Fayette County

Mayor breaks tie as council votes to take on police, fire contracts

The Urban County Council on Tuesday deadlocked on a resolution over whether the council should approve the city's collective bargaining contracts with police, fire and community corrections.

But Mayor Jim Newberry broke the council's 7-7 tie by voting in favor of council approval on collective bargaining contracts.

Newberry's tie-breaking vote did not come as a surprise since he had asked for council approval on the latest police contract two months ago. At the time, the council said it would not approve the contract because it had not been involved in the negotiations.

The resolution still requires two official council readings for final approval. That could come on Dec. 4.

The council needs to review the collective bargaining contracts as part of its council duties, said Councilman Ed Lane, who introduced the resolution. "The fact that we are not reviewing and approving these matters are not in the best interest of the taxpayers or of our government."

City negotiations on two additional police and fire contracts should be completed in the next few months.

Councilwoman K.C. Crosbie said she was opposed to the idea because the enabling state legislation states the mayor or his designee negotiates and approves the contract.

"If you are going to have 15 people look at the contract, I think that is a recipe for disaster," Crosbie said.

The Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Fire Fighters are both opposed to council approval of the collective bargaining contracts.

"You can't get 15 people to agree on anything," said Chris Bartley, president of the local International Association of Fire Fighters 526. "It's going to be even harder to get a contract approved."