In a news release Tuesday from Omaha attorney Dan Stockman, the group, Taxpayers Putting Omaha First, says "a coalition of individuals have joined together to speak out against the recall because of the costs and long term damage a successful recall could do the City of Omaha and its financial future."
The release goes on to note that, "as of today, the only City of Omaha employees group which has contributed has been the Omaha Police Officers' Association, which accounts for about 25% of the total contributions received." The group has raised approximately $12,000 according to committee member Aaron Hanson who is also the police union president.
Omaha attorney Mike Dowd is also a member.
Fliers and radio ads will be a part of its campaign. Two fliers are a part of a direct mail campaign. One speaks of Mayor Suttle's success fighting gangs -- the other comes with a warning regarding a plan to give the sheriff more powers in west Omaha, it reads: "Don't let ambitious politicians experiment with our safety"
Dave Nabity, a leading supporter of the recall, potential mayoral candidate and frequent critic of the police and fire union contracts -- believes he's the target. "Why is the police union trying this hard to protect the mayor? The only thing I can think of is that the mayor gave them everything they wanted in the last negotiations and the only way to respond is to scare people into what might happen when he is gone."
Omaha Police Officers' Association president Aaron Hanson says the contract isn't the reason for backing the mayor since the deal goes until 2013. He says the union helped square the city's finances regarding the pension. "We're doing nothing different than anyone else in the debate whether it's the mayor's people or pro-recall, we're engaging in the process like anyone else does."
Omaha's old and new contract with the Police Union has been the focus of major criticism from people calling for the Mayor's removal.
In response to the announcement, Recall Mayor Suttle Committee spokesperson Jeremy Aspen said:
“This is another example of Jim Suttle relying on the government unions to win an election. The citizens of Omaha now have proof that the police union knows they won’t get the same sweetheart deals under a new mayor. This should encourage the voters of Omaha to get out and vote yes on January 25. We cannot continue to be bullied around by the police union.”
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