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Tea partiers to Omaha’s new GOP mayor: Make bold budget cuts, big changes

By   /   June 10, 2013  /   60 Comments

Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

OMAHA—Ads on fire hydrants, firefighters working longer shifts, paperwork only in English, and no more city tax money for the homeless, the food bank, the zoo, community centers, anti-truancy programs and the holiday lights celebration.

Advertising on fire hydrants? It's just one of many changes a Tea Party group would like to see in Mayor-elect Jean Stothert's first budget.

It’s just one of many changes a Tea Party group would like to see in Mayor-elect Jean Stothert’s first budget.

Those are just a handful of changes an anti-tax and spend Tea Party group wants to see in Republican Mayor-elect Jean Stothert’s first budget, the 2014 budget, which is due out in July.

Nebraska Watchdog first reported that according to several city hall sources Stothert is facing a 2014 budget, handed her by Mayor Jim Suttle, that is anywhere from $10 million to $19 million in the red. Stothert has since told the Omaha World-Herald that the deficit is $16.5 million.

During the campaign Stothert, who will be sworn in Monday night,  promised more money for police, while also vowing to cut taxes and improve city services.

Asked by Nebraska Watchdog what cuts she is ready to make, Stothert said, “We have to get through the budget process first.”

Her wait-and-see strategy though appears to fall far short of the plan detailed by Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom. NTF—which was Tea Party before the conservative label became fashionable—has released a white paper, “Forward: A Plan of Action for City of Omaha.”

“The new administration must send citizens a clear message that it…will conserve and save instead of tax and spend, to manage the city using business principles,” says NTF.

Ripping through each department, NTF is pushing for changes many of which have rarely if ever been strongly considered.

Take the Fire Department where three dozen line saving items include an end to the current four-days on four-days off schedule which is “excessively expensive,” according to NTF. They’d like to replace 12 hour shifts with three 8 hour shifts arguing that some firefighters use the time off to “enjoy lucrative outside employment.”

Public Works would do less lawn mowing, tree cutting and street sweeping. In addition some street lights—it doesn’t say which ones—would be left dark at night.

And then there’s privatization for:

  • Snow removal.
  • City ice rinks, golf courses and marinas.
  • Management of the TD Ameritrade ball park “because the city is losing money on this venue.”
  • Major street resurfacing and maintenance.

Other recommendations:

  • Funding cuts to subsidized housing.
  • Abandon public art in parks.
  • Require employees to provide a doctor’s note after two sick days, to “end sick leave abuse.”
  • Lobbying the legislature to repeal the state smoking ban leading to repeal of the city’s anti-smoking ordinance “as the bans depress keno revenues.”

And then there are those taxes. NTF wants the elimination of the restaurant and cigarette taxes along with a lower wheel tax.

Contact Joe Jordan at [email protected]

To subscribe to news updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no charge, click here





Joe formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • Ricky Fulton

    Doesn’t a private entity; The Metropolitan and Convention Authority, already manage T D Ameritrade Park? And how do the nuts at the Nebraska Taxpayers for freedom know that the downtown park is losing money? MECA keeps their books hidden from the public despite the venues being owned by the taxpayers.

  • What_dat_mean

    Don’t have a cow, Ricky. You must have lost a lot of sleep since she won the election.

  • six Dollar Parker

    this group should change their name to (W)estomahans for (T)axpayer (F)reedom. or WTF for short.

  • nostothert

    You can’t make 8 hour shifts work without hiring more firefighters. We don’t work 12 hour shifts we work 24 hour shifts for an average of 56 hours, during our careers 1/3 of life is spent at the fire station. So i have no faith in their research.

  • BossMan

    They’re a non-profit. They write off the pencils and paper the write on. Bunch of cheap-asses.

  • FLSA ignorant

    Working firefighters anything other than 24 hour shifts will cost you more money. The City has protection under the FLSA act that moves the overtime hour limit to 53 hours instead of 40 on account of on duty sleep time. If they work 8 hour shifts you will have to pay them time and a half for any work hours over 40 instead if the current 53. Working them 40 hours will only cover 5 days of the week. Which means either you hire another shift of firefighters or give each one 16 hours of time and a half per week. Firefighters do not work 12 hour shifts or four on four off. Your ignorance and lack of facts are striking. I am also sure that MUD would allow the City to collect revenue by hanging signs on MUD owned hydrants. Please get your facts straight.

