Sometimes the smartest move is live to fight another day. That appears to be the direction the Las Vegas City Marshals are heading tonight as they vote to ratify an agreement to take pay reductions in an effort to save 10 rank-and-file jobs.
In other eras, amid lesser downturns in the economy, it might have been smart to play hardball with the city. Traditionally, City Hall has been a friend of the marshals, and that friendship has translated into a professional working relationship in a political atmosphere.
But this isn’t a typical downturn in the economy. Frankly, the Police Protective Association, especially its Executive Director Chris Collins, is wise to leave the rhetoric at home and read the playing field as it is. These are hard times. The marshals make very good pay. And it’s better to trim those checks than rely on unemployment.
It’s something other public employee unions should be thinking about right now. Better to save your strength in numbers than risk a larger public backlash.
In reality, a 4-percent pay cut that saves jobs is a win-win for the union officials and the City Council.
Note the PPA and marshals smartly signed a one-year deal. This is the way to play the game. There are no fat, long-term contracts sitting out there; better to save those jobs and preserve that membership and hope – like the rest of hard-working Southern Nevadans – that sunny days are ahead for beleaguered Las Vegas.
Let’s also hope this signals a trend in local government negotiations.