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May 4, 2015

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In suing North Las Vegas, police supervisors union says, ‘We didn’t have a choice’

Lawsuit filed against North Las Vegas

KSNV reports that the North Las Vegas Police Supervisors Association filed a lawsuit against the city of North Las Vegas for forcing concessions on them that to close a $30 million budget on Friday, June 15.

The union representing police supervisors is the first to file suit against the city of North Las Vegas over a recent emergency declaration allowing the suspension of agreements with the city’s police and fire unions.

The North Las Vegas Police Supervisors Association, which represents sergeants and lieutenants in the city’s Police Department, filed the lawsuit Thursday in Clark County District Court.

“This is a last resort,” said union president Leonard Cardinale. “I would characterize this as the Police Supervisors Association defending themselves. We didn’t have a choice.”

The North Las Vegas Police Officers Association opted to combat the city’s actions by filing a grievance report last week that will be reviewed first by the police chief and then City Manager Tim Hacker. Police officers union president Mike Yarter said it would most likely end in arbitration, where an arbitrator will decide if the city’s actions are legal.

That process could take up to two years, if either side chooses to appeal the decision.

“It just shows it wasn’t about the raises. This is simply about making sure our people are not laid off, which is all we asked for, but the city could not agree to that,” Yarter said.

The city is suspending its union contracts, effective July 1, to help bridge what it’s calling a $30.9 million budget gap. The move came June 1 after several months of negotiations between the city and its unions failed to bring the desired results. The city was unable to be reached for comment on the lawsuit, and it was unclear whether the North Las Vegas Firefighters Association will file a lawsuit as well.

In the court filing, the police supervisors union contends that despite the city’s assertions it was facing a projected $30.9 million budget deficit “it has refused to offer proof of such claims.”

Furthermore, the union asserts, the city has never declared it has a “severe financial emergency” as defined under Nevada state law. Such a declaration, the filing says, would have required recommendations of a severe financial emergency from the Nevada Department of Taxation and the Committee on Local Government to the Nevada Tax Commission.

“To date, upon information and belief, such a recommendation has not occurred, nor is there evidence that such a recommendation is imminent.”

State law does allow local governments the ability to take “whatever actions may be necessary to carry out its responsibilities in situations such as riot, military action, natural disaster or civil disorder.” But, the union contends in the suit, “the city’s attempt to use its financial mismanagement to declare an emergency … is an unlawful attempt at breaching the NLVPSA’s labor agreement through a mechanism of statutory misinterpretation when the city could not obtain its desired results through good faith bargaining.”

The lawsuit asks the court to find the city is required to “completely honor” its agreements with the union and to award damages representing any losses incurred by union members, plus interest, and attorney’s fees.

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  1. You have another choice. You could explain to your membership that they can do this an easier way. While I seriously doubt that they would accept a fair and reasonable compensation package they MUST take a BIG STEP in that direction. As a taxpayer, I would find it refreshing for a union and its membership to STEP UP and do something constructive rather than whine and run to lawyers. Our world is even less "the perfect world" some thought they lived in. Locally and nationally we do not have the resources to pay for the entire planet. We must set priorities. And even so, from priority one on down to where we run out of money, we must be prudent about EACH EXPENDITURE.

  2. Alma display some logic. You suggest city leaders drove NLV "into the ground" and at the same time say the city has lots of money in the black. But oh it doesn't matter who did what 'cause the entire world has changed. We've had and will continue to have DEFLATION which means everything will be in smaller (dollar) numbers.

  3. I am not a religious man, but isn't greed one of the seven deadlies.

  4. This is what happens when you don't require cops to have a high school diploma. They fail to understand simple words, like choice.

    They could have quit.They could have surrendered and just agreed to less money. I understand that those choices weren't appealing, but the WERE CHOICES.

    Now,the members of the city council need to be acutely aware of the threat to your lives that was issued by union president Leonard Cardinale.

    "I would characterize this as the Police Supervisors Association defending themselves."

    Because when police use phrases like,"We had no choice," and "defending themselves," somebody ends usually ends up dead, and a cop ends up on paid vacation.

  5. Contracts that occur with undue influence are not valid. The unions have used various forms of pressure and UNDUE INFLUENCE thus the employment CONTRACTS ARE VOID.

  6. typical UNION everyone suffers. I thought the police were there to serve..... guess not.

  7. Greedy unions, greedy employees. Down and out taxpayers. Years ago, before public-employee union proliferation, judges frequently ruled that public employees could not strike because they had a closed system--UNDUE INFLUENCE. Zero-based budgeting and contracting requires that each expenditure be based on current value--not how much of what you used to get.