The Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen met last night. Among the issues we’ve been following, the board re-referred the workplace violence policy it passed at its last meeting after a motion to reconsider the action was made by Ward 10 Alderman Phil Greazzo. Greazzo’s questioning of the legality of the board’s action proved to be correct and City Solicitor Tom Clark, who had the matter brought to his attention by us back in August, was forced to agree that the policy violated state statute.
The board also extended a pilot program allowing at least two street vendors to operate in the vendor free zone surrounding the Verizon Wireless Arena for another six months. Capitalism is okay in the Queen City’s civic center neighborhood between the hours of eleven P M to 2 A M.
Speaking of capitalism, on a twelve to two vote, the aldermen voted to dismiss the road closure petitions submitted by a developer wanting to build a fifteen million dollar high end apartment building across from Market Basket and basically told the parties to settle it amongst themselves.
The board’s Lands and Buildings Committee gave conceptual approval to X V M Skate’s proposed renovations to the Adam Curtis Skate Park and it also gave initial approval to the city’s mothballing thirty nine acres of land off Dunbarton Road to offset renovations to the Derryfield Golf Course. It appears as if correcting the drainage problems on the course is considered destruction of wetlands by the feds, necessitating an offset somewhere else.
The board approved a contract with the union representing Water Works employees. It keeps the Yager Decker personnel classification system in place and increases the employee’s premium sharing to seventeen and one half percent. Greazzo was opposed saying it didn’t go far enough in restructuring the health benefits.
Health benefits occupied a big part of the night, too as Anthem was in to discuss the city’s benefit plan utilization report. The structural changes implemented by the city in the contract extensions negotiated with employee unions continue to yield positive results. The city is spending less money on prescriptions and various services and the trend lines are going in the right direction. But, the consultants noted that the city still pays almost ninety four percent of the employees’ total heath care cost, which while down from about ninety seven percent last year is about one third what their average employer cost of nearly eighty percent is.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
The School Board in Nashua got an earful from parents and others concerned about the implementation of Common Core in their schools last night. Among those who spoke was State Rep. Jane Cormier of Alton who explained why the Alton School Board voted against adopting the standards. They also heard from a licensed clinical social worker about the problems created teaching elementary school children to write critically, using negative emotions. She also shared the extreme anxiety that’s surfaced in teachers and students in New York State over Common Core testing requirements. The Nashua School Board will schedule a special meeting to deal with Common Core in the near future.
The Manchester School Board will take up the question of adopting Common Core tonight at seven o’clock in the Aldermanic Chambers at City Hall. The public will be allowed to speak before their deliberations. Decisions are expected to be made tonight. We’ll be blogging it live at Girard at Large dot com.
Trouble surfaced again last night at a meeting of the Hooksett School Board. The absence of Phil Denbow led to another night of boys versus girls voting, with little or no discussion on a variety of issues. The board allegedly had planned to discuss the format and survey questions for next weeks’ special meeting to discuss high school issues. Motions made by either Vice Chairman David Pearl or John Lyscars to use the previously established high school forum format, you know the one that Trisha The Gavel Korkosz said that ONLY eighty five people attended, addressing what happens to the current 8th grade when it goes off to high school next year and preparing a financial impact report on the settlement with Manchester were all shot down on the boys versus girls vote with no discussion. That led to a challenge to the chair which, you guessed it, got the meeting gavelled into adjournment. Yes, we have video of the final couple of minutes.
The Merrimack Chamber of Commerce has announced a unique evening networking opportunity for October twenty fourth. The group will have a special outing to the Cinemagic Theatre located in town. Every member and guest will get to enjoy a complimentary movie ticket, in addition to door prizes, raffles and a great networking opportunity. We‘ve linked to the event with all the details. Nice to see another area Chamber that actually wants people and publicity for its events.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ continues right after this.