Reno, Nevada officials are doubling down – with hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars – in hopes that a Los Angeles-based law firm can help bring the city’s union labor expenses under control.
The Reno City Council is discussing the possibility of doubling its budget with the law firm Fisher & Phillips LLP for the second time in a year as the city continues to negotiate new contracts with its six labor unions, MyNews4.com reports.
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The city, which has been negotiating with the unions since early 2013, could increase the budget for union negotiations to $600,000 later this month to resolve disputes over the labor contracts, several of which are heading for arbitration.
“If approved, this would be the second time this year the contract was doubled. In 2013, the Council agreed to retain the Los Angeles-based firm for an amount not to exceed $150,000. In February, the Council agreed to extend the contract to 2015, and double what it is paying to as much as $300,000,” the news site reports.
Spokesmen for the Reno Police Protective Association and the Reno Fire Fighters’ Association, meanwhile, are highlighting the massive attorney fees as a colossal waste of taxpayer money and working to convince residents that Fisher & Phillips are merely bilking the city for all it can get.
“They have no reason in the world to resolve a collective bargaining agreement. They have a lot of reason in the world to make 400 and some dollars an hour on … the taxpayer’s dime,” Ron Dreher, chief negotiator for the Reno police told MyNews4.