What’s up with my no vote on labor contract?

Tonight’s Union Democrat article on the county facing a big budget deficit may lead some to conclude that I am opposed to staff’s voluntary concessions to reduce their compensation in light of the economy and tight budget. Not so. I think it is a wonderful thing to see the folks in this county step up to bat in times of adversity and county staff is certainly doing that. I voted no because the concessions may not have been enough.

Here’s what I sent to the paper tonight, asking them to print a correction in tomorrow’s paper:

“I appreciate the concessions made by the executive/confidential bargaining unit, but voted against approving the contract. We don’t yet know how much and where the state will cut or how negatively the county’s budget will be impacted.

The direction we gave on the 09/10 budget was grim and we have heard we may have an additional $3 million in cuts from the state. I fear the compensation package approved Tuesday will cause us to regret having acted in advance of better information.

As generous as the employees have been, we are heading into even more desperate economic times. We need to be very, very lean to provide the highest service levels possible to the residents of Tuolumne County. I argued negotiating more concessions from the executive/confidential staff in closed session on Tuesday, but as evidenced by the 4/1 outcome, did not convince my colleagues.”

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