Published June 21, 2009
Warren Mayor Michael O'Brien was the guest Saturday morning on "The Valley's Talkin' With Doc and Bert" on 1330-WGFT and it was clear from the outset that he isn't taking criticism from city union officials well. O'Brien was particularly perturbed with the comment from the firefighters union president, Marc Titus, that the ratification of a concession package was not a vote of confidence for the mayor. Indeed, Titus said that if such a vote of confidence were taken, O'Brien would be overwhelmingly rejected by the firefighters.
Asked Saturday whether he believed he would be re-elected if the election were held today, the mayor was adamant that he enjoys strong support from the "residents" of the city of Warren, the people who can actually vote in city elections. He pointed out that many of his critics in the police and fire departments don't live in the city and, therefore, cannot affect the outcome of an election for mayor.
It was a wide-ranging interview with the mayor, who is in the eye of an economic storm, and what came through loud and clear is that he will not cave in to the unions or city employees if he believes their hardlined positions would hurt the city.
O'Brien is veteran politician who knows his constituents. He is absolutely right in concluding that the residents of Warren who are not on the public payroll are sick and tired of government employees refusing to make the kind of sacrifices that those in the private sector have been making for years.
So long as he is seen as a champion of the people, he will succeed in his battles against the status quo in government.