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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

 7:48 PM 

Sen. Fitzgerald: Contracts process "stinks to high heaven"

Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said he's voted for every contract in his career, but this time the process for getting to a vote "stinks to high heaven."

He said it was known a year ago that the contracts were languishing, and now with a Republican governor and GOP legislative majorities waiting in the wings, the agreements were pulled together hastily with lawmakers not knowing their true impact.

"It's about process, it's about forcing something through in the last few weeks that I'm going to vote no on contracts for the first time in my legislative career," Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald, who will take over as majority leader next session, said the flaws with the process will be lost after what occurred in the Assembly.

"No matter what comments I make, the story will be the Democrats in the Assembly drove up and pulled a member of the Assembly out of jail and drove him to Madison and allowed him to be the deciding vote," Fitzgerald said. "That's going to be the lede tomorrow. And that's sad."

Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, said Fitzgerald's vote against these contracts is ironic because he's voted for contracts in the past in which employees get pay increases, but now he's voting against contracts in which employees are taking pay cuts and contributing more for their benefits.

"Public employees have a real reason to wonder why they're being singled out as a scapegoat at a time when they're giving back," he said.


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