Mayor Responds to Union Comments, Browder Announcement
Full unedited interview with Mayor Dan Sullivan
KTVA - So we have heard hours of public testimony, and obviously people are upset. What is your response to that?
Mayor Dan Sullivan - I think anytime that there are proposed changes, in particular when people don't understand all the ramifications of the changes, there is some uncertainty, and certainly people can get upset about that. I think once people read through the final version of the bill, and we've listened to people's suggestions to make it stronger and more clear, that it will actually not have that big of an impact. Particularly since none of the changes would go into effect until the contracts expire…in some cases that isn't until 2014. I think when it’s all said and done and the dust settles, it’s going to be okay.
KTVA - What is it that they're not understanding?
Mayor Dan Sullivan - Well for example, we had testimony the other day from a police officer that said he was going to lose 40 percent of his pay. That is incorrect. They thought that they were not going to get the steps that they're including in their employment classification, that's not affected at all. Also, if they are working on shifts they get a shift deferential. He was calculating that, [and] that doesn't change at all. Just things like that.
KTVA - They say that you’re messing with their livelihood. Is that true?
Mayor Dan Sullivan - Well, nobody is getting a reduction in wage. Nobody is getting a reduction in benefits, so I'm not sure how we are messing with their livelihoods. Also, we are going to maintain your seniority. For example in police and fire, we will make sure that you are still chosen first for different shifts, so that a couple of the folks talked about having a stable home life, and the seniority [of] being able to chose the shift they want… that won't change.
KTVA - People are upset because it seems like the process in creating this proposed ordinance was secretive. Was it?
Mayor Dan Sullivan - The internal work product of the city when we produce an ordinance really isn't done in a group setting. It’s done by the municipal attorney, by our employee relations director, myself, the CFO, the city manager. So these people basically supervise virtually all of the city employees. So they hear from department heads all the time about the challenges with the contracts, with the work rules, so we have an awful lot of feedback in crafting this ordinance. You don't sit down with 50 people and write the ordinance. We had an awful lot of input from our department heads, and from our executive team on what should be in such a change.
KTVA - And they say it was kind of last minute. I mean, something like this is a big change, was it done last minute?