The Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen met last night and though it was a relatively short meeting, it was eventful. The board received a presentation from Health Department officials regarding a new Web site they’ve developed to better connect people to their neighborhoods. It’s called My Manchester NH. We’ve got the link. It also awarded Emergency Medical Services Officer Christopher Hickey with its newly minted Bright Idea award for coming up with Safe Station.
As to matters of substance, the board not only extended the downtown park smoking ban to Kalivas Park, it also made the ban permanent, though it will be reviewed in six months. Ward Nine Alderman Barbara Shaw, who opposed even the pilot program banning smoking and all other tobacco use in the parks, voted against the changes.
The meeting also saw a showdown between Mayor Ted Gatsas and the board over a proposed contract with the United Steel Workers Local 8 9 3 8, the union that represents workers at the Manchester Water Works. A motion to approve the contract passed on a vote of eight to three with one abstention and two absences.
Gatsas vetoed the contract arguing that making the pay raises retro-active to July first, 2 0 1 6 set a terrible precedent. While Gatsas agreed with deposed Lord Emperor at-Large Dan O’Neil that the board had awarded retro-active pay raises in the past, he said it was for a few months, not more than a year. Ward Ten Alderman Bill Barry argued it wasn’t the union’s fault that it took so long, saying that changes in the chief negotiator’s position and the board’s non-acceptance of prior proposals was to blame. Gatsas replied negotiations are called negotiations for a reason.
The motion to override Gatsas’ veto failed by the same eight to three vote. At-Large Alderman Joe Kelly Levasseur and aldermen Bill Shea of Ward Seven and Keith Hirschmann of Ward Twelve opposed the contract because of its retro-activity, saying they’d support it otherwise.
Tom Katsiantonis of Ward Eight was absent and the Ward Six seat remains vacant.
Ward Five Alderman Tony Sapienza quote, “abstained as per the charter” because his son works for the Water Works and is covered by the union’s contract.
That led to a bit of a dust up with Ward Two Alderman Ron Ludwig who criticized unnamed people for unfairly attacking board members over violating the charter’s conflict of interest provisions. After reading a non-germane part of the charter, he went on to blame the board for not voting on whether or not he and the others who voted on contracts covering their immediate family members had a conflict of interest because, despite the clear language of the charter, he didn’t believe he did. He said if the board had done its job and voted to declare he had a conflict of interest, he would not have voted. Of course, if the board had voted he didn’t have a conflict then he’d be off the hook. Unfortunately for Ludwig, it doesn’t work that way. We will discuss.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Former Manchester Ward Six Alderman Nick Pappas announced his endorsement of Elizabeth Ann Moreau in the race to fill the vacancy created by his resignation. Pappas resigned the seat in late March after his house sold unexpectedly quickly, causing him to live temporarily with friends in Londonderry. In making the announcement, Pappas said he’d met with Moreau on multiple occasions and that she was knowledgeable of city issues. He said she’ll, quote:
make the changes needed at City Hall!
On Primary Day, September nineteenth, voters in Ward Six will not only choose two of the three candidates for the general election on November seventh for the next term, they will also choose a successor to fill out the remainder of Pappas’ term. So, the top vote getter will both be elected to fill out the term and also be on the ballot in November for the next term. Oh, and voters in Ward Six will vote at the McLaughlin Middle School this year, instead of St. Pius the Tenth Parish on Candia Road.
Speaking of endorsements, thanks to a member of our Large and Loyal Listening Audience who called in yesterday, we were made aware that Ward Two aldermanic candidate Will Stewart has been endorsed by the Manchester Education Association. Stewart announced the endorsement on his Facebook page, saying he was proud to receive their support. Said Stewart, quote:
“As the only candidate for Ward 2 alderman with a child attending Manchester public schools, and thus having “skin in the game,” no one will fight harder than me on behalf of children in Manchester.”
It looks like Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard’s move to have carbon monoxide detectors installed in police S U V’s was a pretty good one. On Monday, the detector alarm in Officer Kyle Daly’s Ford Explorer sounded, after which Daly pulled over and exited the vehicle. He was taken to a local hospital by one of his coworkers and treated for carbon monoxide exposure. The vehicle was taken out of service and sent to a Ford dealership. Fleet maintenance believes the leak may have come from a crack in the manifold.
That’s NEWS from our own backyard! Girard at Large hour ___ is next!