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October 1, 2014

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North Las Vegas city manager wants to suspend parts of police, fire contracts

Unions want state to intervene and take over management of city

North Las Vegas City Manager Tim Hacker will ask the city council to suspend portions of the city’s contracts with labor unions to help balance North Las Vegas’ budget while maintaining police and fire services.

The city’s unions are calling on the state to intervene and take over management of North Las Vegas.

Hacker’s request, announced in a news release Wednesday morning, is to be considered at a special council meeting June 1. The move comes as the city faces a state-mandated deadline to present a balanced budget for the coming fiscal year.

North Las Vegas leaders say a down economy and high foreclosure and unemployment rates have caused revenue streams to dry up and left the city with a $33 million budget gap to plug.

Police and firefighter unions have thus far resisted the city’s calls for freezing annual raises and other recessions.

Earlier this month, the North Las Vegas City Council approved a budget that would cut about 200 police, firefighters and Teamsters union jobs if concession agreements weren’t made. In a news release Wednesday, Hacker said the time to move was now but that layoffs weren’t the answer. The ratio of public safety workers to residents in North Las Vegas already is among the lowest in Southern Nevada, the city said.

"We have sought reasonable concessions, but the unions have refused to come to terms. Now, we must take action,” Hacker said in the release. “Public safety is our No. 1 objective. Without taking this action, we would be forced to lay off large numbers of police and firefighters. We don’t want to take them off the streets, where we already are stretched thin, and could risk compromising the health, safety and welfare of the city's residents and businesses."

Hacker has prepared a resolution that would authorize the temporary suspension of some terms of the city's existing collective bargaining agreements with the North Las Vegas Police Officers Association, the North Las Vegas Police Supervisors Association and the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1607.

Those terms include the suspension of raises, holiday sell-back pay and uniform allowances. Hacker maintains state law authorizes the city to suspend certain terms of collective bargaining agreements for North Las Vegas to remain solvent and protect public safety and welfare while in the grips of an ongoing economic recession.

Capt. Jeff Hurley, president of North Las Vegas Firefighters Local 1607, said the police and firefighters are ready for the state to step in.

“Less than two weeks ago Tim Hacker swore to officials of the state of Nevada that North Las Vegas had the wherewithal to continue operations and would end the year with a surplus,” Hurley said in a news release issued by the firefighters’ union. “Thirteen days later, Hacker is now telling the people of North Las Vegas there is in fact an emergency.”

The emergency, Hurley said, lies in the management of the city.

“We need to have state officials step in,” Hurley said. “It is clear, there is no one running North Las Vegas City Hall. Tim Hacker is in way over his head. This is not the guy who is going to be able to steer this city through this time of need.”

He questioned the city’s stance that its unions were refusing to help North Las Vegas during troubling times. North Las Vegas Firefighters, he said, accepted all of the city’s requested financial concessions, and Hacker then turned and misled members of the media, saying firefighters had declined the offer. Hurley also said firefighters already have agreed to eight separate rounds of concessions over three years at a savings to the city in the neighborhood of $20 million.

According to the city, the average salary and benefits for a North Las Vegas Police Officers Association member totals $136,000, while supervisors receive $186,000 in total compensation. An International Association of Firefighters Local 1607 member salary and benefits total $139,000. The city covers 100 percent of healthcare insurance premium costs and 100 percent for all union members’ retirement contributions.

The city faces a June 1 deadline to submit a final budget to the state. The budget would go into effect July 1.

Today’s news release indicated the city would continue to negotiate with its unions to amend the collective bargaining agreements.

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  1. Maybe Hacker should head back to Mesquite, it is clear he changes his story every time he speaks to the media, WOW

  2. I have read about the plite of the city for over a year and to this date nothing has been done. I can see the problem as we speak. The tail is wagging the dog. Take all unnecessary employee's, make them part-time with wages to correspond. Stop building City Parks (that will be drug infested). Hire part-time POST Officers that need hours to maintain their certification. Pay better wages to Public Safty but STOP all benefits. There is no rule or law that says the taxpayer has to pay benefits. End of story. This should have been done last year and stop pussy footing around with Unions. The people are sick and tired of all government CITIES, COUNTIES, STATE, FEDERAL and the cancer continues to grow.

  3. Tens of millions of dollars on a new city facility, almost 4 million to beautify the LV Blvd. - N 5th interchange area for the homeless to have a nice view, have already laid off the ENTIRE research staff over a year ago, continue to spend money they don't have.........and now are in a crisis. We DO NOT NEED 3 municipal fire agencies, plus the BLM and USFS capabiities. All services, with the exception of a heavy rescue team specifically trained for high-rise rescues and responses, should be consolidated under - Clark County. Second is the ambulance service. Emergency responses should be handled by Clark County for accidents and the like, with NO hand off to a private service (private services can handled the remainder of hospital runs and emergency calls). Clark County then charges a competitive rate for transport and generates revenue.

    The city is broke, because it was mis-managed. THE CIP underway was the result of a 2007 study, has never been updated to reflect current or projected economic forecasts, and they continue to spend and spend. If the city managers cannot even keep their own house in order, they certainly do not have the knowledge to help us get out of this downward spiral. Let the state take over.

  4. Can NLV get a little legal assistance from the AG? Someone to provide a legal opinion on the applicability of "if funding is available" statutory requirement for all contracts within Nevada and subordinate Nevada entities (Counties, Cities, School Districts)? Thankfully, some other Commissioners see that there is a new normal. Back to the same old mind set means City of Las Vegas, Clark County, and the School District will be technically insolvent later rather than sooner. Our representatives (commissioners, leaders) have to make up for past mistakes and over-develop the stewardship that hasn't been there. And could we get a training course for arbitrators regarding "availability" of funding--which should not be interpreted to mean that taxes can always be raised to pay for salary increases.

  5. LEO: Some posters are direct to blunt. Including me. I allow the professionals the latitude to make specific decisions but no longer will I allow them the latitude to decide everything, such as union contracts. We need serious oversight--and wouldn't that be the responsibility of managers, mayors, commissioners, taxpayers? I support employee contracts with REASONABLE benefits but we need to include contingency clauses beyond "extreme fiscal emergency." A few years back, State COLA's were based on the level of revenue actually collected--not sure I like this 'cause once you increase the salaries, the employees just don't understand why we HAVE TO CUT COMPENSATION. And, compensation should be based on what the employee does and similar pay levels in private industry. Our local employees are overpaid by at least 30%.... There may be one, or a few, somewhere, who deserve every dime. Any idea which ones? And I don't mean that because the job is essential, that the work is priceless.

  6. Hey guys, if one goes ya'll go, I can say this with great conviction, I'm a retired, pensioned Teamster, these kind of people (HACKER) just seem to pop up every now and then...don't let them B.S. YOU------------

  7. The Fire clowns strike again. You overpaid "so-called" Firefighters take one for the team. I know it is a real shock but people can survive on salaries of less then 100k a year. 95% of firefighter's across the country actually do it for far less. Get off your high horse! I know I was one of them, you give a bad name to firefighters who actually can put out fires throughout the rest of the US.

  8. Is there a Reason North Las Vegas exists as another local bloated bureacracy with all that involves - or should we move towards One streamlined government for the whole valley with the elimination of NLV being the first piece.

    I'm generally a union supporter, however if the salaries and benefits listed are correct, are these positions really that much more valuable than teachers and why are they so far above National prevailing wages?

  9. Where are my posts?

  10. Fire them all bring in the state militia.