The Governor’s office continues its secret negotiations with state employee unions, despite calls to open the process to public scrutiny. The outcome of negotiations (read: Inslee giving away taxpayer money to unions that gave a million dollars to elect him) will determine compensation contracts for state employees in the next (2015-2017) budget.
The public and media continue to be banned from attending the negotiations. Additionally, making matters worse, Jay Inslee has yet to comply with state law by consulting with the “legislative committee [the Joint Select Committee of Employment Relations (JCER)] created in the same law that authorized closed door contract negotiations.”
According to the Washington Policy Center (WPC), Inslee is not the first Democrat to ignore this particular state law. Legislative consultation has not taken place “since the law went into effect in 2002.” Senator Jim Honeyford, the longest serving member of the JCER, says he has “never been consulted by a Governor during secret contract negotiations.”
Honeyford told the WPC, “I believe that labor negotiations should be transparent and one part of that transparency should be the consultation with the legislative committee as required by law.” Following through on his belief, Honeyford is co-sponsoring a Senate Bill that would require public employee collective bargaining sessions to be open meetings (SB 6183).
In the meantime, the Freedom Foundation “is hoping the Governor and state unions will see the light and let the public monitor the process.” The group is pushing that hope by organizing “a “Public Money, Public Meetings” protest from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. at the Tivoli Fountain on the east side of the Washington State Capitol Campus. You can find more information here.
Of course, while the protest is open to the public, the meetings between the Governor and his campaign donors in the public employee unions are still private.