Criminal Union Contract In Pa.
There is a phrase in the outside world called “ass backwards”. Here is a story that reinforces this term.
A second phrase that is used frequently is – “Timing is everything.”
And a word that applies to Governor Wolf is “Secrecy.”
Late yesterday afternoon (Aug. 3) Penn Live posted a story titled, “Proposed contracts reached with Pa’s two largest state employee unions.”
The article reports that Governor Wolf negotiated pay increases for employees represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 13 and Service Employees International Union Local 668.
The first increase becomes effective on Oct. 1 – there are total of five increases – the last increase becomes effective on Jan. 1, 2019.
Oct. 1, 2016 to Jan. 1, 2019 is 27 months.
Oct. 1, 2016 2.75%
July 1, 2017 2.00%
Jan. 1, 2018 2.25% (Step increase)
July 1, 2018 2.50%
Jan. 1, 2019 2.25% (Step Increase)
Total increase 11.75% – over 27 months
Here is where the “ass backwards” phrase applies – The PA State legislature just voted on the 2016-2017 PA budget this past June. Where in the budget that was just passed are these increased labor costs factored and what is the total cost?
The Independent Fiscal Office is reviewing the contracts so we should know soon how much this will cost PA taxpayers.
Should the legislature have been given details so that we could evaluate these additional labor costs to determine where the money is coming from to cover these costs?
The Penn Live article states that “neither the union or administration would release details of the tentative agreement” – it is important to note that Governor Wolf has the sole authority to negotiate with the public sector unions representing state employees without any input or review from the legislature – the legislature simply gets handed the bill for these increases – this is “Secrecy” at its best.
On Aug. 3 on ABC 27 Governor Wolf stated that he is running for re-election – Governor Wolf gives generous raises to unionized state employees and then announces that he is running for re-election – so you see folks – “Timing is everything.”
My beef as a PA State Senator is with the current budget process in Harrisburg and the lack of transparency – what are the details?
If the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was a public company traded on the New York Stock Exchange, actions by the legislature, Governor Wolf, and his staff would be considered criminal acts and we would be led out of the Capitol building in handcuffs for hiding money and not disclosing off balance sheet liabilities.
It is important to note that I asked dozens of questions over the last year regarding the budget – I serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee – I asked a lot of questions and did not get answers to many of my questions – Governor Wolf and his budget staff operated with a large amount of secrecy.
The current budget process and its many faults could be solved by moving to performance-based budgeting.
I have a rule in my business world – if I ask questions – I expect answers – over my 350year private sector business career I have had times where I did not get all of the details and it ended up costing me money, and in some instances, a lot of money.
As a result of unanswered questions on the budget – I voted “NO” on the increased spending package of $1.4 billion and tax increases of $1.2 billion in June.
Last time I checked – voters in my district sent me to Harrisburg to do the right thing – I can assure you I will continue on that path.