Letter From Fire Chief Sparks Debate Over Fire Contract
Letter From Fire Chief Sparks Debate Over Fire ContractPhoto: Video by kmtv.com
CREATED Apr. 30, 2013
The debate over the fire contract, still burns.
"She said she was gonna deliver a better deal to the taxpayers, and she didn't."
"At some point we can't keep putting the burden back on taxpayers for the incompetent management of the Suttle Administration."
Fire Chief Mike McDonnell is asking city council, again, for more money. In a letter sent this week to council members he says he owes firefighters ten million dollars in back pay this year, ordered by the State Labor Court.
More than half of it has already been paid. By July, he needs to pay about four million more.
He's asking council for five million dollars to meet that deadline. He also wants to reopen contract negotiations to ask the union to forego the remaining back pay all together.
A problem the Suttle campaign Spokeswoman Aida Amoura isn't surprised to see.
"It's not about cutting spending, it's not about you didn't balance your budget. These are contractual obligations that the fire chief is trying to express to the city council, need to be met and right now they're having a tough time meeting that."
The mayor wasn't a part of final negotiations because city council voted to take that power away. Councilwoman Jean Stothert helped seal the deal on the contract. Her campaign says this is a budget issue. Her Campaign Manager Ryan Horn says it's time to hold people accountable.
"They were millions of dollars over budget last year; they were millions of dollars over budget before that." "What position would the city be in if 3 months into the year every city department came and said we're millions of dollars over budget we need more taxpayer money, we need more money. The city would be bankrupt again, and we simply can't have that."