Another round of secret negotiations between Jay Inslee and the state employee union executives (who put $1 million into his last campaign) kicked off in May. The last time Inslee held secret negotiations with the state employee unions, it ended up costing taxpayers more than an additional $300 million over previous agreements.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of our state’s practice of secret negotiations (a practice that only began in 2002) is the fact that the state Legislature — the people’s representatives — cannot make any amendments to the agreed upon contacts. Instead, lawmakers are restricted to a simple up-or-down vote.
Well, a new editorial in the Seattle Times calls for an end to the practice. Via the Times editorial board:
“Since 2002, the governor has negotiated state labor contracts in secret. Finalized contracts are presented to the Legislature for inclusion in the budget — an up-or-down vote.
“Negotiations should be more open so the public knows what’s on the table and what trade-offs are being made on both sides.”
The Times editorial board hits the problem with secret negotiations on the head when it points out the danger of special interests influencing politics — something that we have warned about time and time again. The Times:
“Given the huge influence of unions on state politics, secrecy gives rise to questions about how governors are influenced by political support they receive from unions they’re negotiating with behind closed doors.
“As Gov. Jay Inslee campaigns this summer for re-election, he’s simultaneously negotiating 26 separate contracts affecting around 49,000 state employees and 46,000 publicly funded, nonstate employees.”
Inslee and his team insist, “Negotiations are not influenced at all by campaign support.” And, we are all supposed to take their word for it.
Of course, the problem with taking their word for it is that Inslee’s campaign also benefits from millions in “dark money” contributions. That means there is no way to verify just how much special interests are pumping into Inslee’s campaign.
That’s just too much secrecy for comfort — especially considering it’s liberals like Inslee, who love to use government to reward their campaign buddies — we’re talking about here.
Stop the secrecy! Open meetings now!
Any word on when the full transcript of the negotiations which created our beloved Senate Majority Coalition will be released?
Maybe a real newspaper will do that soon?
Clay Fitzgerald says
The transcripts, if any, of negotiations between the state’s executive and the state employee’s unions are never released, they are secret. We only know the results when the wage/salary increases and the enhanced fringe benefits for the public sector employees are announced.
This sounds like a taunt from an angry liberal. Am I right?
Clay Fitzgerald says
So much for an open and transparent government in Washington State.