Years of public sector profligacy characterized by overly generous -- bordering on irresponsible -- union contracts continue to take their toll on beleaguered North Las Vegas.
The city, hit hard by the recession and housing downturn, has already undergone a few rounds of budget cuts and layoffs, but it hasn't been enough. So on Wednesday, the City Council voted to jettison 21 more workers and shut a handful of community centers and pools in order to cover a $4.4 million budget gap.
The city remains in negotiations with its two police unions over potential contract concessions, but don't look for much real movement. The public safety unions have resisted any concrete restructuring of their sweetheart deals -- and even got a local judge to protect them from staff reductions. Beat cops average $92,400 a year in North Las Vegas, plus massive benefits; supervisors average more than $147,000.
They got theirs!
Scores of citizens turned out at Wednesday's meeting to protest the latest budget-saving measures. No doubt some will feel the pain. But this entire fiasco won't be for naught if it teaches local politicians that if they try to win the support of the public-sector unions by ignoring the concerns of the taxpayers who foot the bill, they lay the groundwork for fiscal disaster -- and deserve history's scorn.