County urges Polis to veto collective bargaining bill
Last updated 5/18/2022 at 1:20pm
All five members of the El Paso Board of County Commissioners are urging Gov. Jared Polis to veto the collective bargaining bill passed by the Colorado General Assembly last week, saying the proposal will lead to cuts in county services.
“Allowing county employees to unionize is wrong for the residents we serve, our taxpayers, our organization, and our employees,” County Commissioner Carrie Geitner said, speaking on behalf of all five commissioners. “Collective bargaining will cost our organization at least $6.1 million dollars, which is the equivalent of filling 1.6 million potholes, chip sealing 62 lane miles of road, or hiring 62 new deputy sheriffs. This bill will force El Paso County to spend money it doesn’t have on a program we don’t need. Furthermore, citizens rightfully expect someone to answer 911 calls, plow roads during a snowstorm, and protect our young and elderly from abuse. That’s why we call on Governor Polis to listen to the bi-partisan coalition of opposition and veto this bill.”
Senate Bill 22-230 was introduced April 25, 2022—only 13 business days before the end of the legislative session. County officials say "the bill’s eleventh-hour debut circumscribed the public’s ability to engage on the legislation, with hearings and votes all occurring within only a few days."
“As the largest county in the state, we’re disappointed by the fact that the bill sponsors never once asked us for our feedback or sought to understand the impact this would have on our operations,” stated Board Chair Stan VanderWerf. “It seems as if only counties predisposed to agree with unionization were consulted, and it’s abnormal for such narrow discussions to occur on a bill that would have such a large impact on our operations.”