Domestic partner bill dead for now

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Mayor Mike Bell said he thought the domestic partner bill was a "home run," expecting city council to approve his plan to extend medical and life insurance benefits to domestic partners of city employees, both same sex and opposite sex relationships.

However, Mayor Bell says the majority on council is forcing him to do something illegal, and he won't agree to it.

Before approving the ordinance, council voted 8 to 4 on an amendment proposed by Councilman Mike Collins. The Local 92, the firefighter's union, has its own, separate health care plan so the city can't force them to extend domestic partner benefits.

Collins' amendment re-opens contract negotiations so the union could study how the change could affect them. The city's law director had told council right before the vote that it is an illegal action.

"This is an improper amendment because it goes too far. It clearly violates section 30 of the charter," said city Law Director Adam Loukx.

Mayor Bell says council has no authority to force the mayor to re-open negotiations with the Local 92, and although he still supports domestic partner benefits, the frustrated mayor said he'll veto the entire legislation:

"I think it's a little different to have our law director tell you that you shouldn't do something and to have them vote on doing it anyways that one, I am having a hard time figuring out."

The mayor said even if council gets 9 votes to override the veto, he won't re-open negotiations.

"Then it becomes an issue between the mayor and the bargaining units and council is out of it. And if the mayor is that disingenuous as it relates to the authority of council then he can speak to that himself," Collins said.

Collins hopes cooler heads prevail and they won't have to start all over, but the mayor says his veto notice goes out tomorrow.

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