A procedural vote prevented City Council from voting March 28 on a resolution opposing the collective bargaining bill currently in the state legislature.
The bill, which was narrowly passed by the Ohio Senate, will likely be voted on by House members within the next week or so. As a result, the resolution was written as an “emergency measure,” meaning it would take effect immediately. The resolution’s Democratic sponsors – Council President Michael Kilbane, Ward 5 Councilman Pete Matia and at-large member Peggy Cleary – also sought to have the resolution passed without three readings.
But passing a resolution or ordinance without the normal three readings requires approval of a majority of members plus one. Three of Council’s seven members – Ward 1’s Patrick Manning, Ward 2’s Fred Gauthier and Ward 4’s John Hinkel – voted against waiving the three-reading rule.
Therefore the resolution will be voted on after the required three readings later this month, at which time the House vote on the collective bargaining bill, known as Senate Bill 5, will likely have already taken place.
Local city councils often pass resolutions on issues beyond the workings of their municipalities, and the merits and value of such resolutions is often debated. The impact of the collective bargaining bill on the already contentious debate at the statehouse on the issue would likely be negligible.
But it represents a rift, along party lines, on Fairview Park Council.
In remarks during the March 21 meeting, Cleary expressed disappointment that the vote on the resolution would be delayed until it would likely be moot.
“This council has passed resolutions on other issues,” Cleary noted.
Cleary noted that Fairview Park’s unions gave back concessions through negotiations last year when the city faced a financial crisis. Senate Bill 5 would do little to solve the state’s $8 billion deficit, she added.
“This (state) budget is not going to be balanced by eliminating collective bargaining,” Cleary said.
Kilbane told his colleagues the resolution should not be a Democrat versus Republican issue.
“This bill is damaging to middle class families no matter where your political allegiances may lie,” Kilbane said. “There is a war being waged at this very moment in this state by the people who have against the people who have very little.”
The council president said limiting the collective bargaining rights of those who keep Ohio’s communities running and safe is no way to balance the state budget.
Hinkel, a Republican, said he voted against waiving the three readings even though he is opposed to Senate Bill 5 in its current form.
“I don’t see the point of Fairview Park Council tearing itself apart over a piece of legislation that we cannot vote on or control,” Hinkel told West Life.
Hinkel described the collective bargaining bill as “a little overreaching.” He said he believed the state’s focus should be on balancing the budget instead of union busting. He added that he believes unions should be addressed the same way other elements of the budget need to be.