Mayor's Race: Firefighters Contract at Issue

By: WOWT Email
By: WOWT Email

In two weeks, Omaha voters will elect the mayor. Last week, the campaigns squabbled over crime statistics. This week it's the contract with firefighters.

Public safety remains in public view as Jim Suttle fired back at Jean Stothert over the firefighters' contract.

Announcer in Suttle ad says, "Stothert's contract included a secret deal where three firefighters spiked their pensions $1.4-million."

Those in Stothert's camp say the Suttle strategy is to keep voters on other topics and away from examining his record of the last four years.

The council stripped the mayor of his negotiating power and took over negotiating with firefighters.

The fire chief says bad moves by the council's contract where Stothert was point-person for the council and it's costing the city millions.

"These are contractual obligations," said Aida Amoura with the Suttle campaign, "And we either need to reopen our contract -- or help us find the money."

"They were seven million dollars over last year," said Ryan Horn with the Stothert campaign. "Millions of dollars the year before that. We need a mayor who will hold director's accountable."

Both sides are also arguing over a paragraph that allowed some firefighters to retire after a deadline that was in both the mayor's and the council's contract.

So why is the mayor's campaign making a big deal out of it?

"In ours, you could not spike," said Amoura. "Yes -- it had a 90-day agreement but no one was eligible to spike at that one was able to retire at that time."

"They are folks who want to spend more taxpayer money by playing budget shell games in a cynical attempt to get re-elected," said Horn.

Election Day is May 14.

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