Sunday, September 23, 2007

Can rules help get us out of this mess?

The early campaigning in the municipal election really underlines our argument about the lack of rules to create a level playing field for all.

The transit union, despite making the worst investment ever when they attempted to buy Alderman Helene Larocque in 2004, has decided to back two candidates -- Larocque and Al Koenig -- with $10,000 donations this time around.

Rank-and-file bus drivers must be wondering what their president, Mike Mahar, is doing with their union dues. Maybe it sounded like a good idea at the time to have an alderman on their side, but since Laroque was kicked out of negotiations on the contract since she was obviously tainted, you'd think they would have learned their lesson.

Mind you, Mahar is the same union president that forgot a cardinal rule of bargaining -- if you work to rule for months on end and no one notices, you're not in as strong a bargaining position as you thought.

One only hopes that the firefighters' union, deciding whether to endorse candidates, chooses to stay out of the fray.

All of this, though, is really about a lack of rules. Koenig can run for council while simultaneously serving as a union boss. What happens is he wins? Will he negotiate a new contract with himself?

This is why we believe that campaign finance reform is so essential -- capping donation amounts and requiring immediate disclosure of all donations will go a long way towards opening up the system.


Anonymous said...

I have one correction to the above story.

Koenig is maintaining his position with the CPA only during the campaign. This was at the request of the CPA board of director's due to Koenig being involved in several matters that would have to be put on hold, which would inconvenience those involved.

He has acknowledged that if successful, that it would require his resignation from the CPA, and retirement from the police service, therefore there would be no conflict, or "negotiating with himself" for a new police contract.

The initial media report was somewhat incomplete.

Anonymous said...

I've heard rumour that Ceci will be running for the Liberals in the next election. If so, that would be as bad, if not worse, as Koenig maintaining his position with the CPA.