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Auburn to review ramped-up transparency policy with unions

Council OKs making negotiations more public
By: Jon Schultz, Journal Staff Writer
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The Auburn City Council voted 5-0 on Monday to send its proposed transparency in bargaining policy to the next stage and get feedback from the city’s labor unions.

Auburn Mayor Kevin Hanley, who brought forth the measure in December, said it will put the city at the forefront of transparency among the state’s local governments.

“I think collective bargaining is one of the most important things City Council members do,” Hanley said. “It really can determine both in a positive way and in a negative way the future of a city.”

Currently, the details of contract negotiations are only made public once the deal is finalized, and that comes with a one-year fiscal impact analysis.

Under the new policy, initial proposals will be made public after 30 days of negotiations, which begin 120 days prior to a contract’s expiration.  Talks will continue behind closed doors and council will receive status reports in closed sessions.

Before a deal can be reached, the tentative agreement will be subject to a two-week review period prior to final action taken by the council at a subsequent meeting.

Fiscal analysis reports would also be made available when the proposed deals are day-lighted.

Hanley said the new policy will allow the public to know what the proposals are and how much they cost early in the process, giving them time to let their council members know what they think. It also will give “rank-and-file” city employees an opportunity to have full knowledge of the proposals, he said.

The city will review the policy with its various bargaining units, allowing them to make any recommendations they wish to have considered before the changes are implemented.

The city and the Auburn Police Officers Association are currently in negotiations for a new contract.

 

Jon Schultz can be reached at jons@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jon_AJNews