EL PASO COUNTY — County employees across almost all of Colorado can now come together to ask for higher wages, better benefits, and more.
On Friday, Governor Jared Polis signed a bill into law allowing county employees, in counties with more than 7,500 people living there, to collectively bargain.
"County employees literally were the backbone of keeping our communities going during the pandemic. They deserve to have a stake at the table when they do work every single day that many of us would never be able to do," said Daneya Esgar, a Colorado State Representative who sponsored the bill.
However, over 170 elected county officials from all over the state signed a letter to the Governor on May 19 asking him to veto the bill.
The letter read in part:
Governor Polis, SB22-230 does not purport to solve any problem. In fact, it creates huge problems for counties who will have no choice but to cut services and jobs to pay for the cost of mandated collective bargaining.
12 El Paso County elected officials signed the letter, including the Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman.
"It's a large unfunded mandate... I think everyone comes from different perspectives, but they all realize the challenges that it brings to how they govern," said Broerman.
The bill was introduced on April 25, 2022. The concerned county officials also believe the bill was pushed through too quickly, but Rep. Esgar disagrees.
"We've been talking about this bill for nearly two years now, we have extensive stakeholder work, we worked with different organizations that represent the different counties across Colorado with input from them. We changed the bill significantly with suggestions that came directly from the counties."
The law will go into effect on January 1, 2023. The bill in its entirety can be found here.
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