Chief says bill would undercut local control

Hugh Johnson
Posted

Wheat Ridge Police Chief Daniel Brennan spoke in opposition to Colorado Senate Bill 25 at the Feb. 4 Wheat Ridge City Council legislative forum.

Brennan said that the bill gives more power to unions while usurping the control of local government.

Senate Bill 25 allows firefighters to unionize and form collective bargaining units (CBU) if a majority of the firefighters in a department wish to do so. Under current law, firefighters need voter approval to form CBUs. The bill won preliminary approval in the state Senate recently on a vote of 20 to 13.

The bill has sparked debate throughout the state. Brennan expressed his concern over the bill, stressing the need for municipalities to retain control over public safety issues.

“It’s (Senate Bill 25) a broadly based piece of legislation,” Brennan said. “It really gives all the power to unions and very little power to municipalities and local government.”

In response to a rumored peace officer bill of rights that may appear later in the year, Brennan argued that collective bargaining for salaries detracts from a local municipality’s ability to determine its own course.

Sen. Cheri Jahn, D-Wheat Ridge, and state Rep. Sue Schafer, D-District 24, attended the forum to hear council’s opinions on some of the state’s most pressing issues including gun control and Senate Bill 25. District 24 covers Wheat Ridge, Arvada and Edgewater.

Jahn expressed discontent with the bill’s initial progress.

“The vote on Senate Bill 25 was very difficult for me,” she said. “I was asked to give the governor more time to work on this bill. I do know that he is not happy with it the way that it is. You have every right to be upset, and I will accept that because it was a very, very tough vote for me.”