Unions, Business To Back ‘Strong Mayor’ Push

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Public safety unions and a group of local business leaders are reportedly gearing up to campaign for a “strong mayor” system in Sacramento after Mayor Kevin Johnson’s push in the summer of 2010 failed.

The Sacramento Police Officer Association is planning to sponsor the push to grant Mayor Johnson broader powers, and says it has received promises of support from the Firefighters union, the Metro Chamber and the so-called “Gang of 60” business leaders in Sacramento.

SPOA vice president Mark Tyndale says he hopes the coalition will silence critics who say Mayor Johnson is behind the push for more power.

“We’ve been behind this from the very beginning,” Tyndale said. “We’re certainly going to do everything in our power to get it on the ballot. We want the city council on board.”

The proposal would give Mayor Johnson and his successors the power to hire and fire department heads and to create city budgets. City council members voted down placing the measure on the ballot this past summer, a move that “shocked” Johnson.

Tyndale expects heavy spending by supporters and opponents of the new campaign in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Critics say the SPOA is spearheading the effort to gain favor at the bargaining table, but union representatives say they simply support the idea.

Johnson’s office said the mayor does not have any comment to the announcement.

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