The Omaha City Council took a bold move today and took over Union talks, stripping away the Mayor’s responsibility at the negotiating table. Both Gernandt and Gray were out, so it was just a Council of Five members, Jean Stothert, Chris Jerram, Pete Festersen, Franklin Thompson and Thomas Mulligan.
Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle denounced the move to the Omaha World Herald: “How will this bring solvency to our pension system, stop spiking, and cut costs for taxpayers?” he said. “This administration has done what it can to get concessions from all three unions. This is not a simple or easy process. If the City Council thinks they can do a better job, they should be given the opportunity to do so.” Suttle also noted to the Omaha World Herald, his proposed agreement provided $66 million in savings and a pension-deficit-reduction plan and said the council was acting “without regard” to the benefits provided by his deal.
I think the Mayor is getting a raw deal, he worked hard and campaigned on getting a contract done with the OFD, all his hard work thrown away by people who will NEVER be at the negotiating table. All this will put in doubt Omaha’s credit rating, and more trouble with the Fire Union filing a complaint last week, and possible future involvement by the CIR.
Chris Jerram of District 3 and leader of the takeover tells Nebraska Watchdog, “he’s not sure if the fire union will renew talks.”
I think having the mayor in charge of negotiations gave tax payers an elected official at the helm. How many councilmembers will be at the negotiating table? ZERO!!! They will hire someone who is in it for the money, which means more taxpayers dollars going into an unelected officials’ pocket. This city council couldn’t handle a no brainer civil rights issue, I doubt it can’t handle a fire union contract. Not with all the political posturing, grandstanding and windbaggery going on. This impasse is going to cost Omaha taxpayers $300 million because the police rightfully want to split the pension fund. So, say good bye to Omaha’s once outstanding credit rating, and say goodbye to Suttle’s agreement that provided $66 million in savings!!! Omaha’s City Council, screwing taxpayers since the last election.