  • LarMond

    You know, figure it out on paper and you will see about 10 24 hours shifts per month is what the hose handlers work, with the other 20 days off. They do collect overtime in the form of FLSA -Fair Labor Standards Act. And most do work off duty, some paying into Social Security so those that do will collect some SS. So we need to be honest about what is going on here and look at all the applicants that apply for Fire Fighter jobs. Does anyone really believe it is because of a need to serve the public? No, it is about money, benefits, pension, steady work with lots of time off and being hailed as a real life hero.

  • JG

    LOL. Typical unrealistic gibberish from the right wing tea bags! What a laugher! Are they going to break out that 1/2 firefighter 1/2 cop add again? That was the best cartoon of the year!

  • Bronco Bama

    Repealing the smoking ban, tax on tobacco and privatization of services is a must as is eliminating the restaurant tax and wheel tax.

  • BossMan

    I’m sure you got you job based on how you would serve your fellow man. Oh wait, teabaggers only think of themselves. You people make great delegators but you’re all talk. Interns work for free, cops and firefighters don’t.

  • D. Mark

    Everything in English would be great, just think that a person will think he is living in the United States of America again! The people will have to learn that they cannot have everything that they want, unless they want to pay for it. Cut the budget, if we feel a little pain, so be it! The new Mayor must make sure everyone is treated the same and that means if you are committing a crime or any kind of law infraction, you will be caught and punished. AND THAT MEANS EVERYBODY!

  • Biff Pocoroba

    Ads on the fire hydrants! Great idea! Let’s also sell space on sidewalks, stop signs, outside walls of our city libraries! Maybe those privateers can also mow advertisements into the grass in city parks. And by the way, those privateers are looking for a profit; turning city services over to the privateers will NOT save money. Just ask the State of Nebraska how that worked out.

  • Joan

    You know as I read Joes report above about what the NTP wants, I thought I would throw up. It made me think of the people I have read about it Nazi Germany. Starve the people you don’t care about, don’t help them with shelter, to hell with giving our children a chance in life. Just take care of your own selfish needs, wants and desires. Shame on you! There is a thing called for the greater good, were you raised by the devil himself?

  • Joan

    Repeal the smoking ban? I don’t think so, you can kill your self but you do not have the right to blow second hand smoke in my space and cause me Cancer sir.

  • Laughing at Stupidity

    I agree with Joan. This group basically wants everything for themselves and wants every one else to be their slaves. They want the best streets in their neighborhoods and want the rest of us to drive on dirt roads. The remark about changing firefighter’s shift hours is not about saving money, It is about trying to prevent firefighters from being free. Many of the items on their “want list” are so far off base that it is obvious that they know nothing about what they are talking about. Let me suggest that anyone making over a million dollars a year pays 98% taxes. Unreasonable? Yes, just as unreasonable as their suggestions. The sad thing is that they will waste the mayor’s time trying to get their unreasonable requests and prevent the mayor from spending her time dealing with the city’s problem in a reasonable way.

  • What_dat_mean

    Hey Ricky, it is just a matter of hours before a new mayor is sworn in that is concerned how the city of Omaha spends taxpayers’ money.

  • 4mrcnclmn

    This group does have a good idea now now and then, but given control
    of this city, they would make it an economic wasteland

  • Made up name

    End the smoking ban??? These folks are nuts. Next, they probably want to have seat belts and air bags taken out of cars to save money.

  • Jazzee

    oh please owners can decide if they want to allow smokers or not and you can decide not to go there…so tired of the bashing of smokers ..they have paid for enough
    they wouldn’t be in ‘your space’ if owners were allowed to decide for themselves choice you know what you lefties love so much or is that just for abortions?

  • Jazzee

    it’s the firemen hours that are the problem
    it’s all the perks/benefits that we cannot continue to give them
    same with the police and in fact all civilian employees
    gov costs too much
    but hey where is suttle he told us the city was in good standing he kept that AAA for us……….how come we’re in such a mess????? anyone???? Jim????????

