Cleveland Heights City Council Responds to Senate Bill 5
City council formally opposes the bill, and members address why
Cleveland Heights City Council formally opposed Senate Bill 5 at Monday night's meeting, and is sending a copy of the resolution addressing why to several state government leaders.
"For the past several years, the city's police forces and the service department workers and fire dispatchers have voluntarily agreed to forgo increases in their compensation in order to be responsive to the city's financial issues caused by the current recession, and recently, the city's firefighters have agreed to similar concessions," said Council Member Cheryl Stephens, reading from the resolution that council passed.
Senate Bill 5 passed 17-16 in the Ohio Senate last week, and many believe the bill, which would restrict the collective bargaining rights of public employees, including police officers, teachers and firefighters, will be passed by the House of Representatives as early as today.
The resolution, which also states that council disagrees with the “highly partisan and unconsidered manner in which it is being rushed through the Ohio legislature,” will be sent to Gov. John Kasich, Attorney General Mike DeWine and others.
Council members shared their individual opinions on SB5.
“It’s very interesting, I think we’re all being very restrained. I strongly feel and will state openly that this is an attack on the Democratic party, plain and simple,” said Council Member Mark Tumeo, calling the backing of the bill "shameful" and "embarrassing."
“You and I both know it’s going to pass. The bottom line is when this comes up in a referendum to the people, you have to step up and say no to this horrible piece of legislation."
Mayor Ed Kelley said SB5 is not the way to tackle the state's bigger issues, such as the economy and unemployment.
"This is truly an attack on unions and on the middle class in the state of Ohio," said Kelley, who also mentioned that the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School Board spoke out against the bill at its last meeting. "We should demand more from our leadership ... This is just a bunch of nonsense coming out of Columbus."
Check Cleveland Heights Patch later today for more news from Monday night's City Council meeting.