Mayor Chris Beutler today said the City of Lincoln opposes one important aspect of Amendment 1528 to LB 397, the CIR bill the Legislature will debate later this morning. Specifically the City believes that stripping the bill of all new provisions relating to using private sector comparisons will undermine the bill's ability to achieve meaningful cost containment.
"City taxpayers and business leaders have consistently called for public wages and benefits to track the private sector more closely. The only way to do that is to ensure cities can use private employers in their array of comparable employers," said Mayor Beutler. "LB 397 as passed on General File included new language, agreed to by public sector union representatives, that would have paved the way for cities to use private sector data. I am extremely disappointed that this language was removed in the amendment during this latest round of negotiations with the Governor's office and Chambers of Commerce. It was a key cost-containment provision. Without it, I simply cannot assure the public that LB 397 will result in cost savings."
Beutler said that despite the removal of the private sector language, Amendment 1528 includes a number of important provisions that will ensure predictability in the labor negotiation process. "Greater predictability was an important goal with this CIR reform package," he said. "Amendment 1528 includes a number of provisions that achieve that goal. It is still a good bill, and I thank all of the parties involved in drafting the bill for their remarkable efforts. I particularly want to thank and applaud our public sector labor groups for coming to and staying at the table during a very difficult negotiation process."
Beutler said that despite his disappointment with the changes in Amendment 1528, the City will support the CIR reform bill if the amendment is adopted. "Our legislative reform efforts, however, will have to continue if we want to ensure meaningful long-term cost stability for municipalities," he said.