Weather | Traffic

Today's Paper
Today's Paper, also known as the e-Edition, is an online replica of the printed newspaper. You can view today's paper or previous issues.

Revote on Tosa union contracts draws open meetings complaint

April 18, 2011

By Mike Johnson of the Journal Sentinel

April 18, 2011 0

Wauwatosa - A resident on Monday filed a complaint alleging that a number of aldermen violated the state's open meetings law and took part in a conspiracy to hold a special Common Council meeting Tuesday night to overturn a vote last month not to approve several union contracts.

Stanley L. Zurawski Sr. has asked the state attorney general's office to investigate his complaint.

Ald. Donald Birschel and Linda Nikcevich, who were among five council members who called for the special session, said Zurawski's complaint has no merit.

On March 15, the council was scheduled to approve a series of labor contracts with local unions. But more than 100 people showed up at City Hall, nearly all of them to oppose the contracts, and the council ended up rejecting the pacts.

Zurawski said Monday that he and other residents want the council to hold off on approving contracts until after Gov. Scott Walker's measures that eliminate most collective bargaining for public employees can take effect. The law setting up those measures is being challenged in court.

But the council has scheduled a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday to vote on whether to ratify collective bargaining agreements with three labor unions.

Birschel and Nikcevich said they are seeking another vote on the contracts because the concessions in the agreements would save the city more money than Walker's measures.

Birschel said the city stands to save about $1.07 million a year under the contracts.

The law, which Walker championed, requires most public employees to pay half the cost of their pensions - typically 5.8% of pay - and 12.6% of health care costs. None of those changes applies to police officers, firefighters, sheriff's deputies or state troopers.

Wauwatosa employees don't participate in the state's health care plan, so that portion of the Walker measures would not apply to them.

But under the proposed contracts, Wauwatosa employees would pay between 10% and 20% of health care costs, Birschel and Nikcevich said Monday.

Retired employees also would pay 5%. Walker's measures don't cover retired workers, Birschel said.

And under the proposed contracts, employees covered under those pacts would start making pension contributions immediately, she said.

The city could have been saving at least $12,000 to $20,000 a week had those contracts been approved last month, Nikcevich said.

Both aldermen said the state's open meetings law was not violated when they called for the special meeting.

The city has a provision that allows aldermen to file a petition calling for a special session. That's what they did, Nikcevich said. The petition was signed by five aldermen, including Nikcevich and Birschel.

In his complaint, Zurawski alleges that Birschel "claims to have the names of 11 aldermen who are on board and they have agreed to overturn the March 15th, 2011, action, and this constitutes a walking quorum, which is illegal."

"All of this conspiring was done secretly and intentionally to avoid an overwhelming turnout of citizens voicing their objections as they did at the March 15th public hearing in Wauwatosa," Zurawski states.

Birschel said none of that is true.

"We have never had an illegal meeting," he said.

Except for the five aldermen who signed the petition requesting the meeting, Birschel said he does not know how any other aldermen will vote.

0 Share Tweet Print

Patti Guerrero: Guerrero battled health challenges by giving to family, co-workers 10:52 a.m.

Man found guilty of vandalizing Wales Elementary School, causing $70,000 of damge 10:45 a.m.

Authorities ID body found in Lake Michigan in Kenosha 9:53 a.m.

41 dead in Istanbul airport attack; Turkish govt blames IS 9:53 a.m.

Delafield residents call for restrictions on national political campaign spending 9:40 a.m.

Walker's Point strip club loses fight to delay 90-day closure 9:32 a.m.

Wife speaks out after fireworks incident involving war vet 9:22 a.m.

Suspect held as FBI transcribes tapes in Masonic center plot 9:00 a.m.

Village of Mukwonago's sex offender residency ordinance takes effect June 30 8:45 a.m.

On Tap Today: Summerfest, of course 8:25 a.m.

PolitiFact: Do doctors kill 250,000 people every year in botched surgeries? 5:00 a.m.

Spike Brewing provides custom equipment for homebrewers 5:00 a.m.

Jim Stingl: Electronic artist catches Summerfest scammer in the act 5:00 a.m.

Dodgers 6, Brewers 5: Dodgers' defense shuts down Brewers' late rally Yesterday
11:50 p.m.

Buddy Ryan, NFL coach and defensive mastermind, dies at 85 10:13 p.m.

Missing Waukesha County teen found unharmed 9:53 p.m.

Warmer temperatures expected in Milwaukee Wednesday 9:41 p.m.

Wisconsin’s appeal on abortion turned away by Supreme Court 9:23 p.m.

Jury in trial of man accused of killing Berit Beck says it is deadlocked 7:40 p.m.

Larger lawsuit promised after settlement in Capitol protest 7:25 p.m.

Walker's Point neighborhood draws another apartment development 6:59 p.m.

Annual survey shows the high cost of long-term care 6:31 p.m.

Police summer strategy includes more foot, bicycle patrols 6:30 p.m.

Private equity firm buys majority stake in music publisher Hal Leonard Corp. 6:27 p.m.

Verizon to sell $1.17 billion in bonds backed by mobile payments 6:02 p.m.

Ron Johnson campaign turns to ground game strategy 5:49 p.m.

Wisconsin eligible for $13 million to combat opioid crisis 5:46 p.m.

Brown Deer driver, 37, charged in crash near Strawberry Festival 5:36 p.m.

Study based at UW raises hopes for Zika vaccine, immunity 5:29 p.m.

Pat Summitt, most wins of any Division I basketball coach, dies at 64 5:10 p.m.

West Allis pair confess to kidnapping, killing pregnant woman 5:06 p.m.

Amazon's Dash buttons can thwart smart shopping 4:58 p.m.

Google offers new way for users to manage ads, personal data 4:51 p.m.

As 49th Summerfest kicks off, leaders looking to future 4:24 p.m.

Johnson Controls to provide systems for Sacramento arena 4:05 p.m.

Panel OKs $20 million financing plan for streetcar extension 3:47 p.m.

Feds urge consumers to act quickly on Ikea dresser recall 2:35 p.m.

Baseball: Waukesha West's Jarred Kelenic makes cut for Team USA U18 baseball team 2:35 p.m.

Start-ups invited to make pitches in Madison 2:02 p.m.

Q&A: Here's what you need to know if you own a VW diesel car 1:31 p.m.

Golf: Naga-Waukee Golf Course turns 50 years old 1:20 p.m.

Summerfest 2016: 8 Milwaukee bands with great opening slots at Summerfest 1:17 p.m.

For first time, FBI 'Ten Most Wanted' includes Milwaukeean 12:52 p.m.

Court reinstates sex crime conviction of ex-high school coach 12:32 p.m.

Marcoux recommended for fourth term as city development commissioner 12:25 p.m.

'Bachelorette' recap: Jordan Rodgers called 'entitled' 12:14 p.m.

Cedarburg High School principal named Grafton superintendent 12:02 p.m.

2016 Fourth of July events in the Milwaukee suburbs 11:50 a.m.

Milwaukee man accused of executing man over $90 debt 11:31 a.m.

Convict in fatal park shooting will have chance at parole 11:08 a.m.