Who says money can’t buy influence at city hall?
There were lots of reasons given Monday for why the city had little choice but to give its firefighters 7 to 10 percent raises — even though all other city employees got far less.
But the unspoken reason for the 4-3 vote — split along party lines — can be traced back to campaign donations. The four Democrats who voted “yes” on the fire union contract received more money from the firefighters’ union than any other entity when they were elected. And the three Republicans who voted “no” got nothing from the fire union. Take a gander:
• Councilwoman Jayne Snyder got $13,500 from the firefighters’ union, plus more than $7,000 from other unions, during her campaign last year.
• Councilman Gene Carroll received $13,500 from the firefighters’ union during his campaign last year, plus another $9,000 from other unions — accounting for nearly half the money he raised.
• Councilman Doug Emery got $5,000 from the firefighters’ union during his 2007 campaign — accounting for about one-third of all the money he raised, plus another $1,000 from other unions.
• Councilman Jonathan Cook (who tends not to raise much money for his campaigns) got $5,000 from the firefighters’ union during his 2007 campaign — plus another $500 from one other union.
The remaining three Republicans on the council received no donations from the firefighters’ union in their last campaigns.
When the firefighters’ union is responsible for putting up half the money for your campaign in some cases, do you think those candidates don’t feel somewhat beholden to the union at a time like this? Emery and Cook are up for re-election in the spring — do you think they want to risk losing the union’s support?
The legislation now goes to the desk of Mayor Chris Beutler — whose own campaign received $10,000 from the Lincoln firefighters’ union, and another $10,000 from a state firefighters’ union.