Mayor Jill Didier has vetoed the ratification of union contracts passed Tuesday night by the Common Council.
The council passed the contract vote 8-7 late Tuesday, with Ald. Jill Organ absent, after 4 1/2 hours of public comment and debate among the aldermen in a special meeting. Aldermen had voted down the contracts on March 15.
In a statement released minutes before noon, Didier said: "My objection is that this issue was fully vetted and all normal procedures were followed prior to the vote on the (sic) March 15, 2001.
"In addition, the decision to vote in favor of the ratification sets employee groups against one another. As the leader of this organization, I must strike a balance between the well-being of our workers, our responsibilities and expectations of the Wauwatosa community."
On Monday, Ald. Don Birschel said the mayor had told him she did plan to veto the measure if it passed, and the close vote no doubt strengthened Didier's resolve.
Ald. Jeff Roznowski had said Wednesday morning he thought it was likely that Didier would veto the measure. "She made her statement last night, and it was quite clear where she stood."
After the veto, he said, "What's unfortunate is we are foregoing the opportunity to cut some costs and save the city significant money right now."
"It's not a surprise to me," Ald. Craig Wilson said. "It's her right just as it was the council's right last night to vote.
"I know she said it was properly vetted before; the council heard all that, too. But I would assume that some of my colleagues voted as they did based on what they've heard since.
"That's my version of democracy; we've followed the rules, and (Didier) has too, as is her right.
"It'll come before the council again. I don't think much will change, but over the course of two weeks we will continue to play out the process."
Ald. Linda Nikcevich told Patch on Monday that she thought there would be a veto if the vote was close, and today said, "I'm disappointed. I agree that it was well-vetted – to the council – until a large and vocal group showed up at the first vote.
"The mayor had supported these contracts prior to March 15 and until she suddenly did a 180-degree turn, for whatever reason.
"She has to live with it as well as I do with my votes."
Although there is no way of knowing how Organ would have voted had she been present, had she voted against ratifying the contracts, it would have resulted in a tie on the council, and Didier would have then almost certainly have cast the deciding vote against the measure.
Didier made a strong statement of her disapproval of the do-over vote Tuesday night before opening the debate, saying the issue had been fully and properly vetted before the public and in the council when it voted down the contracts on March 15.
Ald. Bobby Pantuso said after the new vote that he expected Didier to veto it, and that given the close vote, it was unlikely the council could muster the votes to override. It is possible, however, that some members could change their votes.
Mayor Didier has not returned calls asking for comment.
The mayor had five days from the passage of legislation by the council in which to approve or disapprove by her signature. She choose to act immediately.
The mayor is also required by statute to state her objections to any measure she vetoes, and the Common Council can then attempt to override the veto at its next meeting. It would take a two-thirds majority, or 11 votes, to undo a veto.