With input yesterday from Colorado Attorney General John Suthers comes the first evidence that Ritter’s union executive order will cost taxpayers money after all – despite the protests of the governor’s office:
Suthers told the committee Wednesday that he expects leaders of other state agencies to seek out legal advice on how to handle labor-relation issues in light of the new bargaining power of state workers. That, in turn, will probably require his office to either contract with or hire lawyers with labor-law experience, he said.
“There is no question in our mind that there is going to be an increase in demand for legal services in our office,” Suthers said after the meeting.
Suthers, a Republican, said he cannot yet put a dollar amount on the extra costs.
The governor’s office seems to have been caught flat-footed on this one, as Ritter’s spokesman can only bring himself to say “we disagree” with Suthers’ analysis:
Ritter has said be believes the order will be cost-neutral. Evan Dreyer, Ritter’s spokesman, disputed Suthers’ contention that the order will necessitate extra funding.
“We, obviously, can’t speak for his office,” Dreyer wrote in an e-mail. “But we disagree this will create the need for additional legal staff or that type of analysis.”
First, the governor tries to tell us it’s not really collective bargaining. Then he stands stubbornly by the defense that it will be “cost-neutral” without having any sort of persuasive objection when clearly contradictory evidence is presented.
I believe it’s safe to say things aren’t proceeding as Ritter had planned.