If you are a City of Hamilton resident, you have fourteen city charter amendments on the ballot in addition to two countywide levy renewals. In fact, City of Hamilton voters have so many issues on the ballot, they take an entire separate second page to constitute the ballot (all combined, front and back, the ballots in Hamilton take four pages.) This could lead to an enormous drop off of voting on these issues. Every vote on these charter amendments matter. Because of this concern, the Butler County Democratic Party decided to take a position on two of these issues that might otherwise escape your attention.
VOTE NO ON ISSUE 12
Article 12, Section 3 (12.3) of the Hamilton City Charter states that any member of the fire department is entitled to twenty-four hours off-duty after they have been on duty for a consecutive twenty-four hours. It further states that every individual firefighter “shall receive an additional period of twenty-four consecutive hours off duty in each period of six days so that no individual member shall be on duty more than a total of ninety-six hours in each consecutive period of twelve days each.”
These provisions have been in the City’s charters since 1954. They have prevented firefighters from being forced to staff dangerous and unhealthy amount of hours. By all accounts, these conditions have worked fine both for the City and its firefighters. That’s why previous attempts to remove it from the City Charter failed and been rejected by past City Charter Review Commissions. It is actively opposed by at least one former Hamilton fire chief.
The city claims that it has no intention of not continuing these policies if Issue 12 passes in the city’s collective bargaining agreement with Hamilton IAFF Local 20, which represents these firefighters. However, if they don’t oppose these policies, why take them out of the city charter. If Issue 12 passes, then the firefighters have to use their leverage to bargain for something that had been guaranteed them under the City charter in addition to other terms and conditions they are trying to bargain for. Terms the City could argue voters already rejected in continuing by passing Issue 12.
Issue 12 is a classic example of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We hope City of Hamilton voters join us in supporting the brothers and sisters of IAFF Local 20 and reject Issue 12 and protect our firefighters.
VOTE YES ON ISSUE 13
Simply put, if passed, Issue 13 would add sexual orientation and gender identification to the classes of individuals protected against discrimination for city government employment under Section 18.10 of the existing City Charter. The existing language of the charter already protects individuals from employment discrimination by City government based on “race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, ancestry, or age, except that age limitations may be required for original appointments to the positions of police officer and firefighter to the extent permitted by law.”
Passage of Issue 13 would be a historic moment for the LGBTQ+ community in our region and consistent with the 2020 Democratic National Platform which calls on the enactment of such protections not only in government employment, but all employment as well as in housing, medicine, education, public accommodations, etc.
We recognize the historic opportunity passage of Issue 13 locally would mean for the advancement of LGBTQ+ equality and what a terrible message its defeat would mean for the City of Hamilton. We strongly urge that the citizens of Hamilton vote YES on Issue 13.
We hope you find this information helpful and that you join the Butler County Democratic Party and vote NO on Issue 12 and vote YES on Issue 13.