NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – The Niles Police patrolman’s union has been working without a contract for 14 months.
At Wednesday’s council meeting, one of those patrolman had some choice words for how they’re being treated.
“We as a union made concessions to help the city when other unions did not,” patrolman Tom Townley said. “Now we feel we are being punished when all along we have tried to do what’s best for the city.”
Townley later said the city’s 22-man patrolman’s union is nowhere close to settling a contract that expired Dec. 31 of 2015.
He began his statement by reminding Mayor Tom Scharnecchia that he told the patrolman’s union a third party wasn’t needed to negotiate the contract.
“To our disappointment, you went ahead and used the third party,” Townley said.
That third party was the Akron consulting firm of Clemans and Nelson — which Townley said has been paid $84,000 to settle the firefighters, police supervisors and dispatchers contracts, while the patrolman’s contract has gone nowhere.
“Why is it that it seems the firefighters and police supervisors are treated better than the patrol union in this city,” Townley said. “Your actions toward us, the patrol union, makes us feel expendable.”
Scarnecchia did speak — reminding patrolman Townley the city is in fiscal emergency and was following a plan set up by a state commission.
“They are telling us that we need a second person — firm or attorneys — to do the contracts,” he said.
Council President Bob Marino quieted the debate — saying this wasn’t the forum for contract negotiations.
But back to Townley’s statement, this is how it ended:
“The mayor and the council in this city may have changed faces. However, their actions are the same as the previous administration who put this city in financial ruin. We and the patrolman’s union did not ruin the city — the politicians did. In my opinion, Niles will always be a city stuck in the past and will never look forward. Thank you.”