Omaha City Council Members Take On Mayor
Two city council members filed a resolution Thursday after the Mayor gave big pay raises to some staff
Two city council members filed a resolution Thursday after the Mayor gave big pay raises to some staff Video by kmtv.comvideo
Omaha, NE -- Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle said he's feeling like his old self again after suffering a minor stroke while visiting Ireland last week. Thursday he spoke to the media for the first time to address the importance of getting back to good health. The mayor knows a couple of lawmakers criticized him while he was overseas. They claim he was not transparent about big pay raises to two staffers.
Mayor Suttle said he rewarded those on his staff who've done extraordinary work on behalf of Omaha and insists city council is seizing a political opportunity to distract the public. The mayor said he won't address city issues until Monday, but one council member.
Mayor Jim Suttle's decision to quietly give three of his staff big raises is drawing heat.
Taxpayer Michelle Pachunka said, "I think he should have been upfront and honest."
Sue Shea lives in Omaha. She called the mayor's decision "disgusting". "It wasn't divulged to anyone and he submitted a budget request that already had the raises in forced and I think that money could have been spent somewhere else," Shea said.
Not everyone agrees. Peg Bay defended the mayor and said, "I think Mayor Suttle is doing a good job. I think people don't realize what it costs to keep a city like Omaha going well."
Omaha City Councilman Franklin Thompson said he's been overwhelmed with angry taxpayers. "My phone is blowing up. Citizens are asking me what is the council going to do about it," Councilman Thompson said.
City Councilwoman Jean Stothert joined Councilman Thompson and filed a resolution. The resolution says they disagree with the mayors decision, don't support it and never want it to happen again.
"The problem is that it's not about us, it's about the city. An ouch is still an ouch even if it's unintentional and so we've got something that's broken and we have to fix it. This is an attempt to send a message both to the mayor don't let it happen again but also to the community that we're willing to try and fix things," Councilman Thompson added.
KMTV Action 3 News asked the mayor about his decision Thursday. Mayor Suttle responded, "All the issues that are on your mind, we will deal with next week. we will cover them one by one by one during the 5 days next week."
The mayor has apologized to taxpayers - not for the raises, but how he handled them. His words are too late for some council members and taxpayers, believing the resolution will insuring more transparency with your money.
Omaha resident Rick Armstrong supports Council members Stothert and Thompson. "I think there needs to be a bigger broader picture in those kind of decisions when people are given raises. I think it's just a good process," he said.
His friend Sue Shea added, "It"s our money!"
Rick said, "Yeah Its our money exactly, it's the taxpayers money."
City Council will discuss the resolution and vote on it Tuesday at 2:00p.m. Taxpayers will have their say over the mayors proposed 2013 budget Tuesday night during public hearing session of the city council meeting.
Reported By: Liz Dorland, email@example.com