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Suttle on Budget Fall-Out: “I’m ready to suffer any consequences.”

By   /   July 29, 2010  /   News  /   11 Comments

The answer wasn’t a surprise, the question was. (See the video below) 

It came with just a few minutes left in the third of four public forums, make that gripe sessions, on Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle’s 2011 city budget which comes with $44 million in new taxes.

The gripes were nothing the Mayor hadn’t heard in the first two meetings: cut the “gold plated” police and fire pension benefits, quit giving out big pay raises to your staff, don’t spend thousands of dollars to hire extra lobbyists, the new restaurant tax is unfair, and by the way–even though they’re not part of the budget–the Hilton Hotel expansion is a waste of money as is Suttle’s proposed downtown trolley.

Those were the comments from some 300 people who squeezed into a 206 seat Westside High School auditorium Wednesday evening, as the Mayor continued to defend the most controversial city budget in years, maybe decades. 

It’s a budget that has put a recall election into motion. But the recall appears to be a long shot at best, which just might be why Mike McAlpin, a retired Kitty Clover general manager, had a different solution to the budget problem.

After sitting quietly for nearly 90 minutes McAlpin strongly suggested the Mayor should quit. “Why don’t you do us all a favor and resign?” 

After the crowd was done applauding, the Mayor smiled and responded, “First of all I’m not going to resign.” That brought some applause for the Mayor, who added, “I didn’t create this mess and neither did you…and I’m ready to suffer any consequences.” According to Suttle unlike other Mayor’s before him (he didn’t name names) he was telling the public what it needed to hear, not what it wanted to hear.


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Reported by Joe Jordan, joe@nebraskawatchdog.org


Joe formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • andy

    then just leave office and make everyone happy

  • Steve Ress

    Another liberal that gets into office on a promise of no more new taxes !!!!! Gotta love it…..when are we going to learn? We’ve got a real peach down here in Lincoln, but this guy takes the cake. Good luck Omaha…..you need it.

    BTW, Joe, LOVE the blog…..keep up the good work.

  • GeosUser

    I don’t know why Suttle and staff even bother with these meetings. Nothing that is said in them has any impact at all. The other thing people aren’t paying attention to is, when the city council votes “No” on the proposed budget and lists the restaurant tax as #1 for removal, Suttle will “reluctantly” agree and then immediately institute the $4/month occupation tax. He will claim that he was “forced” to do so by the city council. That will generate even more taxes flowing into the city with which he can pursue his legacy project, the downtown street car, and also finish paying off the fire union, Ben Gray, the Chamber, etc. What do people expect? Suttle is the prototypical “tax and spend” Democrat who knows precisely who put him in office and who will pay to keep him there. When the recall launched by that moron Fasthorse fails, Suttle will be even more sure that he’s untouchable. My best advice is to leave Omaha and Douglas county. If you’re unable to do that, at least make a serious effort to spend as little money as possible inside the city limits and the county.

    BTW, Mr. Jordan…if OPS has thousands of truant students on a daily basis shouldn’t money that flows to OPS for both state and Federal that is tied to attendance be audited? It seems to me that while always crying poverty, that OPS is probably collecting hundred of thousands of dollars that it is not entitled to based upon actual attendance vs. supposedly enrollment numbers. Why not investigate that for taxpayers???

  • Spack

    I’m so sick of hearing that the Mayor’s staff is getting these so-called pay raises! And, Joe, you’re really going against your own mission statement by saying that. They laid off 155 (or 157? I don’t remember from last night’s forum) workers and every staff member agreed to a PAY FREEZE for the four years they work in the Mayor’s office. Some of these workers are doing the work that 2 people did in the last administration (and those past). Do you think they’re getting double salary? Um, no.

  • CW

    I disagree with the Mayor saying “I didn’t create this mess and neither did you…” He was a City Councilman and Public Works Director when many of the labor agreements were entered into. The City needs to honor the contracts as agreed and negotiate better deals for the City now. One of the ways to get better contracts would be to fire the City’s Labor Relations Director AND his assistant. They negotiated these deals and presented them to the Mayor & Council.

    “Spiking” isn’t anything new in the Police and Fire pensions. Their pensions have always been calculated on ALL earnings not just base pay. Fahey allowed them to pile up compensatory time and overtime to “spike” their pension.

    As far as the taxpayer………..well, YOU trusted your politicians to have your back and didn’t pay attention to what was going on with the Labor contracts and other City spending. Taxes should have been increased over time and weren’t………now it has to be caught up because you don’t want your services or park, swimming pool or library closed.

    I could go on!

  • Veteran


    You are right on with your comments. Suttle had to be in the thick of budget discussions because Fahey was grooming him to be the next Mayor, ley alone the fact he was on the Council.

    From what I have read and snippits I have heard of the “town hall” meetings, Suttle showed his arrogance and disdain for “the people”. It was apparent that Mr. McAplin asked the question that everyone was thinking and Suttle poo pooed it.

    Huraah for Mr. McAlpin for speaking up, although it fell on deaf ears.

  • http://www.popomark@cox.net D Mark

    Why is it that Fire and Police contracts cause all the problems?

    Maybe it is time for the City Council to take a stand. Make sure that the Council takes a hard look at DROP in the Police contract because it looks to me like it just replaces “spiking”.

  • Jazzee

    DMARK: You are 100% right about the DROP program. Suttle KNEW as the union knew about pension underfunding. Suttle says this is the deal of the century getting rid of ‘spiking’ well he is ALSO enhancing the unions pension just as stupid fahey did by including the DROP. They want to retire at 45 (just new hires with 50 and 55) get a nice sweet pension and on top of that the big money DROP program and oh yeah a few 5-6% raises along with all that. How dare suttle say fahey gave away the farm he is doing the same thing. They can’t have it all we cannot afford it. The higher retirement age applies only to new cops so we have to allow 700 of them to retire at 45 before anything changes? From what I have read most would rather have the DROP than the stupid spiking because spiking doesn’t apply equally to all of them but the DROP does. I hope the council votes this down-let them go to court and get huge raises-then to pay off their raises start the layoffs. Suttle is a liar and unfortunately the so called professionals of the unions are much more interested in themselves than ‘public safety’ Public safety sounds good and oh yeah without 50,000 overpaid firemen you will die-it’s old and tired. The unions never acknowledge the good contracts the citizens have given them over the years and oh yeah PAID for them too. I wonder how many cops/firemen live outside Douglas County? would be interesting to know since they care so much about ‘public safety’

  • CW

    The City pension plans have been underfunded for over 30 years. The employees and retirees aren’t the blame for this one; their share is taken out of their pay every payday. The politicians have let the funding slide for years promising to catch it up later…………later is here now. (Like the social security system.)

    Jazzee – over half of the police and firefighters live outside the city.

  • Jazzee

    CW I hate to disagree but both sides city and union have known about pension problems for years-both sides are to blame. Answer this: when Fahey offered bonuses to police and fire in their last contract why didn’t the unions say no put it in the pension instead if they are so worried and quick to blame just the city.And I am not saying the city doesn’t have blame in this but it takes two and both sides are responsible

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