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City officials have differing attitudes about Senate Bill 5

Different city officials have adopted a hurry-up-and-wait attitude when it comes to the ongoing debate about Senate Bill 5 in Ohio.

City Council passed a resolution opposing Senate Bill 5 at its March 1 meeting with only Finance Committee Chairman Paul Barker in opposition. However, Mayor Kevin Kennedy did not sign the resolution, making it take 30 days to go into effect in the city.

Ward 4 Councilman Larry Orlowski and Councilman-at-large Mark Mahoney both spoke out against the bill which deals with employee and contract negotiations narrowly passed the Ohio Senate 17-16 and is now under consideration by the Ohio House.

“SB 5 is not just an assault on organized employees, it is an assault on the middle class which organized labor helped to create,” Orlowski said in the council meeting.

“This bill will lead to a reduction in wages and benefits to middle class employees. Their net take-home pay will be reduced through larger copays on retirement and health insurance benefits.”

Both Mahoney and Orlowski, who originated the legislation, decried the effect the legislation is anticipated to have on workers not only in the city, but throughout the state. Orlowski cited North Olmsted’s large retail community and characterized the legislation as mean-spirited.

When the proposal was raised in the council premeeting caucus, Barker advocated placing it in committee for further discussion or holding off. However, Mahoney said he did not want to see it go to committee and that he wanted it to pass on suspension that night.

Asked later why he didn’t sign it, Kennedy said a primary reason was that a final version has not been approved at the state level.

“I really don’t think it’s good to pass a resolution on anything that hasn’t been given final approval,” he said. “I’d like to see how it all turns out before I make a final statement on how I feel about it.”

Kennedy emphasized he would have been just as opposed to a resolution that supported SB 5 as it stands now.

“I wouldn’t have signed that, either,” he said. “It’s just not good to take any specific stand until we see how all of this turns out.”

Ohio House members were tentatively scheduled to discuss it in committee Thursday.

 

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