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November 20, 2014

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Goodman cites ‘gridlock’ in union negotiations

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Steve Marcus

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman speaks during a news conference in his office at City Hall Monday, March 15, 2010. Goodman backed away from his proposal to fire all Las Vegas city employees, then rehire those who agree to work a shorter work week.

Mayor Oscar Goodman today used the word “gridlock” to describe ongoing budget negotiations with unions that represent city employees.

Goodman backed away Monday from his proposal to fire, then rehire, employees who agreed to work a shorter week after being told by the city attorney it could create legal troubles. But the mayor said he will continue to bargain with unions in his attempt to cut employee costs by 8 percent and avoid layoffs.

“I don’t want to lose any employees and I don’t want to cut out our services,” he said during a Thursday news conference at his City Hall office. “I need 8 percent either by salary or benefits or a combination of the two.”

Notices were sent to 146 city employees Monday indicating they will lose their jobs by June 30, the end of the fiscal year.

At the April 7 city council meeting, the city will revisit what it will cut from the budget. The mayor said he hopes the “truth will come out” after both the city and the unions’ collective bargaining units speak at the meeting.

“The 8 percent is very reasonable,” Goodman said. “I have no problem asking for it and sticking by my guns.”

City officials expect a budget shortfall of $70 million, followed by a deficit of $40 million in the next fiscal year.

Goodman said although he has been told not to be optimistic, he thinks that the economy will bounce back “one day at a time.”

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