  • resistwemuch

    All you posters know that the Obama regime is monitoring everything you submit to this site. You people are worried about trivial crap at a level lower than even county politics. You should have more concern for liberties lost and the worst that is yet to come from the most corrupt presidency every to occupy the White House. I am aware and concerned to the extent that this will be my last post on this and every other forum that the regime monitors. Auf Wiedersehen.

  • Brock

    Wow now this is extremism at it’s finest. Most of these people are “Christians” and they want to do away with food pantry’s and money for the homeless. This is just nuts.

  • Dave

    Why are our local greedy teabaggers so concerned about what city employees do on their off time? It seems to me like the firefighters who do have “lucerative businesses” outside of their 40 hour work week, should be considered stars of capitalisom.
    Didn’t a recent state treasurer, who happens to be running for Republican governor, spend much of his state work time–on outside monetary gain?
    I dont think the baggers know what they want.

    I do think all city employees, including elected officials should have advertising on their clothing. Grocery? Bowling alley? Car wash? Pooper scooper?

  • Dave

    I don’t believe many of the teaparty/christians will be going to the place they think they will be going when they meet their maker.

  • Bam

    You’re taking a lot of liberty by calling it “work” – everyone knows you guys eat and sleep during your shifts. Get a different job if you want to start complaining.about it.

  • Bam

    Who says it’s YOUR space, Joan? If you don’t like being around smoke, don’t go to places where it’s allowed. I don’t like being around you behavior Nazis, but I’m not out to ban you from spouting your totalitarian notions of how people should behave to make YOU happy.

  • Bam

    So it’s safe to assume you’re a communist atheist. Figures.

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    And in the middle of their “night” the alarm sounds and wakes them, or just as they sit down to eat dinner they have to leave their meal sit and go to waste because the alarm sounds and within minutes they are on site responding to the emergency – often times in horrible weather conditions – while YOUR worthless carcass is still sawing zzz’s or you sit in front of the TV watching the game and stuffing your face. So what’s your point, Bam, other than to bitch and whine for bitching and whining’s sake? I SERIOUSLY doubt that you have what it takes to deal with the working conditions that firefighters have to deal with in the course of their jobs. I’d LOVE to see you try to pull a 2″ charged hose in -10* temps and a 35mph wind with the ground iced from all the spray and run off and do it in full gear. Or climb a ladder in full gear on a 102* 80% humidity day and walk up a roof after being on site for the past four hours fighting the blaze.

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    Figure it out on paper. Firefighters 10 24 hour shifts equals 240 hours per month. A desk jockey expert like you works what, 40-45 hours per week, or 160-190 hours per month. How many times at your job do you have to drop your meal before you can even take a first bite and go run off and put your life in harms way to bail out some idiot like yourself who left to go shopping and left a scented candle burning in their bedroom or forgot to clean the lint out of their dryer vent for the past three years? Hmmm?

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    Let’s start the budget cutting by OFD NOT responding to your house and Public Works NOT removing snow just in front of your house and MUD NOT servicing your house. That should save Omaha taxpayers about $40 a year and make the rest of us feel MUCH better that it is you, not us!

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    Or in the case of Stothert: Corporate sponsors. Just like a NASCAR driver’s suit!

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    And it’s safe to assume you’re a walking penis with ears. Figures. Especially since Dave’s comment above shows that he is neither a communist, nor especially an atheist, but merely comments on the obvious-to-all-but-themselves hypocrisy of the average Bagger Born Again.

  • Watching_From_Lincoln

    Promises, promises you tease.

  • FLSA ignorant

    Because if the stothert fire contract that is why. She through millions of dollars of additional expenses at the OFD and did not provide the funding for it.

  • Like you did?

  • HE means “Hell”, “Bum”ass.

  • Bam

    He hates the taxpayers, loves the government – that makes him a communist. He hates Christians – that make him an atheist. This ain’t rocket science, WTFFL.

  • Bam

    Oh, boo hoo hoo. Look at all the bitching and whining you just did there. Get a different job if you’re going to complain.

  • Bam

    “Hell” for you had to have been knowing you were called “Jethro” by the firefighters, Jim! They still laugh about that.

