Ted Siefer's City Hall: Mayor presents his budget, raises union concerns
"For Chief (James) Burkush and the Manchester Fire Department," Gatsas said in his speech, "this number can be met and the safety of the city (can be) maintained with a 42-man complement, with no layoffs." Jeff Duval, the president of the Manchester Professional Fire Fighters Association, said reducing the complement would go against a section of the union's contract. The firefighters, he said, gave up additional overtime pay in exchange for maintaining the complement at 46. If the complement drops below this number, higher overtime rates would kick in.
A contingent of aldermen have already accused Gatsas of picking on the fire department, and as the budget talks progress, you can expect them to seize on the complement size.
Given the grim budgetary situation, last week probably wasn't the best time for the Manchester Police Department to dust off a proposal to have the Office of the City Solicitor take over juvenile prosecutions.
Willard said that the department would prefer to reassign the police officer charged with juvenile prosecutions to be a second adult arraignment prosecutor.
The problem with the plan, as Solicitor Tom Clark told the committee, is money.
"My attorneys are tapped out. They take work home, and they never complain. . In order to handle the workload, I would need another attorney and administrative assistant. What we're looking at would cost $165,000."
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Every so often, a well-meaning club or nonprofit group comes to the city with a request to waive its permit fees for the use of a facility or park for a special event - and the answer is almost always no.
It fell on Ward 7's Bill Shea to play the heavy. "We're setting such a precedent that no one would pay any fees at the Derryfield," he said. "If we allow one to do it, we should allow all to do it."
Getting folks to attend meetings at City Hall can be challenging these days; people are busy, and local government is not always so, um, stimulating. But the Manchester school board seems to be making an earnest attempt to meet constituents where they are in the digital age. The board has started a Facebook page: "Ask the School Board."
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