Opinion: Gibbons on OPEN initiative

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MESSAGE FROM JIM GIBBONS 2010

Hello Friends,

This has been an exciting week for the campaign and for the state. The momentum is growing as June 8 inches nearer. The campaign celebrated the opening of its fourth office, this one in downtown Reno, and I have been hard at work with a new initiative to bring more transparency to government.

This new initiative, called the “Gibbons OPEN Government Initiative Petition” was announced Monday, May 10. The OPEN (Open Public Employee Negotiations) Government Initiative petition amends the Nevada Revised statues to subject collective bargaining agreement negotiations and meetings to Nevada’s Open Meeting Law.

Just like the state of Nevada, local government and school districts are struggling to reduce expenditures. I am very concerned that unions are forcing local governments to lay off employees rather than accept some form of salary reduction or other money-saving measures to save jobs. Currently, state law exempts collective bargaining negotiations from the Open Meeting Law. Generally, between 70 and 80 percent of a local government or school district is spent on personnel, therefore making most spending of public funds hidden from public view. The idea of my initiative petition is to change this. I want you to know exactly how your tax dollars are being spent.

I have tried twice to get the Legislature to change the law so negotiations are open to the pubic, and they refused both times. Transparency and accountability in government are essential to keep the public trust. We have until Nov. 9, 2010, to gather 97,002 signatures to place the petition before the 2012 Nevada Legislature. I promise to follow through with this initiative, and other open-government activities, if given another four years in office.

Sincerely,
JIM GIBBONS
A REAL GOVERNOR FOR A REAL NEVADA

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