The governor of Nevada is acting like the governor of California. He’s calling the public sector unions’ bluff. Faced with an impending budgetary crisis, he’s doing one of the only things he can do.
From Business Week:
“Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons launched an initiative petition Monday that would force union negotiations with state or local governments to be conducted in public. “Taxpayers have a right to know how tax money is being spent and why,” Gibbons said during a news conference in Carson City. The “Open Government Initiative Petition” removes exemptions, such as collective bargaining, from the state’s Open Meeting Law. Existing law requires only that final approval of a bargaining pact be conducted in open meeting.”
You might imagine that the SEIU would be….what’s a nice word for it?…..very, very upset. BusinessWeek continues:
“Amber Lopez Lasater, spokeswoman for the Service Employees International Union, which represents about 18,000 public sector employees in Nevada, called the governor’s proposal a “cheap shot.” “Clearly, throughout this economic crisis, Gov. Gibbons has expressed nothing but disdain for public employees,” she said. “A few months ago he wanted to do away with collective bargaining all together. “We have nothing to hide,” she said. “But having negotiations become a public spectacle isn’t a solution.”
Barry Smith, executive director of the Nevada Press Association, called the proposal a “good idea.” “This is a lot of taxpayers’ money that’s being discussed and I think it ought to be done in front of the people paying the bills,” he said.