After yesterday's city council meeting all of us were frustrated and mad as heck. As we stated yesterday, there are many complex parts to the issues at hand.
I may step on a few toes with this blog so bear with me for a moment.
While the City Council could have done a better job with the budget and cut more non-essential programs, their hands were tied where the real money could be found. The money that would have made a difference would be to cut salaries (like all of us in the private sector have done) and reduce some positions (as many in the private sector have done). They could not touch that because of the labor contracts they have in place.
The CATO Institute recently filed this report "State Needs More Flexibility to Deal with Unions" found at http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=12171. The report starts off with:
"If you were running a failing business, would you hand out 7 percent pay raises, a two-year "no layoff" guarantee, a pledge to close no branches, and then another round of pay hikes topping 8 percent?
No private-sector business facing bankruptcy would countenance this scenario. Private-sector unions would think twice about making such demands for fear of killing the golden goose. It's another story if you live in Government Land."
As I sat in the City Council Chambers I felt as if I was in Government Land and it was so very different than the real world all of us sit in every day.
We must educate ourselves on these matters and fully understand what we are asking for. This does not give the Mayor or the City Council a pass on this budget. There was a lot of pork still left in it and they know it. However, we will give them a pass on the biggest cuts they could have made.
With that said - We ask the Mayor, the Unions, the City Council and anyone else who has a stake in healing our city, state and country to put aside their personal agendas and get to work to fix this mess. Just because something sounded good a long time ago, doesn't mean we have to fulfill all commitments. If a commitment was bad, we should not keep doing "bad" just because of a contract. The contract will be null and void anyway at some point down the road when it will be impossible to fulfill. It's happening all over the world and to think it will not happen here is to be out of touch with reality.
We appreciate the firemen and the police unions and we LOVE them for sticking their neck for us. We do not want them punished for bad policies of the past and we ask that everyone be willing to have the real conversation about this issue.
There is a train coming and its coming fast. How can the entire citizen body of Jacksonville stand together and keep it from derailing? We are counting on the Mayor, the City Council and the Unions to do their part and keep the train on the tracks without killing the city.
God Save the USA and may the great City of Jacksonville become the Bold New City of the South again.