The New Hampshire Supreme Court dealt another blow to unions that sued over the state’s pension reform act, passed in two thousand and eleven. On Friday, the court announced it unanimously upheld changes the state made to the definitions of earned compensation and Cost of Living Adjustments. The American Federation of Teachers sued, charging the redefinitions retroactively reduced pension benefits earned before the law was passed and that employees do not have a contractual guarantee that the terms of the pension plan will never change. Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley Repubican from Wolfeboro and author of the bill released a statement saying quote “This decision protects important reforms to the New Hampshire Retirement System, and it clarifies that the Legislature may adjust future pension benefits in order to safeguard our public pension system.” In December, the New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld several other key pension provisions sponsored by Sen. Bradley in Senate Bill 3 from 2011.
Congressman Frank Guinta, a former mayor of Manchester, issued a statement on Friday offering condolences after the passing of longtime Manchester Alderman Ed Osborne. Guinta said he was quote “…beyond saddened to hear of the passing of my dear friend and cherished public servant, Ed Osborne. As one of the longest serving alderman in Manchester, there is absolutely no doubt that Ed’s years of selfless service have greatly improved our community, city and state. Ed worked tirelessly for the causes in which he believed – and, I am proud to have called him a friend and thankful to have had the opportunity to work with him. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and loved ones during this difficult time.” Osborne, who passed last week, will be laid to rest on Thursday. We’ve linked to the details of his final arrangements from this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.
Memo to folks in Manchester. As of last week, you’ll be receiving combined water and sewer bill invoices from the Manchester Water Works as the city has now completed the process of combining the bills. Monies paid will go first toward your sewer bill, then toward your water bill. That way, if you don’t pay what you owe, the city can shut your water off for failure to pay the water bill. Given that there’s some one point three million dollars in outstanding sewer fees, this kinda makes sense. The move will also save thousands of dollars by cutting the number of bills in half.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
It just doesn’t seem that the Pro-Pinkerton Only crowd in Hooksett can play by the rules. An ugly controversy broke last week and played out over the weekend as a special or emergency or something other than a regular meeting was called by Board Chair Joanne McHugh. Seems that Board Clerk Todd Lizotte wanted the unscheduled gathering to review the board’s vote not to recommend the contract with Pinkerton Academy, which it ordered to the ballot. The warrant article was substantially altered by the board last Monday as no board member believed the language assembled by the lawyers reflected the actual terms of the contract. After squaring away the language, the board voted against recommending the contract, with only Lizotte and Mike Berry in favor. McHugh was absent and board member James Sullivan abstained, leaving the vote 2 in favor, three opposed.
According to board rules, a special meeting may only be called by the chair if requested by three members of the board. While Lizotte admitted to requesting the special meeting, no other member has come forward to say they’d asked for it and McHugh has not replied to our inquiries about who the three were. School board member David Pearl has raised questions about the legality of the meeting given that nobody seems able or willing to show the policy was followed and board member John Lyscars has flat out said it’s illegal, though he’s said he will attend to confront the chair and Lizotte over their actions. Lizotte allegedly has requested the meeting not be held, but it remains posted. We’ll let you know how it all goes.
It looks like somebody’s organizing a student campaign in the Timberlane Regional School District designed to drive people who want to spend more money to the coming deliberative session that will consider the budget. The Support Timberlane Facebook page is filled with students, photographed in school during school hours, holding signs that say stuff like “I’m a Timberlane Artist…not a number,” “We are Timberlane AP Students We are not a number,” “I am a Timberlane musician I am not a number,” “I am a Timberlane athlete I am not a number.” You get the drift.
Outside of them all containing the same punctuation mistakes and being in the same pre-printed, block letter, all caps format, except the artists, they did their own thing, of course, there’s no reason to believe there’s anything orchestrated going on here. There’s even a cool photo montage put to music in a video that’s about two and a half minutes long and urges people to get to the deliberative session to support their school. Aside from there actually not being any proposal to do away with anything the kids are rallying to quote un quote save, one has to wonder whether or not Timberlane officials understand that it’s a violation of law to allow the use of taxpayer resources to affect an election outcome, not that they’d care if they knew, which the probably do.
Speaking of illegal, questions about the legality of the contract approved by the Windham School Board for energy consulting services have arisen, now that the contract’s been made available to the public. Seems the document requires appropriations over a five year period of time and has consequences for the failure to appropriate. Some would say that a long term contract requiring payments is something that’s supposed to be approved by the voters. There’s more on this story, too and Kimberly Morin will have the details later this morning.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is on the way!