In case you hadn't heard, pickets by firefighters angry over negotiations with Providence Mayor David Cicilline kept Vice President Joe Biden and other administration officials away from the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in the Rhode Island capital this week.

Neal Peirce tells the story:

In addition to Biden, the array of officials told to stay away from the sessions included White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan and Deputy Secretary Ron Sims, Environmental Protection Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Attorney General Eric Holder, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis.

"We're shocked," said Thomas Cochran, executive director of the mayors association: "Every time you go to one of these meetings, somebody is out in front protesting about this or that... We had high hopes for this administration. In a way, the White House has taken sides with the union against the mayors."

Added Cochran: "This is the worst economic crisis we've had since the 1930s, and this will be first time ever when there's not one representative of the federal government here with us."


To assuage the wound it's inflicted, the administration invited mayors to a June 29 meeting at the White House. The mayors said no to that but are discussing a late summer meeting.