Another round of secret negotiations between Jay Inslee and and the state employee union executives who put $1 million into his last campaign kicked off this week. The “negotiations” — which, like last time, will be more like “concessions” on the part of our green governor — concern the unions’ 2017-19 contract.
Just to be clear, that means Inslee has control over the contract cost to taxpayers for the 2017-19 budget even if he is not re-elected come November. And, he is free to run these negotiations in secret — so much for his pledge to run a transparent administration.
The situation for hardworking taxpayers gets worse when you consider that the state Legislature — the people’s representatives — cannot make any amendments to the contacts that result from the secret negotiations. Lawmakers are restricted to a simple up-or-down vote.
Last time around, Inslee walked away from his secret negotiations with a 2015-16 contracts that cost taxpayers more than an additional $300 million over the previous agreements. Given what is at stake (and for the sake of government transparency), it’s time for the state Legislature to take back the power to determine the compensation costs for state employees — that’s how it was prior to 2004 and that’s how it should be again.