Council President John Haas had given the resolution to Portsmouth City Solicitor Mike Jones, who assembled the components and it was presented by Third Ward Councilman Nick Basham at the last minute.
First Ward Councilman said he could not support the council’s legislation since Monday’s resolution was referred to as opposing Senate Bill 5, but also covered prevailing wage, which he said is not covered in SB 5.
“I have already written to Sen. (Tom) Niehaus and (State Rep. Terry) Johnson, expressing my position on SB 5,” Johnson said. “However, this doesn’t really address SB 5. It addresses portions of SB 5. The way this is written is an all or nothing proposition, and let’s face political facts, that ain’t happening. This does not reflect good faith negotiations. That is what the unions have been stressing all along, that they have been trying to negotiate with our government and governor in good faith, and that part has been rejected.”
He said that according to Niehaus there are negotiations underway to significantly change what Johnson referred to as an “anti-union” bill.
“But I would have much preferred us to have an opportunity to look at this,” Johnson said. “Not to necessarily weaken it but to recognize that this is the new reality existing politically and economically in the state of Ohio — not only our state and other states.”
Haas then read all seven sections of the resolution to clarify the purpose of the document. He mentioned that the resolution also covers something the city passed last year dealing with community workforce agreements.
Two amendments were proposed, including adding the statement, “And hereby specifically oppose Senate Bill 5,” to Section 4, which was eventually adopted, and to remove the section dealing with the Ohio School Facilities Commission, which Johnson said is a totally separate issue from Senate Bill 5.
“This document here is really not about Senate Bill 5 the way I read it,” Second Ward Councilman Rich Saddler said. “It is something saying that the City of Portsmouth recognizes collective bargaining and minimum wage laws.”
Saddler said he did not believe that anything needed to be removed from the original wording of the bill.
“I regret that we cannot come to a consensus on this,” Johnson said. “If it hadn’t been about SB 5, which is the issue before the Legislature, not the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission. I regret that this cannot be a unanimous vote.”
Johnson withdrew his request for an amendment, and in the end the vote was 5-1 with Johnson’s the lone no vote.