The Freedom Foundation has long advocated the need for common sense policies regarding transparency at the state and local level, and today we celebrate as rural Eastern Washington’s Lincoln County commissioners make history becoming the first county in the state to pass a resolution stating their insistence that collective bargaining contracts representing public employees be negotiated publicly.
In early August, one of the commissioners contacted the Freedom Foundation about a packet we mailed to every county commissioner and council member in Washington state. In the packet was a letter urging elected officials to “make transparency their 2016 New Year’s resolution,” a model resolution and ordinance regarding open meetings involving collective bargaining, and a legal analysis of such legislation.
This is a historic day for Washington. The dam has burst, hopefully inspiring other cities and counties all across the state to follow suit. The final stand will likely be at the state level, where our current governor is unlikely to allow any light into the room of contract negations between himself and his campaign financiers.
(Pictured from left to right: Matthew Hayward, Mark R. Stedman, Rob Coffman, Scott M. Hutsell)
Take action. Contact your local elected officials and ask them if they are negotiating employees’ contracts – usually the government’s largest single budget – in secret. And if they are, let them know it’s unacceptable to do the people’s business behind closed doors.
Open the meetings to the public.
More on Transparency in local government:
- FF: Many states allow public employees to negotiate collectively for their employment contracts
- FF: Eight Union Arguments Against Transparency in Collective Bargaining
- FF: Are Unions Agreeable to Hold Public Negotiations?
- FF: Transparency in Collective Bargaining Bill Passes Senate Committee After Contentious Hearing
- FF: State Newspapers Chide State Senate for Failing to Advance Collective Bargaining Transparency
- The Spokesman-Review: Lincoln County leads way on government transparency
- The Spokesman-Review: Sue Lani Madsen: Unions vs. Lincoln County – who’s afraid of open meetings?
- The Spokesman-Review Editorial: Any progress in disclosure laws worthy
- The Spokesman-Review Editorial: Our View: Open bargaining meetings between state, unions
- Seattle Times Editorial: Open state negotiations with unions to public view
- Tri-City Herald Our Voice: State labor negotiations should be open to public scrutiny
- Smarter Government Washington: Open government negotiations: why not?
- KNKX: Washington Republicans Blast State’s Collective Bargaining Process
- Senate Committee On Commerce & Labor: Washington legislature
- The Stranger: About The City’s Secret Negotiations with the Police Union
- The Stranger: “Near-Consensus” Among DOJ and Reformers That Contract Negotiations with Police Union Should Be Public
- The Stranger: City Attorney Wants Labor Negotiations with Seattle Police Union to Be Public, Not Secret
- The Olympian: “open meetings, taxpayers could decide whether either side isn’t acting in good faith.”
- The Bellingham Herald: Opening up jail negotiations would inform public
- UPI: Idaho Education Association President Sherri Wood supports transparent bargaining sessions
- State of Idaho: Every single voting member of the Idaho Legislature
- Oregon law: “Labor negotiations shall be conducted in open meetings…”
- Oregon School Boards Association: cautions about closing bargaining
- The Denver Post: Proposition 104, open teacher negotiations, up big
- Ellicott City Patch: Parents in the Thorp School District
- Ellicott City Patch: Teachers Union Proposes Open Contract Negotiations