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Marin Board of Supervisors reject public call for greater labor talks transparency

Yesterday was a huge disappointment. It was not a surprise, but we always hold out hope that one brave supervisor might break from the pack and speak up for the taxpayers. That did not happen.

There were no concessions, no 'admissions' that the general public is literally locked out of the deals made behind closed doors, not even privy to the final decisions being made for bills we must pay. It will continue to be business as usual at the Civic Center, with the final negotiated decisions being placed on Board of Supervisors' agendas two business days before they are rubber stamped by the supervisors.

The conflict of interest inherent in the Supervisors' actions should not be overlooked.

I knew what would happen from the moment I arrived because there was only one uniform in the chamber - Robert Briare, president of the Marin Firefighters' Association. Mr. Briare has been in attendance at every single government meeting when either of the Grand Jury reports (enhanced pensions or COIN) has been on the agenda. Usually he is accompanied by a multitude of firefighters, so his lone appearance yesterday seemed to herald the fact that this was a 'done deal' and no show of force was required.

After thirty minutes, or more, of handing out employee awards, the audience dwindled to a very few. Interest in this vital issue seems not to have resonated with taxpayers, and that is stunning.

The only person there to speak against the proposed county response (aside from CSPP) was Jack Nixon, foreman of the Grand Jury that wrote the report. His comments are in the article.

I hope that some of you will take the time to send emails to your supervisors stating your disappointment in their actions yesterday. Only two of them – both up for re-election with strong challengers – made gratuitous, self-serving statements about both CSPP and some aspects of COIN. They nevertheless fell into lockstep in a 5-0 vote to accept the draft response.

Email addresses are attached. You might also wish to thank Nels Johnson ( for two days of excellent coverage of COIN. I certainly do.




Board of Supervisors:

Damon Connolly

Judy Arnold

Steve Kinsey

Katey Rice

Kate Sears


Matthew Hymel


Jeff Wickman

Marin IJ - Opinion

for letters to editor


Pension Reform, COIN, labor contract negotiations