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Holden's Future Chief of Staff questions legality of service fees

October 31, 2001
By: Anna Nichols
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Bob Holden's future chief of staff said Wednesday that one of provisions of the governor's union-rights executive order may not be legal under state law.

The governor's order allows unions to seek service fees from the paychecks of non-union members to help fund union costs. The final decision for the fees would be left to agency directors under the governor's order.

But at a hearing of the Senate's special committee investigating the governor's order, Mike Hartmann acknowledged under questioning there was a legal question.

"We're trying to determine if we can (charge fair share fees) and if we can, how to do that," Hartmann said.

Hartmann is commissioner for the Office of Administration and has been named to become Holden's chief of staff later this year.

Hartmann also told the committee the governor's office is not certain which departments are covered by the executive order. He told the committee the administration is trying to determine if the order covers departments which are under the authority of independent commissions like the Mental Health and Education departments.

"I'm surprised somebody in the governor's office didn't know whether they were in direct control of departments," said Larry Rohrbach, R-California.

As they have from the first meeting Democrats boycotted the session.

Committee Chairman John Russell, R-Lebanon, said unions may have influenced the Democratic members not to attend.

"We can't sit on the same panel to discuss issues because big, powerful union says, 'Don't go to the meeting,'" said Russell.

Sen. Ed Quick, D-Liberty; Sen. Danny Staples, D-Eminence; and Sen. Wayne Goode, D-St. Louis County, were appointed to the committee.

Sen. Goode said he had other commitments and was unable to attend the hearing Wednesday. He said no one told him not to go to the hearing.