In a week where the campaign to support Issue 2 had already received two large endorsements from the Ohio Farm Bureau and the Ohio Manufacturers Association, a third major endorsement has come from NW Ohio as Toledo Mayor Mike Bell has endorsed Issue 2.
This endorsement has to be a tough one for the We Are Ohio folks to swallow. Not only is Bell an Independent, but his previous jobs have included being Toledo Fire Chief and Ohio Fire Marshal. Mayor Bell explains why he supports Issue 2:
We followed the process, and by following the process we got a protest. I’m the administrator of a city that is financially-strapped and I need to be able to have the tools in the box
The ‘process’ he’s referring to would be an independent fact finder’s report on resolving a contract dispute between the city and municipal employees that the AFSCME union rejected and protested. The horribly unfair recommendations of this independent fact finder? A 2-year pay freeze and increases in employee contributions to benefits and pension from 5 and 3 percent respectively to 15 and 10 percent.
The ongoing Toledo dispute is one that is playing out across the state in various ways, and shows why Issue 2 is so necessary. The fact is Issue 2 empowers local elected officials. Counties, cities and townships across the state are having to face shrinking revenues in a weak economy with few options available. As Mayor Bell said, he and other civic leaders need the tools to face these challenges, and Issue 2 gives them those tools. It’s at the local level that these benefits will be most evident, as evidenced by analysis of Senate Bill 5 that showed over 80% of the total savings from the bill, more than $1.1 billion, would come at the local level.
Mayor Mike Bell has first hand experience in trying to deal with runaway expenses in the current system. He’s seen how the system we have is broken, and that’s why he’s the latest voice urging you to Vote ‘Yes’ on Issue 2.