Making Collective Bargaining Public

The SDGA board has agreed to submit draft legislation that would require public entities to negotiate collective agreements in public, and to require draft collective agreement contracts to be public once presented to both parties.  I am happy to announce that Representative Len Turcotte will be the lead sponsor in the House for these two bills. He was formerly a negotiator for a large pilot’s union and knows the dynamics as well as anyone. His support and advocacy will be invaluable. We are still looking for a Senator to be lead sponsor in the Senate simultaneously. By making the collective bargaining process transparent, the SDGA believes the public will have greater insight into the issues and more of an influence over the outcome via communication with their elective representatives during the process rather than an up or down vote once the contract has been ratified by both parties.

Requiring Proposed Budgets as Active Spreadsheets and Other Mandatory Information

Tony Piemonte, Representative from Sandown, is once again introducing a bill to require public bodies to provide budget information in active spreadsheet format. SDGA board member, Wayne Goertel, who drafted the aforementioned bill last year, has this year drafted an additional bill to require minimum standards of information in budgets given to elected officials and the public. Rep. Piemonte may delay the introduction of this second budget bill until the next legislative session.

How We Need You to Help

Once our bills are introduced, they will be assigned to committees who will conduct public hearings. Hearings take place in January and February. You can be certain that major union officials will be present to object to having their work on view.  It is also likely that the NH Municipal Association will object to budget transparency provisions. We will need SDGA members to testify in Concord at these public committee meetings or write letters of support for these bills. Comments are generally kept to three minutes and if we coordinate them in advance we can make quite a considered argument. The number of people who show up in support or in objection to bills does weigh considerably on the hearing committee members. If we are to prevail, we must show up in numbers. Contact me to keep informed. I will also send out an email to the membership when hearing dates are known. Please help change history in NH.  We can get this done!