Two councils of a Maryland labor union representing thousands of public service workers announced they will merge, beginning in April.

Councils 67 and 3 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, have long aligned against privatization efforts, and will be renamed AFSCME Maryland, serving the interests of nearly 45,000 members.

AFSCME Council 3 President Patrick Moran said that forming an alliance combined “the extensive knowledge, resources, and power the two councils have.” Moran’s council, the largest state employee union, boasts close to 30,000 members who mostly work for state agencies and public universities.

The councils have worked together to elect politicians and form new unions at the Enoch Pratt Free Library and the Baltimore Museum of Art, AFSCME Council 67 President Dale Chase said in a news release.

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“We are looking forward to working with elected leaders across the state as one strong union ready to advocate for what all public service employees in Maryland deserve,” Chase said.

AFSCME Council 67 brought nearly 15,000 county, city and school board members to the alliance.

W. Gregory Wims appointed to House of Delegates seat

Montgomery County Democrats appointed W. Gregory Wims to represent District 39 in the Maryland General Assembly.

The veteran community organizer and victims’ rights advocate will take the seat vacated by former Del. Kirill Reznik in March. The district straddles Interstate 270 and includes Germantown and Montgomery Village.

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Wims founded the Victims’ Rights Foundation — a volunteer organization that supports victims of violent crimes and their families that was inspired by the death of three Washington, D.C.-area women — in 1996, according to his online biography. He also raised $500,000 for the Sniper Victims’ Fund. The fund helped the families whose loved ones were attacked by the D.C.-area sniper in 2002.

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Wims’ decadeslong volunteer service includes years with local, state and national NAACP chapters, as well as serving on county and state boards and commissions.

As for Wims’ predecessor, Reznik will continue to work in public service, just with the state’s executive branch. He’ll serve as the assistant secretary for interdepartmental data integration in the Maryland Department of Human Services. The Democrat represented Montgomery County in the House of Delegates for over 15 years, and has served on the Appropriations Committee since 2016.

Reznik congratulated Wims, whom he called a friend, in a tweet, saying “Good luck. I know you’ll be great!!”

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On anniversary of Freddie Gray’s death, city police union vilifies remembrance tweet from Gov. Moore

On the eighth anniversary of the death of Freddie Gray from injuries sustained while in police custody, an event that sparked mass outrage and protests in Baltimore and beyond, Gov. Wes Moore called his death a turning point for not just those who knew Gray personally, but the entire city.

“Honoring his memory means continuing the fight for justice & accountability so what happened to him — and far too many others — never happens to anyone else,” he wrote on Twitter.

The next day, Baltimore City Lodge #3 Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Mancuso responded to the single tweet with a letter, also shared to the social media platform. Though the governor never mentioned police in his post, Mancuso accused him of making “a statement that is so completely false.”

“Turning point? Former State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby spun a false narrative regarding the death of Freddie Gray by claiming that police did something wrong on the day he was arrested,” Mancuso wrote, before recapping the aftermath of her decision to charge the six officers who were involved in his detainment, where Gray sustained injuries to his neck and spine that were ultimately fatal: zero convictions.

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“Accountability?” he continued. “Instead of commending the men and women who risk their lives on a daily basis, you choose to pay homage to a drug dealer.”

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Moore, who was endorsed by the Maryland State Fraternal Order of Police during the campaign, has not responded.

Since this time last year, nonfatal shootings and homicides are down 16% and 21% respectively, Mayor Brandon Scott said at his State of the City address earlier this week, which he attributed to the “tireless efforts of our police officers, violence interrupters, and public safety partners.”