Council votes 15-2 to OK sick-leave bill; veto chances unclear

Posted: October 14, 2011

CITY COUNCIL yesterday passed a bill that would require the city and employers with city contracts, funding or leases to provide earned paid sick days.

The bill, introduced by Councilman Wilson Goode Jr., passed, 15-2, with Councilmen Jack Kelly and Brian O'Neill voting against it. Supporters of the bill cheered, giving each other high-fives.

"A person who works 40 hours a week and 52 weeks a year should be able to live with dignity, fair wages and benefits, especially if the job is supported by taxpayer dollars," Goode said.

His bill comes after a sick-leave measure by Councilmen Bill Greenlee and Darrell Clarke died when they couldn't get the votes to override Mayor Nutter's veto. Nutter commended the effort but said it would hinder local businesses.

It's not yet clear if he plans to veto Goode's bill. Council would need 12 votes to override a mayoral veto.

"We'll take a look at it when it gets to our desk," said mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald.

Under the plan, the following entities would be required to provide up to seven earned sick days a year: public agencies receiving contracts from the city after July 1, 2012, for $10,000 or more; city financial-aid recipients; recipients of city leases; concessions; franchises; city subcontractors that employ more than 25 workers; nonprofit service contractors receiving more than $100,000; and for-profit service contractors receiving $10,000 or more a year with annual gross receipts of more than $1 million.

City Finance Director Rob Dubow has cautioned that the bill would cost the city money and would affect contracting responsibilities and job creation while possibly minimizing the number of contractors. The chamber of commerce has expressed similar sentiments.

But, Goode said, "There is no proof there will be any costs to the city." He added that other amendments to the law have been approved.

In other news:

* Council unanimously approved a bill introduced by Greenlee that would prohibit landlords from terminating a lease based on a tenant's status as a domestic-violence victim and require that they terminate or adjust the lease upon the victim's request.

* Councilman Frank DiCicco introduced a bill that would expand the commercial entertainment district to allow the Sugar House Casino to begin a second phase of development including a multilevel parking garage, more surface parking and an expansion of the casino to allow for more table games.

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