Will Post Agreements Online Prior to Votes
For Immediate Release | November 30, 2010[Madison, Wisc..] The MacIver Institute believes the public has a right to know the content of the proposed state employee contracts and is asking members of state employee unions to send them copies, which the free market think tank says would then be posted online for public review.
“We believe the public should have an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of these agreements before they are voted on by the legislature,” said Brett Healy, president of the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy. “We’re asking anyone with access to the various proposed agreements to email them to us so that we can post them online for Wisconsin citizens to see.”
Healy is requesting the information be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full details of the contracts have not been released. The agreements, negotiated by the Doyle Administration and 19 collective bargaining units, must be ratified by the Joint Committee on Employment Relations and the legislature. In most cases, the agreements between the State and the public employee unions also require the ratification of the rank and file union members. It is members of that group whom Healy hopes will forward copies of the contracts.
“In the future, we’d hope it would be standard to have all state contracts online for a week before the legislature votes on them,” said Healy. “However, much like we did with public officials’ statements of economic interests, we’re not going to wait for the government to do the right thing. We will provide this information to the public using our own resources.”
Healy said the MacIver Institute is committed to greater transparency in state and local governments in Wisconsin. In the last two years MacIver has disclosed previously-secret agreements on the state budget, filed several open records requests regarding ongoing capital projects like the proposed rail line between Madison and Milwaukee, and published the Statements of Economic Interest for all 132 state lawmakers online.
“When the public’s resources are being used, we believe in the public’s right to know,” said Healy. “In this instance, we are optimistic our efforts will shed some light on these secret public employee union contract negotiations.”
Healy said the MacIver Institute will publish the contracts at www.MacIverInstitute.com as soon as they are received.