Governor and union clash over path to NSP reforms

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LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts released a statement Wednesday promising to "evaluate alternative strategies" for implementing improvements in State Patrol accountability.

The governor says union leaders are standing in the path of needed reforms.

The governor cites a communication from the State Law Enforcement Bargaining Council (SLEBC). That communication states that the "SLEBC board has decided it is not in the best interest of our members to re-open negotiations of the 2017-2019 labor contract with the State of Nebraska. This decision is not out of disrespect for the Governor or any member of his staff but more a respect for the bargaining process agreed to by both parties."

Click here to read the complete letter.

In August, the Governor’s Office released a report which called for new measures to hold Nebraska State Patrol Officers more accountable.

In the news release Wednesday, the governor's spokesperson, Taylor Gage, said, “The Governor is focused on ensuring that the State Patrol is above reproach through reforms that provide transparency and accountability. This letter is a clear declaration from the union that they want to be a part of the status quo rather than work together to move the agency forward. The Governor’s team is evaluating alternative strategies to implement these necessary reforms.”

The August report recommended that the Governor’s Chief Negotiator at the Department of Administrative Services should immediately seek to work with SLBEC representatives to remove provisions governing internal investigations from the SLEBC contract. The report said: “It is in both parties’ interests to instill in the public confidence that [the] State Patrol’s conduct is above reproach.”