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December 17, 2014

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Las Vegas Mayor: No agreement yet on city employee contracts

Oscar Goodman says city, unions not close on issue of reopening contracts

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Mayor Oscar Goodman announced he will not be running for governor of Nevada during a press conference inside his office in downtown Las Vegas Monday, Jan. 25, 2010.

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said today that the city continues to meet with representatives of city employee unions about the possibility of staving off layoffs in March to balance the city's budget.

However, the city hasn't yet been able to get the unions to take up its offer to avoid layoffs by reopening their contracts and having their members take salary and benefit cuts, Goodman told reporters today during his weekly press conference.

The city council has been briefed during closed sessions how negotiations are going with the unions, Goodman said.

"We're on top of it, but there hasn't been any resolutions at this point," Goodman said. "I can't say we're close yet."

Because of falling tax revenue, the city expects a shortfall of more than $400 million over the next five years, according to City Manager Betsy Fretwell.

Earlier this month, Goodman called on the unions to reopen contracts to consider taking an 8 percent pay cut and other concessions, which was part of an agreement the city made with its non-union executive and appointive employees. The agreement with the non-union employees is contingent upon the labor unions going along with it.

Goodman said he personally met Wednesday with the Las Vegas City Employees Association, which represents classified employees.

"I thought it was very cordial and I have the feeling that they want to work with us to open up the contract and to try to get some resolution," he said. "That was my feeling at the end of the meeting."

Goodman said he has also met with Las Vegas Police Protective Association, "and I get the same feeling from them."

He said he has also talked to Dean Fletcher, president of Las Vegas Fire Fighter Local 1285, and "hopefully, they'll be on the same page."

"There's nothing easy about this," Goodman said.

Goodman says he's made it clear to the employee groups that the city's actions would be "very transparent" and "there would be no secrets."

He said he expected the employee unions to take him up on his offer to be present, along with the city's chief financial officer, at meetings with the city manager.

"I do want them to feel that the books are open books," he said.

Goodman said he hoped agreements could be reached before the city's budget hearing on March 7.

"That's sort of our D-Day because that's when we decide our budget. And when we decide our budget, that means the budget has to balance and hopefully, we'll have some resolution then," he said.

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