5:56am

Fri July 8, 2011
Eastern and Central Kentucky

Collective Bargaining on Lexington Burner

A battle is brewing over how much authority Lexington's Urban County Council should have over contract agreements reached through collective bargaining. Council members tussled for hours Thursday night over a resolution put forward by Councilman Ed Lane that would clarify the procedure for approving collective bargaining agreements. Lane and his supporters argued the resolution is needed because the police and fire pension system is unsustainable and the council deserves more input.

Councilman Doug Martin put it bluntly, adding "Our current liability is 537 million dollars ... This is the definition of a runaway pension and it's going to bankrupt Lexington unless we really address this."

Also on hand was Mike Sweeney, head of Lexington's Fraternal Order of Police. He praised the current collective bargaining system as a tool for retaining police officers and staying competitive with surrounding cities.

Currently, the mayor is the one tasked with negotiating the agreements - not the council. He has the option of bringing the contracts before the body for approval, though his office has final say.