June 26, 2009

Alert: The Never-Ending Contract Heads to the House Floor Today

Monique Chartier

Most contracts are of limited duration in large part because circumstances change and the terms of a contract could become infeasible for either party after a certain amount of time. This is no less true of a government contract.

Peculiar to public sector contracts, however, while any public employee is free to leave that job at any time for a job with better or different employment terms - in fact, every employee covered by that contract can do so - the management side is locked into the contract for its duration. In effect, then, a public contract, limited or perpetual, is really only binding upon management. Employees have the freedom to walk away at any time.

Late yesterday, the House Labor Committee passed S0713, a bill that

unilaterally mandates that existing teachers' contracts remain in effect until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

The bill is scheduled for a vote in the House today, though as Will Ricci at Ocean State Republican pointed out, no advance notice has been posted of this action because the General Assembly has exempted itself from Rhode Island Open Meetings laws.

The General Assembly need to give this bill a big thumbs down. Further, it must go on to repeal the law that permits municipal contracts to continue in perpetuity. (The contract between Providence and city firefighters is a notable though certainly not the sole example.) As it is impossible to predict economic conditions and the corresponding revenue stream needed to fund these contracts, perpetual contracts are patently infeasible. The only responsible legislative course is to halt their expansion and then set about revoking all such arrangements.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

I don't hold out alot of hope that this will be voted down. Let's face it, it's not the most fearless group, and it's loaded with past and present public employee union people.

I can only hope that one, the taxpayers will finally wake up and vote them out, and two, the good govt groups will find the flaws in this bill to kill it. It makes absolutely no sense.

This is just going to quicken the insolvency in the cities and towns, and RI goes down the drain.

Posted by: kathy at June 26, 2009 4:37 PM

Perhaps it's a blessing in disguise. It should hasten our end. Why suffer any more?

Posted by: Will at June 26, 2009 5:18 PM

If it should pass, I hope the Gov will veto it. That will give the citizens more time to straighten these lily-livered corruptocrats out.

Posted by: BobN at June 26, 2009 5:53 PM

The deal was already struck days ago. It gets to the house floor and the Senate will keep the flat tax intact.

The House will pass, the Governor will veto, and it will fail, but only for one more year.

Posted by: John at June 26, 2009 8:57 PM

The House has just recessed, but is not adjourned, which means that it can come back into session at any time. Majority Leader Gordon Fox just stated that they will NOT be coming back into session on Monday. However, he did state that they'll be coming back during "one day in July" in regard to consideration of Senate bills and said "your bills are not dead," to please keep paying attention! So far, so good regarding S-0713/H-5762.

Posted by: Will at June 27, 2009 1:50 AM

There is a big hulla-ballou surrounding this, even among the lock-step reps.
Palumbo (house sponsor) needs an ammendment,and (it appears) they scrambled all night to get it. In fact, when Fox presented the senate bills as a package, he mentioned it, and Corvese yelled; "Whoa".
There's a wrench in the gears on this one. Now they have some time to fix it.
Keep Watching!!!

Posted by: Steve at June 27, 2009 12:19 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.