A judge’s order forcing North Las Vegas officials and the police supervisors union back to the bargaining table appears to have succeeded.
District Judge Susan Scann last week ordered city officials and representatives from the 56-member Police Supervisors Association, which represents sergeants and lieutenants, to meet with another judge for a “mandatory settlement conference” in hopes they could agree on concessions to help the cash-strapped city trim its $4.9 million shortfall.
The parties reached an agreement for a long-term contract late last week, according to the minutes of that conference.
But the terms will remain confidential until ratified by both the police supervisors union and the City Council, according to the minutes.
City and union officials would not discuss the details.
Their dispute centered on whether the newly created supervisors union fell under the labor contract its members had when they were under the larger Police Officers Association.
The supervisors split from the larger union last fall. They wanted to remain under the old contract, while city officials said they had to negotiate a new one.
The hearing before Scann was to consider a union request for a preliminary injunction to freeze $1.1 million in cuts to police supervisors’ pay and benefits. Scann instead ordered the two parties to talk in an effort to help the city avoid financial disaster.
She equated their squabbling over a contract to “fiddling while Rome is burning.”
The city is running out of time to make cuts to its budget for fiscal 2012, which began July 1.
Officials said that if they can’t reach concessions agreements with two police unions soon, the city will have to lay off dozens of nonpublic safety employees, which probably will lead to the closure of city recreation centers.
Otherwise the city will not have a balanced budget, which would land it in trouble with state officials who have the power to take over the city’s finances.
A City Council vote on cuts that could include the other employees was scheduled for today .
The council twice has delayed action on the matter.
City officials have yet to come to an agreement with the 360-member Police Officers Association. A court order bars North Las Vegas from laying off members of the union.
Contact reporter Lynnette Curtis at email@example.com or 702-383-0285.