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HB 5485 and Minimum Manning Removes
Local Control of City Budgets
I read with interest Mr. Devaney’s position on HB 5485 (Minimum Manning for Fire Departments). Existing labor law does not currently mandate cities to negotiate over the minimum manning numbers for fire departments. If it did, then HB 5485 wouldn’t be necessary. The City of Decatur has never been found to be in violation of existing labor law regarding its resistance to negotiate manning levels of the Decatur Fire Department. Mandating these types of negotiations will only increase the amount of taxpayer resources spent on expensive arbitrations and legal proceedings.
HB 5485 is an attempt to begin the process of putting the staffing of city departments in control of a third-party arbitrator. I acknowledge that this bill only pertains to fire departments, but if successful, other public employee unions will be lining up to have the same rights for their workers. Control of city budgets should be left in the hands of locally elected officials who are directly accountable to their citizens and not unknown, third-party arbitrators.
Mike McElroy, Mayor
City of Decatur