CityBeat has been trying to confirm the hottest rumor swirling in political circles since last Thursday, but the information was already the talk of the town at today's annual AFL-CIO Labor Day Picnic at Coney Island: Local union leaders have rescinded their endorsement of Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Berding, a Democratic incumbent.
Reliable party sources first told us about the news late last week, shortly after the action was allegedly taken at a Sept. 2 union meeting. Since then, we've left multiple messages with Doug Sizemore, the AFL-CIO's executive secretary-treasurer, via e-mail and telephone but Sizemore hasn't responded.
Mayor Mark Mallory and the other Democrats on City Council are displeased with Berding over his alliance with council's Republicans and Charterite Chris Bortz about how to handle negotiations with the police union, and whether the threat of layoffs should've been used during recent talks to get the union to accept a furlough and other concessions to help avoid a budget deficit. Berding also has been the odd man out on other budget decisions, and has criticized some Democratic council members on TV and radio in the past.
But the biggest setback for Berding might be yet to come.
Some party precinct executives have called a special meeting of the Cincinnati Democratic Committee this Saturday, and one topic on the agenda is "party integrity." Multiple sources say a group of precinct executives will present a motion to rescind the party's endorsement of Berding, and instead give it to Councilwoman Roxanne Qualls, a Charterite who also is a registered Democrat. CityBeat first reported on the effort in early July.
Berding, a Bengals executive, is seeking his third council term.