Cash-strapped North Las Vegas has reached a settlement with its unions, sewing up a two-year, multimillion-dollar legal battle in the span of two frantic days at the bargaining table.
“Tonight I’m happy to announce that we are a city on the brink of success,” Mayor John Lee told reporters at a press conference Thursday night. “There was a spirited discussion, but there was no pounding on the desk or threats. … This was a unified decision made by everybody involved.”
Agreements reached this week with nearly 1,000 police officers and supervisors, firefighters and City Hall staffers add up to a $7.7 million deal worth about 31 cents on the dollar to city bargaining groups, winners of a $25 million judgment handed down by a District Court judge in January.
Settlements inked Wednesday with city firefighters and Teamsters account for a little under half that total, while 11th-hour deals penned with the city’s two police employee unions on Thursday combined to make up the bulk of the seven-digit agreement.
All four deals are expected to help the city escape a looming state takeover and level off a projected $17.8 million fiscal year budget deficit.
The deals also look to have saved an untold number of jobs threatened under the city’s “Plan B” — 10 to 20 percent across-the-board spending cuts set to kick in in the absence of a union settlement.
Councilman Isaac Barron, anticipating fears over layoffs despite the newly announced agreements, bet his job that the city would hold up its end of the bargain.
“We’re not going to reach a deal and then lay people off,” Barron said. “I’ll resign in protest if we do that.”
City Finance Director Darren Adair said he and dozens of other city staffers spent countless hours reviewing fiscal contingency efforts.
He couldn’t be happier to have wasted all that time.
“We went through plans B, C, D, E, F and G,” Adair said. “Every one of them only moved us closer to the governor’s office… The only one I ever wanted to present was a settlement — Plan A.”
Some $10.4 million in negotiated union contract concessions and $7.4 million in non-layoff departmental cost savings balance the tentative spending plan unveiled by Adair Thursday night.
Tentative bargaining agreements reached this week still need to be ratified by City Council and union members before North Las Vegas submits a final budget to the state tax department on June 1.
Contact James DeHaven at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3839. Find him on Twitter: @JamesDeHaven