FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry said he would indeed veto the three ordinances, the way they’re currently written, that would repeal collective bargaining for city employees and their unions.
Henry has said in recent days that he fully supports the unions and the collective bargaining process. Click here to read his full statement that came out on Friday, May 9.
The three ordinances city council introduced Tuesday night has gotten a lot of attention, from both those in favor of the change and those against it.
If council does in fact pass one or all the ordinances Henry would have 10 days to sign them. In those 10 days, he can also do a formal veto, or take no action, which is considered a pocket veto.
Under both circumstances, council would need six votes to override the veto.
“This is going to be one of the few party-line votes we’ve had, at least in my two and a half years on council,” said 2nd district councilman Geoff Paddock, a Democrat. “Many issues for us are bipartisan and we work across the party lines.”
Paddock is one of three Democrat councilmen, but that doesn’t necessarily mean all six Republican members will vote to overturn the veto.
“I really don’t know,” said Republican councilman John Crawford, who introduced all three ordinances in question. Councilman Russ Jehl introduced two of the three ordinances along with Crawford. “Whether somebody thinks they’re going to do something now and changes their mind, or they could go the other way, you just never know.”
Crawford said he doesn’t go around counting votes like Kevin Spacey’s character Frank Underwood in House of Cards. Democrats however know they need at least one to join them.
“I think you’ll find that all Democratic council members will stay with the mayor on this,” Paddock said. “If the scenario does play out, there’s obviously going to be pressure on some Republican members to vote to sustain the veto.”
Henry said introducing the ordinances didn’t make sense because council was a part of changes last year. “We worked very hard to make sure we had a good fiscally responsible budget, and it did cause for some benefits to be changed with employees,” he said. “Now they want to come back and say that we aren’t as efficient and effective as we should be. It’s hard for me to understand why they’re coming forward now, when they’ve been a part of the whole process.”
Crawford said even if his legislation doesn’t pass, at least it’s now gotten the attention of taxpayers.
“I see no reason why city taxpayers should pay the union president of the PBA a full-time salary,” Crawford said. “Along with benefits and a take-home car, only to do union work and no police work. Why do the taxpayers pay that? Even if we lose the vote, we have at least put the spotlight on them.”
Vetoes are nothing new to Crawford. When he introduced what would become the city’s smoking ban, Crawford said he only had five votes to pass the ordinance through council, but it was vetoed by then Mayor Paul Helmke. “We had to get Archie Lunsey to go over,” he said, which gave Crawford six votes to overturn the veto.
Mayor Henry said he’s only vetoed one ordinance before. It was during the first or second year of his first term, but couldn’t remember what the ordinance was on.