  • “Bum”ass. LOL

  • Oswaldo Le’mon

    A lot of good ideas here, some bad. Often times privatization for basic services doesn’t work out in cities that have tried it. I’d love to see her shake up OFD. She should insist that retired firemen stop mooching off the system, this hurts current firemen. I’d like to see her bring back the professional dress code for city hall employees. Was down there not long ago and if I see one more balding 45 year old office worker wearing jeans and hula shirts I’m gonna throw up. Also no visible tattoos for police and firemen. That’s a start.

  • Joan

    Jazze and Bam, who died and made you God. This is America, land of the free and the home of the brave. The majority rules not the minority. Smoke your little hearts out and when you are dying the horrible death of cancer donot go to the hospital and expect those “entitlement” funds to pay your bill.

  • Joan

    If you don’t want an abortion, don’t have one. You are free to chose.

  • Bam

    God made tobacco, Joan. And this IS America, where we used to be free to smoke or not smoke. God DIDN’T make behavior Nazis like you who think you have the right to decide how everyone lives, what they eat and drink, and what they can smoke. I hope you die of the black evilness that permeates under your cold behavior Nazi skin.

  • Bam

    If your mom had a choice, Joan, we might not have to listen to your rambling today.

  • Lincoln and Kansas City tried private ambulance service. Both cities when back to Fire based EMS (Lincoln was voted back to FIRE based EMS by the citizens). In fact Mr. Stothert testified at the Lincoln case against privatization of EMS. Also Mayor Stothert in a 2009 interview with Firefighters professed her position against privatization of EMS service.
    Retired Firefighters pay the same health care premiums as active. It’s in a LEGAL signed agreement with the city that cannot be violated. I trust that is clear enough for you, Mr Le’mon.

  • Joan

    Bam, my heart goes out to you. What a sad state of affairs when a “human being” such as your self thinks you can distort the fact or word freedom. Others have the right to go to public places and not be exposed to others smoke. It is the law. You are a bottom feeder of life to have so little compassion or respect for others.

  • Bam

    Joan, you’re going to roast in hell for lying! Your black heart doesn’t go out to me, any more than you want people to be free to live their lives as they see fit. You’re a bottom feeder for calling people bottom feeders!

  • Joan

    Don’t forget this was a Bush, Cheney program. Part of the Patriot Act. Love those two guys, spy on everybody and lie, lie, lie.

  • Joan

    My mom had a choice, we had the back alley

  • Bam

    You were born in the back alley? This explains much.

  • Joe L

    I’m a smoker and never really cared for the smoking ban. But it’s here to stay and there not going to repeal it. The new mayor created this new budget shortfall with her contract and now she has to fix. Bam you were the one that wished Joan would die. Was it not the Nazi that killed 7 million that they did not agree with or would not tolerate. Just something to think out

  • Joan

    Resistwemuch, isn’t it a great laugh how all those Obama regime scandals are turning out to be Darrell Isaa’s dreams. Three for three now have been proven false. Course Isaa would know a scandal, check out his background in the car dealership before he came to Congress.

  • Bam

    Typical knee-jerk liberal response: Blame Bush! God forbid we have a response to the worst event of domestic terrorism in US history, but twelve years later Joan is perfectly fine with Obama tracking ALL Americans’ communications and transactions. Hypocrisy, hypocrisy, hypocrisy.

  • Rich

    Though you may not understand the Capitalist notion of Pension, it is neverless NOT Mooching.
    Underfunding a Pension Plan is poor planning, and too much reliance on the Stock Market.
    It is OK to educate yourself with facts before you show that you do not understand the topic.
    That’s a Start.

  • Rich

    I am not too afraid of a Monitoring Program that can’t keep tabs on who has what information.
    It would take significant personnel to comb through all the details to find one insignificant conversation,
    By the way – Government Monitor #673925064, Good Morning. I trust you had a good nights sleep. I will be on six or seven systems today with 2 or three phone accounts. However, I will not be contacting any foreign or domestic terrorists…..today.

  • Oswaldo Le’mon

    Rich I understand the system better than you do. Our elected leaders signed labor contracts that were outrageous because it was promised the support of the unions.

  • Joan

    At first I was not even going to respond to your remarks as they are about as stupid as they get. But on behalf of women who fought for Roe Vs Wade, “we had the back alley” was the term used for abortions performed prior to Roe Vs Wade.

  • Bam

    I’m sorry your mom was going to abort you in a back alley.

  • How did a big city like Omaha end up electing a Republican in 2013?