OCEAN CITY — Ocean City voters could be heading to a special election on the firefighter-paramedics’ collective bargaining referendum as soon as August after a divided City Council this week could not agree on a timetable for the public’s decision on the issue.
In March, the Career Firefighter Paramedics Association of Ocean City, or IAFF Local 4269, submitted a petition seeking binding interest arbitration after collecting signatures throughout much of the last year. In April, the town’s Board of Elections confirmed the IAFF’s petition met the required number of signatures of 20 percent of the town’s registered voters. With 6,067 registered voters in Ocean City, the union would have needed 1,213 confirmed signatures and the petition submitted came in at 1,414.
The ratified petition presented three options — the town could simply adopt binding arbitration for the IAFF with a charter amendment, the issue could be brought to the town’s electorate in the form of a referendum question in the next municipal election in November 2018 or the town could hold a special election on the referendum question regarding binding arbitration.