This Letter to the Editor is solely the opinion of its author. It does not reflect the opinion of this newspaper’s staff, ownership, or management.
By Angela Myers | Larimer County Clerk & Recorder
It is extremely rare for me to reach out to citizens in an effort to ask for action regarding legislation that is being contemplated in the legislature. Unfortunately, I am compelled to do so today because of a late bill just introduced in the Senate – SB22-230 Collective Bargaining for Counties. This bill essentially opens county government up for unionization. I believe it has the potential to be the biggest threat to election integrity I have encountered during my 20 years in the clerk’s office. Whether it includes binding arbitration and the right to strike or not, it potentially puts a powerful middleman where no middleman should be.
Please be aware that this bill was originally drafted to include special districts, school districts and municipalities. However, by the time it was introduced, it included only county government. Why? I would encourage every citizen to learn about the arguments made by the other entities that got themselves removed. I am especially curious about the removal of school districts – would they not have the most exposure to collective bargaining and, therefore, embrace it?
County government is arguably the most operationally efficient and effective in the state and, I believe, the nation. Personally, since becoming Clerk, I have pursued increases in salaries and pay grades and championed benefit enhancements for all my staff regularly. Our staff are among the finest in the nation and they are held appropriately accountable for their performance, which helps them all to rise. They are dedicated to serving the community they live in, and the stability and high calling of these positions are on par with their personal interests – it doesn’t get better than that.
The sponsors of this bill have not even attempted to provide a compelling problem they are trying to solve – it is yet another answer in search of a problem. A problem (or many problems) that it will undoubtedly cause. Especially in recent years, when we have seen political gamesmanship at its most pervasive on both sides of the aisle. Let’s don’t let our staff and your tax dollars become pawns in this gamesmanship.
Aside from my concerns for elections, this pits staff against themselves as taxpayers. Any additional costs (and this comes with the base cost of 1-2% of salaries to pay for the middleman before you even begin), must be borne by the taxpayer – making an already too expensive county government exponentially more expensive (especially over time) and putting taxpayer control yet one more step removed. How many other more compelling needs does county government, or you as a taxpayer, have for these dollars.
As your Clerk & Recorder directly answering to the citizenry and directly responsible for the administration of elections, I urge every citizen to communicate with their legislators immediately to ask their opposition to this bill. This is going to move through the legislature like a freight train, as late bills often do…leaving little time for proper discussion and vetting…please contact your legislators NOW!