Mayor Jerry Sanders said on Thursday that a legal memo issued by City Attorney Jan Goldsmith that alters the process when labor unions and the mayor reach impasse diminishes his power at the bargaining table.

Former City Attorney Mike Aguirre had opined that the City Council could only approve or reject the mayor’s final offer. But Goldsmith issued an opinion in January saying the council could also send the two sides back to the bargaining table with an alternative of its own.

Sanders said he didn’t agree with Goldsmith’s opinion:

I don’t think I’ve been quiet about it, I disagreed with him, but it’s a legal opinion he issued and I don’t expect we’ll agree on everything. My concern about it has been that there’s no reason the labor unions have to negotiate with me and the negotiators if they know they can go right to council and work out a deal.

But the mayor said there’s nothing he can do about the opinion now, and he’ll wait until after this year’s negotiations are finished to try to change the process. Goldsmith has also advocated changing the policy, saying it was never changed when the voters approved the strong mayor form of government.

The mayor supported Goldsmith in his successful bid to unseat Aguirre. Back in the day, Sanders was allied with Aguirre, a relationship that quickly deteriorated.


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