RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- The City of Reno has been embroiled in a legal battle to layoff 32 firefighters. But Councilmembers Hillary Schieve and Oscar Delgado blocked an effort to continue to pay an outside law firm up to $600,000 to fight this challenge.
A Washoe County District Judge issued an injunction temporarily halting the City's plan to begin the layoffs on July 1. The firm Fisher & Phillips would have helped the City appeal, but that task will be handled in-house by the Reno City Attorney's Office.
Both Delgado and Schieve said it is time for the City to start negotiating again, instead of continuing to litigate. "As a former union person myself, I understand that things have moved a certain direction with the economy and now things have scaled back," Delgado said. "I think if we sit down with the union guys, they understand as much."
"At the end of the day, no one really wins," said Schieve. "I mean, public safety isn't winning, the City of Reno isn't winning, the only one that really wins are the attorneys."
Neither Schieve nor Delgado support any layoffs at all. "We're already short-staffed as it is and certainly not in public safety, whether it's the Police Department or Public Works," said Schieve. "Those are the things you have to provide in a City. That's what taxpayers are paying for."
Under the current plan, without layoffs will leave about a $3 million budget gap. Neither has a specific plan on how to address this, but threw out some ideas. "Maybe not paying off City Hall right away and then looking at options where we get reimbursed for providing services, such as public transportation," Schieve suggested.
Both also support examining priorities again and even re-arranging the existing budget plan. "At the end of the day, Council wanted to have a larger ending balance to take us farther out," said Delgado. "But we may have to postpone that and be in the postion we were in last year where we were pretty tight."
That could put a number of things on the table, such as supporting the Ace's baseball contract, to funding events like Artown. It remains to be seen if there will be a consensus on new priorities, or if those types of cuts can fill the budget gap.