Across Pennsylvania, elected officials are passing resolutions urging the state legislature to act on paycheck protection legislation. State, county, and local governments are directly impacted by the costs and conflicts of interest inherent in collecting government unions’ political money.
Below is a list of bold government leaders who have passed paycheck protection resolutions to stop public resources from being used for politics.
Cumberland County: Commissioners Barbara Cross & Gary Eichelberger voted in support. Cumberlink reported:
“Collection of union dues from employee paychecks is not an appropriate use of county time and effort,” Eichelberger said. “Employees who choose to belong to the union then have the responsibility to ensure their own membership through their own efforts to meet their dues obligation. The county should not be expected to conduct the unions bookkeeping for them.”
Berks County: Commissioners Mark Scott and Christian Leinbach supported Resolution 41-14. Leinbach, who is also chairman of the Board of County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP), wrote a detailed op-ed explaining his position that was published in the Berks Mont News and the Reading Eagle:
“No matter how you look at it, the collecting of union dues by the county creates a conflict of interest. Imagine if this hypothetical scenario had taken place during my reelection campaign in 2011. As county commissioner, I’m involved in negotiating with government unions when contracts expire. If these unions chose to support my campaign, I would essentially be negotiating the use of county resources to collect money that would then be given right back to me.”
Schuylkill County: Commissioners Frank J. Staudenmeier and George F. Halcovage, Jr. voted in favor. For Halcovage, it was a matter of accountability. Via Schuylkill County’s News 13:
“We want to make sure that the unions are accountable to their membership.”
Lancaster County: Commissioners Dennis Stuckey and Scott Martin voted in favor. Martin took umbrage at the accusation paycheck protection is a targeted attack on workers. Via LancasterOnline:
“(Cutler’s bill) does not change employees’ obligation to pay dues… It’s who’s responsible for collecting it.”
Lehigh County: Commissioners Thomas C. Creighton III, Percy H. Dougherty, Michael Schware, Brad Osborne, Scott Ott, Lisa Scheller, and Vic Mazziotti supported the resolution. LehighValleyLive reports:
“I just don’t think the county should be the middleman between the employee and anyone else,” declared Commissioner Michael Schware. Schware also added, “I’ve had employees tell me they’re upset the union dues come directly out of their pay, because they don’t necessarily agree with what the union does.”
Commissioner Ott commented to the Pennsylvania Independent:
“It prevents the government from sort of stepping out of the shadows and picking the pocket of the person who worked so hard to earn that pay.”
Tioga County: Commissioners Erick J. Coolidge, Mark L. Hamilton and Roger C. Bunn unanimously passed a paycheck protection resolution.
Snyder County: Commissioners Joseph E. Kantz, Malcolm L. Derk III, and Peggy Chamberlain Roup unanimously passed a paycheck protection resolution.
Blair County: Commissioners Terry Tomassetti and Diane Meling supported the resolution. Via the Altoona Mirror:
Republican commissioner Diane Meling voted in support of the proposed resolution because it alleviates the county of a task that it is not required to provide.
“I can support this as a way to make our county as efficient as possible,” Meling said.
The resolution introduced Tuesday stated that a Blair County payroll employee devotes a full day’s work every two weeks to calculate deductions for union dues.
Franklin Regional School Board: The board voted 7-2 to support paycheck protection legislation. Board member Dennis Pavlik commented on why taxpayer resources should not be used to collect union political money:
“The union has a tremendous effect,” Pavlik said. “Millions of dollars are spent each year by unions lobbying Harrisburg. That’s why we have a pension crisis.”
Note: We will update this post as more elected officials voice their support for paycheck protection legislation that promises to empower public sector workers and level the political playing field for taxpayers.