To the editor:
Clark County is facing an unprecedented shortfall in revenue, which has resulted in hundreds of layoffs and the decision to leave hundreds of other positions unfilled.
The time has come for all parties involved to negotiate in good faith and work together to achieve solutions that will assist us in emerging from this recession in the shortest time frame possible.
Prior to the past fiscal year, the county sought wage concessions from our labor partners, and most groups worked in conjunction with staff and union leadership to provide meaningful concessions. The same situation has evolved this fiscal year, only the shortfalls are greater and the pain much more intense. Several labor groups have already reached new contract terms with the county and have provided significant concessions.
The negotiations with Firefighters Local 1908 have not gone as well. It is apparent that the negotiations have, in fact, reached an impasse. That being the case, and the new contract ultimately headed for arbitration, I am proposing that the process be made more transparent, so as to let the members of Local 1908 know what their leadership is proposing, and also to let the taxpayers of Clark County know what is being asked.
Because an impasse has been declared, I propose that both sides release to the public their last offer that was on the table. This is the only way that the taxpayers, the elected officials and the union members will truly know what is causing this impasse and how best to resolve it.
I know that this is not typical of what happens in negotiations, and it is not the normal process of negotiating. But these are not typical times, and they are certainly not normal circumstances. It is my hope that this increased transparency will lead to better negotiations and, ultimately, a contract that will serve the firefighters and — even more importantly — the taxpayers of Clark County, who are paying the bill.
The writer, a Democrat, represents District A on the Clark County Commission.