Council holds special meeting, votes down sick leave ballot summary after Mayor’s veto

Voting


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque City Council called a special meeting Monday night to discuss the controversial sick leave ordinance that residents will vote on come October.

It seems that councilors still can’t agree on how the seven-page ordinance will fit on a two-page ballot.

Councilors thought they had this issue squared away two weeks ago,  when they passed an amendment, proposed by City Councilor Klarissa Pena, that asked the city clerk to put a summary on the ballot, along with the full text of the ordinance. The summary would appear in the same font size as the bond questions, but the full text would appear in a smaller font size. The amendment also asked the city clerk to provide each voter with a “voter guide” of the complete proposed ordinance.

However, the mayor vetoed that proposal saying the summary would mislead voters and sent the council back to the drawing board. In a statement, he said, “I am compelled to veto the resolution and urge the city council to pass another version that includes only the full text of the proposal.”

So the council did just that Monday night. They also passed another amendment proposed by City Councilor Brad Winter.

It places the second question on the ballot, completely separate from the Healthy Workforce Ordinance, that will ask voters if they want the city council to draft an alternative sick leave policy.

The question reads, “Shall the governing body of the City of Albuquerque promptly enact a sick leave ordinance in a manner that promotes public participation, public hearings, transparency and fairness so that a wise and workable sick leave policy is adopted and effective no later that January, 1, 2019?”

The Healthy Workforce Ordinance will go into effect within 90 days if passed by voters. However, Councilor Winter stressed his sick leave ballot measure is only an advisory question that will appear on October’s ballot. Meaning, if that passes, it lets Albuquerque City Councilors know that voters want them to come up with a sick leave policy.

“I think the business community was upset because there’s some things that really affect them and a lot of them do want sick leave for their employees,” he said. “So basically what this is, is that we’ll go through a process and get public input and transparency to develop a sick leave policy.”

Nearly 25,000 Albuquerque voters signed a petition and that initially put this ordinance on the October ballot. The ordinance would require Albuquerque employers to provide paid sick time off to full and part-time employees.

The city clerk should have a sample of what the ballot will look like when the council meets back up in August.

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