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Parliamentary move stalls collective bargaining ordinance

City Council members voted along party lines Tuesday night to end collective bargaining for all city employees who are not police or firefighters.

But a last-minute parliamentary move by member John Shoaff, D-at large, automatically puts the measure on hold for two weeks and prevents it from having any legal force until then. The move also pushes back a vote to override a mayoral veto until June 24.

John Crawford, R-at large, and Russ Jehl, R-2nd, proposed three bills:

  • The first – which was approved Tuesday – eliminates collective bargaining for all nonpublic safety city employees;
  • The second option would eliminate collective bargaining rights for the six nonpublic safety unions and replace them with two unions created by the city – one for City Utilities workers and another for civil city employees;
  • The third proposal would eliminate all nine unions, including those for police and firefighters. Only Crawford proposed the third option; Jehl did not support it.
The second and third proposals were tabled indefinitely; the second because it became a moot point after passage of the first and the third was tabled when it became clear it did not have the votes to pass.

In the committee session of the council’s three-step approval process, members voted 6-3 to approve the first option, eliminating collective bargaining for all city workers who are not in the fire or police departments. But in the regular session, when the measure was getting final approval, Shoaff switched his vote from “no” to “yes” – allowing him to make a written request that the proposal be reconsidered.

Reconsideration is an obscure parliamentary move that allows a member on the winning side to ask for a re-vote if they have changed their mind. In this case, it means that the bill, which would have taken effect immediately, is automatically held for two weeks.

On June 10, the council will consider Shoaff’s motion to reconsider: If approved, the council will vote again on the question; the mayor then has 10 days to sign or veto it, and the council could vote June 24 to override the expected veto. It takes six votes to override.

For more on this story see Wednesday’s print edition of The Journal Gazette or return to after 3 a.m. Wednesday.