Baltimore City firefighters, police, and EMS personnel engage in one of the most dangerous and physically taxing professions in the nation wherein they regularly risk serious physical injury and face life threatening situations in service to the citizens of Baltimore City. Protecting the public servants who suffer serious injury in furtherance of that goal is a critical component in achieving success in the exercising of sound government. The notion that a public servant who suffers serious injury while performing their duties can be denied disability pension benefits is repugnant and goes against all standards of logical reasoning. Instead, the City of Baltimore has a history of purposely and willfully denying firefighters, whose actions reflect immense credit on the Mayor, the City Council, and the Chief of Fire Department, of those benefits by subjecting them to a process that determines the eligibility of those benefits that is arbitrary and capricious in and of itself.

Timely and responsibly meeting the medical and basic living expenses of firefighters who are determined to be disabled after being injured in the Line of Duty, is not just a legal obligation but a moral one. An injury, such as the one that I suffered, should not result in medical conditions worsened by delay and denial of necessary benefits, nor should it leave a firefighter, or their family, financially destitute and emotionally battered. Those entrusted with maintaining the medical files related to injuries suffered in the performance of a firefighter's duties have a clear responsibility to do so, as provided for in the Baltimore City Code. In no way should the failure of officials within the City of Baltimore to properly maintain and submit the complete medical files of injured members to investigatory authorities create obstacles bound to worsen the physical and financial conditions of members of the department who have suffered debilitating injuries. Instead of carrying out these duties consistent with their legal and moral obligations, the Office of the Baltimore City Solicitor, legal counsel for the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, routinely and improperly chooses to forward legally inconsistent arguments, withholds relevant evidence that they have in their possession, and fabricates evidence that they don't have to unlawfully obtain a ruling from the courts that is favorable to them. The lack of responsible oversight allows the Baltimore City Solicitor’s long-standing pattern and practice of disability discrimination to continue at their will.
In Hearing Before the House
Appropriations Committee
March 6, 2018
Text of House Bill 971