Jolt

Monday Jolt: Richard Conlin

By Afternoon Jolt September 12, 2011

Today's loser: City council president Richard Conlin.

This afternoon, Conlin was the lone "no" vote against an ordinance requiring employers in Seattle to provide paid sick leave to their workers. What was more galling than Conlin's vote against sick leave, though, was his tortured explanation for opposing it: He was "concerned that there may be some unintended consequences," including the possibility that managers could bargain away sick leave (the version of the law adopted today says sick leave can be part of union negotiations), and disturbed by the fact that the legislation provides workers at larger companies more sick leave than those at smaller ones.

Conlin's intellectual objections to the bill are certainly valid, but they're also the product of well-calibrated compromise between advocates for workers and employers.

By opposing the bill because it isn't everything he would have wanted, Conlin---typically the ultimate compromiser---is making the perfect the enemy of the good, and making himself look unwilling to do the hard business of legislating that he was elected to do.
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