Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

April 2, 2014

RYAN CUMMINS: How to deal with public-employee unions

An open letter to Indiana's city councils

By RYAN CUMMINS

gUEST COLUMNIST

The problem: A public-employee union has no check, no market mechanism, to temper its power. The solution: You, the councilman.

A free market theoretically provides a check on private-sector unions except that government so often steps in to establish special rules. Couple that with a general body of law biased toward union labor and we face a situation where public-employee unions (PEUs) can and will lead local and state governments and their taxpayers to ruin — think San Bernardino, Harrisburg, Detroit, Illinois.

But again, you can change that. The check on PEU excesses is the councilman, a principled representative of the taxpayer and all private citizens. You, legally and practically, are our only effective protection.

That said, I would recommend as a tactical matter not confronting the local unions directly by questioning their legitimacy, existence or certification. That sets up a scenario of you vs. them, management vs. employee, and that is the unions’ game.

Approach the issue from your constituents’ point of view. Indeed, it is your job to represent them in the purchase of local government services.

You must assess the purchase of that service the same way you assess the purchase of an item or service you make for yourself. That means the seller, the union or its administrative sponsor, must justify the price, make clear what will be done and detail every other aspect of the potential transaction.

In the private sector, if you, the buyer, object to some part of a transaction, you would tell the seller “no.” The same is true even when the seller is a municipal government or a public-employee union.

These sellers must meet your standard, and they should be willing to move heaven and earth to do so. It is not unreasonable to expect them to prove the value of what they are selling. And as a councilman, the buyer, it is your responsibility to continuously, tirelessly, persistently demand that the seller prove this value — every single time — or there is no sale. In the context of municipal government, this may mean a lot of “no” votes.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • RAY DAY: Some laws will do us in In my opinion, we have made laws that are contrary to what they were intended. And this writer is going to let you in on his thoughts about them. One of the things that has been processed incorrectly is the child abuse law. When you tell the parent h

    July 26, 2014

  • MARK HEINIG JR.: Will Pence, Ritz and their playmates ever grow up? Many Hoosier Republicans are curious about Gov. Mike Pence’s future. He probably is, too. Assuming he doesn’t wish to return to Congress or retire from politics, he must decide whether to seek another term as governor of Indiana or run for president

    July 25, 2014

  • LEE HAMILTON: Why congressional incumbents keep getting re-elected It’s no news that Congress is unpopular. In fact, at times it seems like the only real novelty on Capitol Hill would be a jump in its approval rating. In June, a Gallup poll found members’ standing with the American people at a historic low for a mid

    July 25, 2014

  • SEN. JIM BUCK: New laws offer help for kids Families with children who have special needs often face difficulties finding the best care or treatment for their specific circumstance. During the 2014 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly passed several initiatives to assist these fam

    July 24, 2014

  • BILL STANCZYKIEWICZ: Youth sports leagues are on troubling decline An important youth development activity is looking to end a recent losing streak. Participation in organized youth sports leagues for baseball, football, basketball and soccer declined by 4 percent between 2008-2012, according to a report in the Wall

    July 24, 2014

  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: Expiring term heightens urgency of legislator's mission State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying i

    July 23, 2014

  • CECIL BOHANON: Spend down surplus? Been there, done that Back in 1998, the state of Indiana had more than $1.3 billion in surplus funds in its general account. This was about 57 days of state spending. The state had total surplus funds of more than $2 billion that was over 24 percent of its annual operatin

    July 23, 2014

  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: Expiring term heightens urgency of legislator's mission State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki had plans for her return to the General Assembly next January.The two-term Republican from Kosciusko County wanted to exert “full force” to roll back a law that prevents the children of undocumented immigrants from paying i

    July 22, 2014

  • TOM LoBIANCO: Indiana Democrats deal with divide on education On the face of it, the battles between Democratic Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz and supporters and staff of Republican Gov. Mike Pence have been a unifying force for Indiana Democrats. But the scrapping has exposed a deep rift within the party o

    July 22, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: Is Evan Bayh contemplating another gubernatorial run? This could be the saga of “LeBron Bayh.”Like a thunderhead brewing in the distance, you could see this one coming. This was the progression: former state Democratic Chairman Dan Parker announces he will not become a candidate for mayor of Indianapoli

    July 21, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller