September 3, 2010
Ward vs City Council - Campaign 2011 is underway....
He said he was concerned that city Councilor Kevin McCauley came to him the day before the council meeting to tell him that he was “a messenger” for the council and that a consensus existed among councilors to put off a decision on the proposed contract for Local 233 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
Ward said he’s not sure how McCauley knew that a consensus existed. He said he’s thinking of submitting a Freedom of Information request to obtain any emails that passed among the council on the issue.
Given that a consensus actually existed at the meeting to oppose Ward, the mayor said it was “pretty obvious it was pre-arranged.”
Ward said he doesn’t understand why councilors made such a fuss that one member of the council, David Mills, could not make the meeting.
He said he told Mills he would be happy to read the councilor’s comments into the record in either executive session or in public.
Ward said the city has to act soon because the contract is “time-sensitive.”
If the city fails to act on it by Wednesday, Sept. 8, he said, it automatically takes effect.
The contract, whose terms are pretty tough on the union, were “bargained in good faith,” Ward said, and it’s wrong “to play politics” with City Hall’s workers.
“I consider this to be a fantastic contract for the city,” Ward said. He said the negotiators for the union “stepped up to the plate” and did what was best for the community.
“To go through these unnecessary political hoops is not, I think, justified,” Ward said.
The mayor said he is “really concerned about the approach” taken by councilors, particularly McCauley, who has largely shunned Ward since a September 2007 primary in which Ward defeated Ellen Zoppo to capture the Democratic Party’s mayoral backing.
Ward said McCauley has been in his office only four times since he took office in 2007.
He said McCauley, the most senior councilor, never tells him what’s going on. “I mostly learn after the fact or at the time of” what McCaulely is up to, Ward said.
Though Ward placed McCauley in charge of some key city committees, it’s not clear that the veteran councilor’s positions are secure anymore.
“You can only extend your hand so long,” Ward said.
He added that some councilors who sided with Zoppo “have gotten over it” and talk with him regularly.
City Councilor Cliff Block said recently he figures it’s better to work with Ward than to fight with him because it’s the only way he can get things done.
Ward said he’ll clear whatever hurdles the council erects and do what’s necessary to guide the city through tough economic times.
Ward also handed me a copy of a four-page outline of all the changes made to the Local 233 contract in the draft deal. I’ll post them soon.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org