In Ron Sims' original budget proposal, he asked the council to cut non-union employee pay raises next year and said he would try to negotiate the same thing with the unionized workers. Apparently the unions didn't go for getting shorted on their raises. So instead, Sims said at a press conference this afternoon, he and union leaders negotiated a deal to shut down county government for 10 days next year. No one, union or otherwise, will get paid on those days, saving $10 million in the process. Sorry, criminals: Employees with the Sheriff's office, jail, and Metro aren't covered by the deal. "We're going to arrest people on every one of those days," Sims said.
The deal Sims and union reps negotiated will go before union members for ratification in the next couple weeks, and Sims said he's optimistic they'll approve it. But the vote is just a formality--he said he has the legal authority to force the shutdown regardless of how the union rank and file vote and will do it if the deal fails.
So if you have a court date scheduled for any of the following: Jan. 2, Feb. 13, April 10, May 22, June 19, July 6, Sept. 4, Oct. 12, Nov. 25, or Dec. 24, assume it will be rescheduled.
The County Council just sent out a press release saying they support the deal and will carry out the shutdown in the legislative branch. On top of that, they say they'll limit council members' raises next year to 1 percent. By taking 10 days unpaid, Sims says employees will take home year-over-year raises equivalent to a 1 percent cost of living increase. Legally the elected officials can't change their pay, so instead the council members say they will reimburse the general fund the difference in the salaries.