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City Management

The relationship between the city management and the unions of Sun Belt City Is not at Its best. Just recently, the city manager reduced the city budget by bargaining hard for lower salary and less fringe benefits. The city manager was able to renegotiate the contracts by hard bargaining with the unions. The hard bargaining process included veiled threats of prevarication and outsourcing.

This indicated to the city employees that if they did not agree too renegotiation of contract and agreed to longer hours, less fringe benefits and new employees enter at a lower salary, they were basically in danger of being out of work. What worked for the city manager in this process is the threat of the employees being completely out of work and losing their Jobs permanently. In the hard bargaining process with the police officers and the ABA, the city manager should have looked for other alternatives. I believe he should have come to the table ready to bargain In good faith.

It does appear when you threaten to outsource something as volubly Important as a police officers Job, It appears you do to have the publics best interest at heart, and ultimately, you are hired to serve

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the public and their interests. So by coming to the table with what he would like to see, and trying to bargain things such as benefits, vacation time, tuition reimbursement, etc, the city manager may have had a completely different outcome. Since he decided instead to threaten a loss of their jobs, he created what may have been unnecessary grief and loss of trust between the ABA and himself.

Just because several of the city council members indicated they wanted him to hard arraign does not mean he did not have other options. The bottom line was to lower the budget and renegotiate the contract, and that could look to be accomplished in various ways. The city manager should have looked for deferent alternatives. He also should have done his homework and researched the other options that were relayed to him by the contractor. If he had done so, he may have seen ahead that contracting and working with the county sheriff was not a viable option.

He could negotiate something more acceptable to both parties. He may have also considered raising the taxes a bit, Just to help the budget somewhat in addition to other items he may have been able to negotiate with the ABA. The challenges when working to negotiate a contract is to reach a middle ground where both parties give and take. It is something that takes talking and brainstorming for different ideas to reach the same goal: reducing the city budget, yet give good benefits and acceptable salaries to employees. When working to negotiate, all factors MUST be considered.

As city manager, he must not be influenced completely by desires of the city council who have not done research necessary to negotiate an acceptable agreement. The bottom line is that they Just want a lower budget, and the contract renegotiated. This can be accomplished in various ways if thought is given to ideas on how to reach the common goal. The research and ideas must come from the city manager and perhaps his staff. A relationship of trust must be developed in order to reach an agreement between both parties. The employees must not be “dismissed” per SE, and ultimatums should not be given.

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