North Las Vegas’ biggest employee union and its firefighters union have agreed to settlements with the city of North Las Vegas.
City leaders and firefighters union chief Jeff Hurley independently confirmed the news from a closed meeting attended by Gov. Brian Sandoval at the Sawyer Building on Wednesday afternoon.
“We are fortunate that strong leadership was able to get a fresh perspective from the 10,000-foot level,” Hurley said. “The speaker and Governor did a tremendous job facilitating the discussions.”
Officials called in Sandoval to help broker the talks aimed at settling a two-year legal battle over millions of dollars in pay raises suspended under a city-declared “fiscal emergency” in 2012.
Those discussions didn’t wrap up until nearly 6:30 p.m., and only after officials had settled with half of the city’s union heads for exactly $3.35 million — the settlement figure City Council members offered city Teamsters and firefighters early this month.
Officials confirm the city doesn’t necessarily need settlements with two remaining bargaining groups to balance next year’s budget and avert threatened 10 to 20 percent across-the-board budget cuts.
Reached for comment before talks began Wednesday morning, Teamsters Local 14 president Larry Griffith predicted keeping those city jobs would prove key to sealing a deal with his members by the end of the day.
“What I want is no layoffs or they’re not getting anything out of me,” Griffith said. “Even with the Governor in the room, my goal is to preserve jobs.
“I will say that without (Sandoval) getting involved in this, this wouldn’t get done.”
City firefighters look set to split $2.1 million under the terms of Wednesday’s settlement, while more than 500 Teamsters will divvy up a little more than half that amount.
Officials plan to continue separate talks with leaders from the city’s Police Officers and Police Supervisors unions in a pair of sessions starting at 9 a.m. tomorrow.
“We’re very, very close,” Police Supervisors Association President Leonard Cardinale told reporters Wednesday night. “Things are pretty sensitive right now, we can’t discuss specific items, but we really appreciate Gov. Sandoval’s involvement.”
Mayor John Lee reports Sandoval played a key role in clarifying to union leaders that “the grass wouldn’t be greener” for their members under state receivership, Nevada’s statutory alternative to municipal bankruptcy.
A city source said Nevada’s delegation made it clear to union heads that the state had no appetite to help balance North Las Vegas’ books through a massive state-imposed tax increase under receivership.
“What we did today was finalize what had already been agreed on in the past couple weeks,” the source said. “After weeks of asking the Department of Taxation to clarify its position on (receivership), they finally did it.”
City leaders plan to meet to discuss North Las Vegas’ preliminary fiscal 2015 spending plan at 6 p.m. Thursday in the City Council chambers, 2250 Las Vegas Blvd. North.
Council members haven’t said when they might look to ratify tentative deals struck with bargaining groups this week.
Contact James DeHaven at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3839. Find him on Twitter: @JamesDeHaven