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Council candidate says Bell should negotiate with AFSCME

Aji-Green

Aji Green.

The Blade
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A candidate for City Council District 1 — the seat now held by Democrat Wilma Brown — on Tuesday urged council to delay voting to impose a concessionary contract on the AFSCME Local 7 union.

Aji Green, a Democrat, said the council should require Mayor Mike Bell to return to the bargaining table.

But Steve Herwat, the mayor’s deputy mayor for operations, said the city can’t afford any more than is in its present offer. Mr. Herwat said the city is heading for a deficit of $5 million to $8 million in the current year and $10 million in 2012.

Council is expected to vote Tuesday at the request of the Bell administration to impose an independent fact-finder’s report that the AFSCME membership rejected.

The city has rebuffed requests from the union of about 850 city service workers to return to negotiations. The administration has endorsed the fact finder’s recommendation of a two-year wage freeze and larger health-insurance and pension contributions.

Mr. Green, who survived a seven-way primary last week and will face fellow Democrat Tyrone Riley in the Nov. 8 election, said, “Forcing concessions on city workers is a drastic step when there is still time to negotiate a deal that is fair for everyone, the workers and the city of Toledo.” Mr. Green said he believes Local 7 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees is willing to bargain in good faith.

Mr. Herwat said, “There’s nothing to negotiate with.” He said of Mr. Green, “if he’s elected he’s going to be facing the same kind of challenge next year.”

Mr. Herwat said city income tax revenues are projected to increase in 2012, but that increase will be offset by a reduction in the states’s local government funding that is expected to kick in next year. And he said the city will not be able to repeat the $5 million income that occurred this year from the sale of city assets, such as the Marina District and parking garages.

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