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Author Topic: Budget Committee Splits Over Town Labor Contracts  (Read 883 times)
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GDouglas
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« on: February 21, 2007, 08:30:57 PM »

From the Londonderry Times

Budget Committee Splits Over Town Labor Contracts
2/21/2007
John Robinson
Londonderry Times
http://users.adelphia.net/~londonderrytimes/featuredlt.html
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Budget committee chair John Silvestro led off the group’s final meeting last week by stepping down and recommending the group promote vice chair Adriana Komst. The move, Silvestro said, was in recognition of Komst’s leadership while he was unable to participate because of health issues. But it also put Komst in irrevocable and unequivocal charge of a meeting that revealed deep divisions on the group.


The reason for the disharmony was the town’s proposed labor contracts with police officers, department heads, and public works and support staff employees. Each of those items was supported by the committee on votes of 4-3. And, said Komst, the minority had strong opinions about the vote.


“Some of the members felt that we should have done better, and that because a lot of concessions were made, they didn’t feel they could support it,” Komst said. “The others thought we had made great strides by capping the insurance buyout and increasing the employee health care contribution, and that put us in a great position for the next three years.


The amount of money that the town pays employees who don’t sign up for its health care plan has been a contentious issue in negotiations with all its labor units this year. An unusual number of collective bargaining agreements and fact-finder reports will be voted up or down at the March 17 town meeting. The three that the Town Council and the Budget Committee both endorsed include a giveback by employees on the buyout and the amount that at least some workers pay for health coverage.


The three that both groups recommend defeating are factfinder reports in which the factfinder did not call for givebacks as big as town negotiators want. Those include contracts for mid-level managers, firefighters, and the public works and support employees group. That last report must still go to the voters in March, but has been superceded by the collective bargaining agreement that both sides reached after the factfinder report came in.


Last week’s meeting also recorded votes on the remaining town warrant articles. The committee joined with the Town Council in recommending defeat of articles for a new north fire station and an open space bond, and agreed with the council in recommending passage of a road bond and spending from the expendable maintenance trust fund. Booth groups also support reprogramming money left over from disassembling the Reverend Morrison House on Gilcreast Road into putting it back together again.


Those votes were unanimous, but agreement in those areas seems to have done little to heal the divisions caused by the contract votes. Last week Komst said she could not rule out an effort by committee members from the minority side to sway voters at town meeting. “I heard there’s disappointment but don’t know what direction they’re going in,” Komst said. “Certanily the people who felt strongly will raise their concern and highlight what the cost impact will be. Whether it’s done in a more confrontational way, perhaps, I haven’t gotten that sense yet. employees. Each of those items was supported by the committee on votes of 4-3. And, said Komst, the minority had strong opinions about the vote.


“Some of the members felt that we should have done better, and that because a lot of concessions were made, they didn’t feel they could support it,” Komst said. “The others thought we had made great strides by capping the insurance buyout and increasing the employee health care contribution, and that put us in a great position for the next three years.


The amount of money that the town pays employees who don’t sign up for its health care plan has been a contentious issue in negotiations with all its labor units this year. An unusual number of collective bargaining agreements and fact-finder reports will be voted up or down at the March 17 town meeting. The three that the Town Council and the Budget Committee both endorsed include a giveback by employees on the buyout and the amount that at least some workers pay for health coverage.


The three that both groups recommend defeating are factfinder reports in which the factfinder did not call for givebacks as big as town negotiators want. Those include contracts for mid-level managers, firefighters, and the public works and support employees group. That last report must still go to the voters in March, but has been superceded by the collective bargaining agreement that both sides reached after the factfinder report came in.


Last week’s meeting also recorded votes on the remaining town warrant articles. The committee joined with the Town Council in recommending defeat of articles for a new north fire station and an open space bond, and agreed with the council in recommending passage of a road bond and spending from the expendable maintenance trust fund. Both groups also support reprogramming money left over from disassembling the Reverend Morrison House on Gilcreast Road into putting it back together again.


Those votes were unanimous, but agreement in those areas seems to have done little to heal the divisions caused by the contract votes. Last week Komst said she could not rule out an effort by committee members from the minority side to sway voters at town meeting.


“I heard there’s disappointment but don’t know what direction they’re going in,” Komst said. “Certainly the people who felt strongly will raise their concern and highlight what the cost impact will be. Whether it’s done in a more confrontational way, perhaps, I haven’t gotten that sense yet.”

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Glenn Douglas
Sean O'Keefe
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Sean O'Keefe


« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2007, 08:19:52 AM »

Last week’s meeting also recorded votes on the remaining town warrant articles. The committee joined with the Town Council in recommending defeat of articles for a new north fire station and an open space bond, and agreed with the council in recommending passage of a road bond and spending from the expendable maintenance trust fund. Booth groups also support reprogramming money left over from disassembling the Reverend Morrison House on Gilcreast Road into putting it back together again.


This needs a correction as the Budget Committee voted To Support the construction of the Northwest Firestation..the council did not..
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