A key part of Tacoma City Manager Eric Anderson’s 2011-12 budget proposal presented last month to the City Council hinged on a big assumption:
That, by the end of the year, the city would have ironed out contract agreements with its various employee bargaining units to resolve any outstanding pay restructuring issues and win labor’s agreement to across-the-board city wage freezes.
Anderson is relying on the savings from wage freezes, as well as eliminating 79 vacant city positions, to help him balance his $401 million budget — a spending plan some $40 million less than the one the council approved two years ago for the current biennium.
But that big budget “if” clearly had some council members worried from the get- go, when Anderson formally unveiled his plan.
“I’m concerned about the timing and whether we can count on those savings,” Councilman Jake Fey kvetched to Anderson at the time. “The budget is predicated on a lot of those assumptions.”
“We will proceed as fast as possible” with labor negotiations, Anderson assured him.
But with year’s end now fast approaching, it appears that at least one key union is nowhere near ratifying a new contract with the city.