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Snyder conceals contingency plans for failed labor negotiations

The office of Gov. Rick Snyder has declined to release contingency plans related to possible layoffs or firings in the event negotiations with unions representing state employees fail to achieve millions in planned for concessions.

The Lansing State Journal requested the plans under the state’s Freedom of Information Act. But on Friday the state declined to release the documents, citing an exemption in the law which allows a public body to withhold notes of a purely advisory nature.

In a letter dated Sept. 14, Gary Buckberry, FOIA coordinator for the state Department of Technology, Management and Budget, said the budget proposals were being withheld because they are “notes within a public body” of an advisory nature that precede a final agency decision.

“This exemption does not apply unless the public body shows that in the particular instance the public interest in encouraging frank communication between officials and employees of public bodies clearly outweighs the interest in disclosure,” wrote Buckberry, citing the state exemption.

The Snyder administration is trying to get state unions to concede $145 million in negotiations. Unions have said that the governor and his administration would be better off looking at contractors and managers in state government workforce.

In preparation for the negotiations, Snyder’s office directed all state departments to prepare to fire staff as of Oct. 1 if concessions are not met.

The Journal has appealed the decision.

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