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According to a June 17, 2009 article in the Maryland Gazette, the Montgomery County Council agreed on Tuesday to appoint Robert Ames, a partner in Venable's Labor and Employment Practice, to represent the county in negotiations with the county's employee and police unions. Ames will work in place of Sarah Miller, the county's former lead contract negotiator who left the county two months ago for a similar position at Montgomery College.

According to the article, the county begins full negotiations with both unions for the full term of the next contracts, which are usually three years. The police union negotiations will involve compensation issues, including wages, benefits and cost-of-living adjustments. To help balance the county's budget and close a $550 million deficit, all of the county's unions — including the school system's three unions — gave up their cost of living allowances for fiscal year 2010, which begins in July.