Omaha Public Radio News
Fri August 26, 2011
Omaha police union threatens to file lawsuit if fire contract isn't approved
By Katie Schubert
Omaha, NE – The Omaha police union is threatening a lawsuit if the city doesn't get a new agreement with the fire union in place.
The police union sent a letter Friday to Mayor Jim Suttle, saying they'll file a lawsuit to separate the police and fire pension systems if a new fire union contract isn't approved. Mayor Suttle says he'll send the original fire union contract back to the city council for an up-or-down vote.
If it fails, Suttle says the consequences for the city's financial system would be dire. "The impact of this means that the city of Omaha and the taxpayers will be liable to fund $300 million dollars in the pension shortfall. It's a worst-case scenario that I as Mayor am unwilling to accept."
Council members rejected the fire union contract at last Tuesday's meeting, after adding two amendments to it. That prompted the fire union to file a prohibited practice complaint with the Commission of Industrial Relations. Suttle called the changes to the fire union contract "politically motivated" and said Council members were involved in all aspects of the fire contract.
Police union representatives say in the letter that separating the one pension system into two "would be necessary to prevent imposing the burden of the system contribution shortfall on Omaha police officers."