Nevada governor petitions to make union negotiations public

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May 28, 2010

Gov. Jim Gibbons

CARSON CITY, Nevada: Gov. Jim Gibbons isn't only running for office this year, as of May 2010 he started a petition known as the "Open Government Initiative Petition" for the 2012 ballot. The proposal calls for making collective bargaining negotiations between local governments and employee associations on salaries and benefits public. Specifically the initiative would remove exemptions, such as collective bargaining, from the state's Open Meeting Law. According to 2010 Nevada law only final approval of a bargaining pact is required to be conducted in an open meeting. The governor launched the petition on May 10, 2010.[1]

"The objective of this initiative and this process is to open up those negotiations to public scrutiny...What we’re doing is saying if they are going to deal with taxpayer funds that those negotiations need to be open to the public so people can see, and watch, and understand exactly how those dollars are being spent and why," said Gibbons.[2] However, some lawmakers and union officials are calling Gibbons' proposal a political move and a distraction from the governor's run for office. As for the proposed initiative Bruce Snyder, an attorney for the Las Vegas City Employees Association said he doesn't believe "true and honest negotiations" will take place if the initiative is approved. Open meetings, said Snyder, would lead to either grandstanding or pandering to the audience causing no real negotiation.[3]

According to reports, supporters will need to collect 97,002 valid signatures to send it to the legislature. If the legislature fails to act on the measure it will be placed on the 2012 ballot.

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