A Showdown in Brook Park between Cash-strapped Local Government and Public Employee Unions: Brent Larkin

By Brent Larkin, The Plain Dealer

Call off the search for ground zero in the inevitable Armageddon that will pit Greater Cleveland’s cash-starved local governments against entrenched public employee unions.

The site of this political detonation is almost certain to be 6161 Engle Road.

That’s where, one Tuesday evening sometime in the next few months, Brook Park City Council will consider a proposal from Mayor Tom Coyne that will be the municipal version of Senate Bill 5.

As Ohioans well know, when the need for governments to rethink the way they serve taxpayers collides with the interests of organized labor -- particularly safety forces -- public discourse between the two turns ugly.

Now, at age 65, one year after resurrecting his career in a remarkable election that saw voters return him to an office he held earlier for 20 years, Coyne is back doing what he’s always done best: driving an agenda of change that sometimes rattles powerful vested interests.

This time, Coyne has picked the biggest fight of his long career. It’s a fight few expect him to win, but one that probably every single mayor in Ohio will be hoping he does -- even though few, if any, will have the courage to say so publicly.

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