluded that the government speech doctrine does not constitute an affirmative authority for government to advocate and spend money on political campaigns. The Court of Special Appeals, however, concluded that the County had inherent power to use properly appropriated funds for a governmental purpose and that advocacy on the non-partisan ballot measure was a governmental purpose. The Court of Appeals agreed, holding that a charter county is authorized to use its resources to encourage the electorate of the County to support or opposed a measure that may have a significant impact on the operations of the County government.