Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Thanks for the Donation; Now Let's Negotiate Your Contract

I hope public opinion has changed on city council members receiving endorsements and donations from the unions with whom they negotiate contracts.

In my 2009 city council race, I declared that I would not seek or accept endorsements from the fire fighters and police unions because it would compromise me as a council member deciding what pay and benefits to approve for those entities.

That's no knock on those unions. They should try for the best deal they can get, and council members should be perceived as free and clear to engage in an adversarial process in which they are getting the best deal they can for taxpayers.

The fire fighters union endorsed my opponent and gave him $10,000. I made sure the voters in my district knew that. He is the fire fighters' candidate. I am your candidate. Which one do you want looking out for you in the next contract negotiation with the fire fighters?

Obviously it didn't matter enough to enough people because I lost.

Now the council is talking about an ordinance. I won't quarrel with that, but it's too bad it takes an ordinance.

Of course the question now is, will the unions let their beneficiaries vote for such an ordinance? If such an ordinance passes, the unions lose their means of gaining leverage with the ultimate approvers of their contracts.

No comments: