Fact-Finding in State and Local Government: Using a Municipal Finance Expert in Collective Bargaining; Learn How the State of Idaho Uses Innovative Financial Analysis Techniques to Help Highlight the True Economic Condition of Local Government to Resolve Disputes with Municipal Firefighters

By Frankle, Alan W.; Herzfeld, Alan | The Public Manager, Winter 2003 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Fact-Finding in State and Local Government: Using a Municipal Finance Expert in Collective Bargaining; Learn How the State of Idaho Uses Innovative Financial Analysis Techniques to Help Highlight the True Economic Condition of Local Government to Resolve Disputes with Municipal Firefighters


Frankle, Alan W., Herzfeld, Alan, The Public Manager


State and local governments face an ongoing problem of defending their allocation of taxpayer money for public expenditures. Some taxpayers argue that most public expenditures are unproductive. However, these views are often the result of their political views on the limited functions of governments. There are many valid issues that municipal governments must address when spending taxpayer dollars. Usually, the element of competition so prevalent in the private sector is missing. Second, there is no bottom line to review to see if resources have been employed in a way that has created value for the municipal entity. There is a common opinion that municipal employees are not under the same employer pressures to produce. And finally, municipal expenditure decisions do not reflect the same decision processes as those made in the private sector.

All of these issues put pressure on state and local administrators to hold the line on pay increases for their employees, even though many of the services offered to their communities have little or no available substitutes. For this reason, wage negotiation matters may not be settled through the option of negotiation or good faith collective bargaining.

In the State of Idaho, only municipal firefighters and teachers have statutory bargaining rights, and the fact-finding process is the only statutorily-mandated collective bargaining dispute resolution process. In this case the fact-finding process is more like a trial than mediation. Usually, the municipality has the city treasurer or other city official present his or her view of the city finances. This article explores how the municipal finance expert can assist in the favorable resolution of such wage negotiation disputes by helping the fact finders to decipher and understand the municipal entity's audited financial statements.

Title 44, Chapter 18, Idaho Code--The Idaho Firefighters Collective Bargaining Act

In the State of Idaho, professional firefighters employed by cities and fire districts "have the right to bargaining collectively ... as to wages, rates of pay, working conditions and all other terms and conditions of employment." Idaho Code Section 44-1802. Concomitantly, Idaho Code Section 44-1804 requires cities and fire districts (hereinafter "cities") to engage in good faith collective bargaining with their firefighters' authorized collective bargaining representative (union). If the bargaining process stalls and the parties are unable to negotiate a mutually acceptable collective bargaining agreement, the city and the union may, by mutual agreement, seek to mediate the bargaining dispute through use of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service or some other mediator. If the parties cannot agree to mediate, or if voluntary mediation fails to resolve the bargaining impasse, Idaho Code Section 44-1805 requires that all unresolved bargaining issues be submitted to a fact-finding commission.

The fact-finding commission consists of three members: a member selected by the firefighters; a member selected by the city; and, a third member appointed by the director of the Idaho Department of Labor if the other two members are unable to agree upon the appointment of a third member. Pursuant to Idaho Code Section 44-1809 and 1810, upon convening, the fact-finding commission schedules and conducts a full evidentiary hearing, during which each party calls witnesses and presents documentary evidence in support of its position on each of the disputed issues. Following the hearing, and the submission of any requested post-hearing written submissions by the parties, the commission, by a majority vote, issues its written recommendations for resolving the dispute.

The City's Ability to Pay

When the unresolved issues involve wages or economic benefits, the fact finders must ascertain if the wage and/or benefit increase is reasonable and, if so, whether the city has the ability to pay.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Fact-Finding in State and Local Government: Using a Municipal Finance Expert in Collective Bargaining; Learn How the State of Idaho Uses Innovative Financial Analysis Techniques to Help Highlight the True Economic Condition of Local Government to Resolve Disputes with Municipal Firefighters
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?