Monday, November 06, 2000

Covington endorsements awry

Labor council backs Moorman, not firefighters

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Mayoral candidate Bernie Moorman is improperly claiming an endorsement from the city's firefighters' union in newspaper ads he ran over the weekend, a union officer said Sunday.

        Buddy Wheatley, secretary-treasurer of Covington Firefighter's Local 38, said the union is upset about the ads because its members voted weeks ago to endorse Mr. Moorman's opponent, City Commissioner Butch Callery.

        “Moorman is well aware we are not endorsing. We are endorsing his opponent,” said Mr. Wheatley, also a member of union's executive board.

        “It was either done in an underhanded way or it was done in error,” he said.

        The flap is another flare-up in what has been a contentious mayoral election.

        When reached Sunday, Mr. Moorman defended the ad and said he had been told by Wayne Whalen, president of the Northern Kentucky Labor Council, that he could claim the endorsement of the firefighters because he has been endorsed by the labor council.

        The firefighters and other labor unions are part of the labor council.

        “We are organized labor in Northern Kentucky,” Mr. Whalen said. “When we endorse somebody they are endorsed by the locals that belong to the council.”

        The firefighters union should have followed the lead of the labor council and not endorsed Mr. Callery on its own, Mr. Whalen said.

        Mr. Wheatley scoffed at Mr. Whalen's comments.

        “The Northern Kentucky Labor Council should not have come to Covington without first consulting the local unions,” Mr. Wheatley said. “All unions have local autonomy.

        “Butch supports public safety and our issues,” he said. “He is for maintaining manpower levels, for updating equipment, and he was instrumental in getting a new firehouse for the Latonia area. That's why our members endorsed him.”

        Mr. Moorman said Sunday that the ad is accurate, but he still made an attempt to have it pulled from today's Enquirer.

        “I don't need a controversy like this at this late date in the election,” he said.

        Mr. Callery said Mr. Moorman is attempting to pull the ad, which ran in Saturday newspapers, “because he got caught.”

        “I think he did this on purpose,” Mr. Callery said Sunday. “He knew very well that the firefighters hold their own candidates' night and make their own endorsements.

        “"Bernie thought this would be effective, and because it was an ad running on the last weekend before the election nobody could do anything about it,” Mr. Callery said. “That's been the tenor of his whole campaign.”


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