Last night on WREG News Channel 3, Memphis Mayor AC Wharton expressed that he felt the pain of the many lower paid city workers who are NOW being asked to accept a 4.6% cut in their salaries in the coming year.
The Mayor explains that these cuts will be done in lieu of the 12 holiday furlough passed by the Memphis City Council as a sort of humanitarian gesture to avoid hurting worker families during the holiday season.
Here is a link to that story here
There's just one problem with this story.....it's all spin.
Here is the truth...
Back on Jun 21st, the Mayor presented his revised budget to the Members of the Memphis City Council...among other things was a vote to furlough 12 holidays. At the time City Council veteran Joe Brown voiced concerns throughout this affair that the vote and action to do so was improper and illegal as those holiday's were protected by ordinance. In fact here is said ordinance right HERE
Councilman Brown informed the Mayor and the other members of the Council of his doubts about the legality of such a motion..but was ignored and his questions brushed aside...and that is tragic, because now what we have is yet another serious miscalculation made in needless haste by our elected officials..and once again an outright refusal by anyone to admit such mistakes...to the point of being untruthful.
Saddest of all is now we have yet another manufactured crisis that again seeks to cover the carelessness of elected officials on the back and the pocketbooks of lower paid city workers...none of the top earners will be receiving these cuts...no...no...no... salary cuts are for the little people I suppose.
Now..in the coming days you'll hear alot of indignation from elected officials about how "unreasonable" the public sector unions are being...but let's be serious for a moment...
The Unions all negotiated with the administration back in April in good faith...those negotiations are done...now in the Memorandum of Understanding between the city and those unions there is a procedure for situations of fiscal emergency..so that these things can be renegotiated in times of fiscal hardship. The problem is..that procedure requires the city to open up their books to the unions to prove such hardship is real......and the Administration does not want to do that...why?...I don't know and won't speculate..but it really does not matter why.
More to the point...all this bluster about "coming to the table"...is just a ploy to get the Unions to concede to a process outside of their Memorandum of Understanding..thus automatically putting them in a weaker bargaining position.
Alot of Council members are lawyers as are members of the administration...and none of them would ever advise their clients to negotiate outside of a contract or MOU....NEVER....but that's exactly what the Unions are being asked to do here....and the media is allowing this to go on with ZERO scrutiny.
You see what really matters here are two simple questions....IS THE CITY ACTING IN GOOD FAITH WITH IT'S WORKERS?....and....just how many other mistakes have happened and been covered up?
I do so hope that as many of you as possible will join us at City Hall, Tuesday July 5th at 3:30pm as we watch the spin continue.