Contentious City Council Meeting in North Las Vegas | News
NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- North Las Vegas City Manager Tim Hacker now has emergency powers to break union contracts. The city says it was a last resort to save it from takeover, but city employees call it a desperate power-grab.
But while he has emergency powers, does Hacker have the ability to fix a $33 million budget hole?
The City Council voted unanimously to give Hacker the power to break union contracts, canceling pay raises and certain benefits.
"Public safety union leaders have told everyone at the top of their lungs how much have they given. But not once have I heard them tell you how much they get," said City Councilwoman Anita Wood.
"While it may be true that while we have one of the highest raises or highest salaries in the valley, we also have the least number of officers," said Police Union President Mike Yarter. "We've been able to provide the same level of service for half the people."
The stakes are high. If the city cannot pass a balanced budget, then the Nevada Tax Commission could take over. But Mayor Sherri Buck says no way that is going to happen.
"You can roll your eyes and everything else. I know you think we're all lying up here," she said during the meeting.
At times defensive, Mayor Buck criticized Teamster Union members for rejecting a last minute contract deal.
"I witnessed one of the most embarrassing and disgraceful acts yesterday as one of our unions voted down a tentative agreement. I saw members publicly and enthusiastically cheering and clapping and celebrating at the announcement that 60 of their colleagues would be losing their jobs," she said.
The Teamster's, the city's largest employee group, rejected the deal by a margin of three votes.
"That was the first time that we saw our own members joyful that 60 plus Teamster's would lose their jobs," said Teamster Vice President Steve Harney.
Hacker now has the emergency powers he asked for, as long as the council remains in power themselves.
"If it means changing the whole leadership at election time, then damn, I'm going to be the one to do it because I helped put each one of you in office and I'll work equally as hard to put you out -- to put someone there who can fix this city," said city employee Danielle Monroe Moreno.
Employee unions say they will likely wait to sue the city until July 1 when their contracts are officially broken.