The leading proponent on Bernalillo County Commission, Commissioner Hart-Stebbins, had a very enlightening (and public) discussion about the County’s efforts to force businesses to comply with their proposed paid leave mandate lest they be “ineligible” for County contracts.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, Hart-Stebbins told Dale Armstrong of TLC Plumbing at the recent Commission meeting “It’s just kind of an interesting irony that we had somebody talking to us today opposing our sick leave ordinance who now is asking for county dollars.”
The comment was made in reference to a County contract for “on-call” plumbing services the Company provides for the County although Armstrong showed up to speak in opposition to the paid leave mandate being considered by the Commission (although his company provides paid sick leave).
The County Commission appears to wish to require any business contracting with the County to offer mandated benefits (like paid leave), but Hart-Stebbins’ public statement should be seen for what it is: a not-so-veiled threat against a prominent business leader who happens to disagree with her on policy.
To be fair, Hart-Stebbins ultimately voted to approve the contract in the end, but is this really the way government should operate? Finally, while emergency plumbing services are clearly an appropriate service for government to contract out, this episode illustrates the danger of big government. When businesses must kowtow to government officials lest they put their business in jeopardy they tend to “go along to get along.”