NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- The city manager of North Las Vegas has issued a new deadline for the city's unions. June 1 will be the drop dead date for further talks.
Friday, the city council will consider whether to suspend union contracts if concessions have not been reached. Doing so would avoid the layoffs of hundreds of public safety employees.
The back and forth between the city of North Las Vegas and its unions could almost be described as a spectator sport, if there wasn't so much at stake.
The police supervisors union invited the I-Team to a scheduled meeting Wednesday morning with the city manager and his bargaining team. Yet after weeks of rhetoric from both sides about transparency, the meeting didn't happen.
Talks between the North Las Vegas police supervisor's union and the city manager didn't get farther than the lobby of the new city hall Wednesday morning. City staffers told the I-Team, it would not be allowed in the meeting to hear the discussions of possible union concessions.
"The police supervisors position is if the media's not invited then we're not going to take the meeting," union leader Leonard Cardinale said.
He said he extended the invitation to the I-Team, with the understanding , that both sides welcomed transparency.
"The purpose of the meeting was to show the public what's really going on, and be transparent, and let them see who's really telling the truth, and who's really not telling the truth," he said.
Cardinale, along with the heads of the police and firefighters unions, claim the city is lying about its budget shortfall and has refused repeatedly to provide proof of its finances. The city, in turn, insists it cannot balance a $33 million budget deficit without concessions from the unions. The concessions would include the loss of pay raises, vacation sell back, and uniform allowances for police and fire. The later two for the police supervisors.
"The PSA has been bending over backwards to try and work with the city and at every turn there's a new hoop to jump through," Cardinale said.
City Manager Tim Hacker reminded Cardinale that the window for concessions closes Friday. That is when there will be a special city council meeting to consider whether to break portions of the union contracts.
"The mayor and the city council are pretty adamant that if we don't have deals in place by June 1, that there's no need to come back to the negotiating table," Hacker said.
He adds, he too wants transparency, but explains an impromptu meeting without proper notice to the public could violate the Open Meeting Law. Had Cardinale shared his desire to include the media sooner, arrangements could've been made to do so legally.
"I don't know why they chose this route. You'd have to ask Mr. Cardinale and his group. I think it's disingenuous not to have shared this with us last week. We could've set it up and properly posted it," Hacker said.
The I-Team did speak with UNLV law professor Ruben Garcia who agrees that the I-Team's presence at the meeting would likely have been a violation of the Nevada Open Meeting Law because the city did not notice the meeting three days in advance as required.
There has been some movement with respect to the Teamsters and the firefighters union. The Teamsters plan to vote again Thursday on concessions. The firefighters, meanwhile, plan to meet with the city Thursday.