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Sides dig in as North Las Vegas budget deadline nears

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Updated: 5/29/2012 7:35 am
NORTH LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- The budget battle in North Las Vegas rages on between city leaders and union bosses.

With just four days left to balance the budget, there is no time to rest.

While one union prepared for collective bargaining talks set for Wednesday, North Las Vegas Mayor Shari Buck carved some time out of her weekend to address the national media.

For the past week, News 3 has been trying to get buck for an interview. But you could find her on Fox News Channel this weekend. Buck called out North Las Vegas unions who have made concessions to save money in years' past.

“But this year for some reason they're really digging their heels in,” she said. “I think there is a feeling of entitlement that they deserve these pay increases, and we've asked them just stay where they are.”

Buck says a public safety emergency could erupt if unions don't agree to freeze their pay, and instead, 217 employees are laid off.

Over the weekend, the conservative group "Americans for Prosperity" launched a website and put up this sign just outside City Hall blasting unions.

Union boss Leonard Cardinale mocks the movement and calls it a distraction from the looming ax.

“Negotiations are a process, and you have to sit down to negotiate,” he said. “If you sit down and you just try to intimidate and threaten than that's not really negotiation.”

The North Las Vegas City Council could vote Friday to dissolve certain parts of union contracts. It's the city's nuclear option if unions don't budge. Cardinale heads the police supervisors association, which will sit down with city leaders on Wednesday.

“I would tell citizens that it's actually the unions that are standing up for them,” Cardinale said.

Buck is not buying it and says if unions don't like it, they can leave.

“If these employees are so unhappy, I would invite them to go ahead and look in the private sector to go look for a job,” she said.

City leaders say unions are invited back to the table any time before Friday's deadline. But if no one budges before then, that last-ditch effort will be to suspend the contracts.

Buck says she'll stop at nothing to balance the budget.
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