TRENTON – The governing body of the capital is fast becoming a dictatorship, as on Tuesday the council voted to sue the city workers’ union for protesting against the council’s actions at a rally in Mill Hill last week.
Council attorney Edward Kalogi declined to comment on whether he would be a lawyer to file the lawsuit.
City law director Wes Bridges did not respond to a phone call asking for comment on whether he would authorize an outside law firm to file what some city officials consider a frivolous lawsuit approved by the governing body by 4-2 votes.
New board member Sonia Wilkins joined Vaughn, Katie McBride and Santiago Rodriguez in a “yes” vote to initiate the lawsuit, while Vice President Marge Caldwell-Wilson abstained.
The move was the latest escalation volley from West Ward’s Robin Vaughn, who sent an email this week urging Mercer County Attorney Angela Anafra to investigate local ASCME 2286 union officials, city officials and elected leaders who attended the 9th rally.
ASCME Local 2286 Ramona Thomas did not immediately respond to a phone call asking for comment.
But another union official remarked, “We live in crazy times” in response to Won’s latest far-fetched request, which some saw as tactics by authoritarian regimes to deter dissent.
The workers gathered to express their opposition to the council’s vote against the creation of a limit bank, which would allow the city to exceed this year’s budget expenditures to pay the salary increases agreed upon under the new contract.
Vaughn apparently explained their participation in the rally as stealing time in her message to a senior police officer.
She attached photos of people from the rally, including Ron McMullen, president of the AFSCME New Jersey Council 63.
Vaughn refers to a U.S. Supreme Court case concerning the ability of unions to charge membership fees from employees they represent in her arguments about the investigation.
“I request that your office and / or the New Jersey Office of Fairness and Responsibility investigate this action, the organizers, individuals, legal entities involved, and, if any violations are proven, bring to justice all those involved in full, ”Vaughn wrote on Tuesday.
A spokeswoman for Anafra’s office said the deputy’s request was being considered.
Mayor Reed Gusiora said the city has saved the last few years to fund a pay rise.
State law restricts municipalities from increasing annual appropriations by more than 2.5 percent without the approval of the council ordinance.
The city planned to exceed last year’s allocations by $ 5.8 million, or 3.5 percent.
The money is being used to raise or raise, as well as the wages to which workers were entitled while negotiating a new contract, Husiora said.
The capital bank will allow the city to increase appropriations to include those millions in this budget cycle without raising taxes, the mayor said.
“It’s just council speech from both sides of their lips,” Hussera said. “On the one hand, you always hear Katie and Robin say that in Trenton they work, they are the lowest paid in town. And here we just want to pay them the money already provided in the budget, and they will not let go of the limit.
Adding the insult to the injury, Hussein said, a Western Ward lawmaker now wants union officials to be investigated and possibly arrested for participating in their right to protest in the First Amendment.
“It’s the opposite of America,” he said. “She wants to stop collective bargaining groups from protesting for better working conditions.”