Open government: Music video edition

By JASON MERCIER  | 
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Sep 30, 2017

It was a pleasure to honor Lincoln County Commissioners Rob Coffman, Scott Hutsell, and Mark Stedman with WPC’s 2017 Annual Champion of Freedom Award. The award was for their courage in being the first county in the state to “conduct all collective bargaining contract negotiations in a manner that is open to the public” and for “providing public notice of all collective bargaining negotiations in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act.” The award was presented at WPC's annual dinner in Spokane on September 27.

There was just one little hiccup, however. When presenting a major award (Fra-GEE-leh - It must be Italian), it is best to remember to bring the recipients to the award show. Failing to do so could result in hijinks like this, forcing you to make your award winners pileup in the back seat of a car "like cordwood," while rocking out to Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake: 

After this performance, perhaps the Lincoln County Commissioners will next be nominated for a MTV music video award. 

In all seriousness, we hope that all elected officials will take to heart the message from Commissioner Coffman when he said: 

"Us opening our union contract negotiations to the public, it's just the right thing to do. Not only for the taxpayers but the employees as well can see how their union wages are being spent in those contract negotiations. My question has always been, 'What does anybody have to hide?' The answer really should be absolutely nothing. With that being said, I would highly recommend that each and everyone of you in this room, to encourage all of your local and especially your state elected officials, to follow our lead and do what we did and open their contract negotiations to the public."

The Pullman and Tukwila school districts have already taken this step for open government. Who will be next? 

Additional Information
Senate committee discusses collective bargaining transparency
Local governments can improve transparency and accountability by opening secret collective bargaining sessions to the public