Officials from 37 counties call for veto of collective bargaining bill – The Fort Morgan Times

Elected officials from 37 counties signed a letter calling on Gov. Jared Polis to veto Senate Bill 22-230, a bill they say serves the public expansion of unions at the expense of service delivery. county services.

More than 250 elected officials — largely commissioners — signed the letter of opposition to the bill drafted by Senate Speaker Stephen Fenberg, D-Boulder, Senate Majority Leader Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City and the majority leader in the House. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo.

“Despite countless attempts and pleas with the drafters of the bill for the opportunity to discuss the bill and communicate about the potential impacts of mandatory collective bargaining and, more importantly, what it would mean for our constituents, we have been ignored,” the letter from Colorado Counties Incorporated begins.

The bill was backed along a 20-15 party line, voted last week at third reading in the Colorado Senate, with Republicans opposed. If enacted in the final days of the legislative session, the legislation would allow nearly 40,000 public employees to unionize and have the potential to bargain collectively.

In addition to county commissioners, in many counties the elected assessor, clerk and recorder, coroner, surveyor, treasurer and sheriff signed the letter requesting a veto of the legislation before it arrives at the governor’s office.

“Governor. Polis, all local government associations, from cities to districts, oppose this bill, along with the undersigned county elected officials,” reads the ICC letter. “It does not purport to resolve In fact, it creates huge problems for counties who will have no choice but to cut services and jobs to pay for the cost of mandatory collective bargaining.

The letter complains that the editors invited cities and higher education “to the table, successfully convincing the editors to exclude their organizations from the bill.”

Exemption for cities and higher education was allowed, the letter theorizes, because of the “huge” expense that would be imposed on them, “just like counties.” According to the bill, the argument that works in higher education is that the unfunded costs of collective bargaining would require the costs to be passed on to students.

“Despite our efforts and the efforts of our organization to secure a seat at the table, a bill was introduced in the Senate [not the House] with only two weeks until the legislative session,” reads the letter to Polis and members of the Colorado General Assembly. “All but one of our Democratic senators, 20 of 21, have signed on as co-sponsors.”

While the bill’s budget impact could be quite small for the state — it’s expected to cost $419,716 in the first fiscal year and rise to $592,079 in the second year — Republican Party Chairman Kristi Burton Brown, projects a much bigger impact than the budget note. in the bill indicates. She predicts it would cost the 61 included counties a combined $400 million.

Logan County Commissioner Byron Pelton is planning a price tag of at least $400,000 to set up the framework for collective bargaining in his county. The three commissioners and three other elected government officials from Logan County signed the letter, and the three commissioners from neighboring Morgan County also signed the letter. Many of the 37 counties all have commissioners signing against the legislation, called by the ICC “the largest unfunded mandate on counties in Colorado state history.”

The bill takes the decision to collectively bargain away from local employees, elected officials and voters, and compels it instead, the county’s elected officials complain.

“At the Senate Committee, just 36 hours after the bill was introduced, the sponsor said it may be ‘the best stakeholder bill,’ although he had no enough conversations with county commissioners via Colorado Counties Incorporated,” the CCI letter read.

The few Democratic counties that support the legislation have never widely endorsed collective bargaining in their own counties, even though they have such authority, the letter points out.

“This represents a massive usurpation of local authority and local control by the government closest to the people: the counties,” the letter continued. “It’s a testament to a poor legislative process – a massive unfunded term at the end of the legislative session.”

The letter ends by asking for a veto on the measure.

In an earlier Fort Morgan Times article related to the bill, Morgan County Commissioner Jon Becker said, “The Legislature decided to listen to a particular interest in relation to every voter in Colorado.” And Burton Brown has hinted that Democrats are serving union bosses at the expense of the will of the state, accusing them of “attempting[ing] to buy their tickets. Voters should be angry at this cruel betrayal.

She points to a 2021 Colorado Sun report that the AFL-CIO would withhold campaign donations from Democrats until the end of the legislative session and may withhold donations entirely until they are treated as genuine partners.

A Fort Morgan Times review of Fenberg’s latest and greatest 2020 top contributors report found two contributors listed: $1,000 from Colorado WINS (Workers for Innovative New Solutions) and $1,000 from SEIU Local 105. Moreno’s list endorsement organizations ahead of its final Senate race included back-to-back endorsements by the AFL-CIO, Colorado WINS, SEIU Local 105, and Pipefitters Local 208. Major contributor reports have yet to be filed for 2022 , but Burton argues that many Democratic campaigns are similarly funded.

“This bill defies the will of local voters and takes away the ability of county commissioners to do the job our residents elected us to do,” said Weld County Commissioner Scott James. “The double burden of cutting county services while increasing county budgets is a ‘no-win’ scenario for residents under normal circumstances – but it’s an even crueler irony that this bill is being considered in these times of rising inflation and global uncertainty.”

Counties with elected officials signing to oppose the legislation include Alamosa, Arapahoe, Baca, Bent, Cheyenne, Conejos, Crowley, Delta, Dolores, Douglas, Elbert, El Paso, Fremont, Garfield, Grand, Huerfano, Jackson, Kit Carson, Kiowa, Lincoln, Logan, Mesa, Mineral, Moffat, Montezuma, Montrose, Morgan, Otero, Park, Phillips, Pueblo, Teller, Prowers, Rio Grande, Washington, Weld and Yuma.

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