The Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen met last night and some funky stuff took place. It all started in the Committee on Human Resources and Insurance where aldermen heard from the city’s healthcare consultant that the ObamaCare Cadillac Tax is projected to cost city taxpayers three point five million dollars on top of the cost of the benefits themselves. The tax is a forty percent penalty assessment on any premium amount above certain levels. Consultant Tom DeLacey told aldermen in response to a question from Ward 2’s Ron Ludwig that he believed the tax was simply a way to generate revenue to offset expenses, which was a byproduct of forcing the legislation through the reconciliation process. Beginning January first, the city will pay about two hundred thousand dollars in other Obamacare fees, which annualized for the coming budget will, of course, double. Oh, and unlike the big corporate Friends of Barry, there is no waiver available to the city.
At the meeting of the full board, the aldermen approved a new workplace violence policy that prohibits things like assault, bullying, destruction of property, sexual harassment, verbal abuse or harassment, slamming doors, punching walls and of course possession of guns. Huh? Ward 10 Alderman Phil Greazzo objected to the policy saying first that city officials didn’t solicit direct employee input on the policy and second because it deprived city employees of their Second Amendment rights. He noted how people at the Navy Yard and the mall in Kenya were running for their lives because they didn’t have the means to protect themselves and said he would not support a policy that prohibited employees from being able to defend themselves, noting that some of them, like housing code inspectors, are sometimes in dangerous places doing their jobs or might leave City Hall alone late at night and have to walk a distance to their cars. He also questioned the policy’s legality, citing R S A 1 5 9 : 2 6 which reserves the regulation of firearms to the state. That question was referred to City Solicitor Tom Clark who said he’d quote look into it, end quote. Funny thing is when we sent him an inquiry on that very same law back in mid-August, he said the same thing. We shall see.
The board also approved the nomination of William Moher Craig to be the city’s Economic Development Director. Greazzo abstained out of respect for Craig saying that while he was impressed by him in the meeting they had, he simply didn’t have the experience required by the job posting. Greazzo also opposed the adoption of a new contract with employees at the Manchester Water Works. If final adoption is approved at the next meeting of the board, employees will see a one percent cost of living raise in addition to whatever Yager Decker step raises they’re entitled to, but see their doctor visit and prescription co-pays and deductibles rise to the levels of other city employees and see their premium sharing amount increase to seventeen and a half percent, which exceeds the fifteen percent those unions that ratified the contract extension proposal went to. Oh, there’s also a thirteen thousand dollar retirement incentive, the accrual of two hours of personal time per quarter and grandparents were added to the bereavement leave.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
The Hooksett School Board seems intent on causing itself trouble. As we know, the board has been feverishly trying to ink deals with just about everybody other than Manchester to educate its high school students, the legal settlement they approved with Manchester notwithstanding. Because any new tuition contract will have to be ratified by the voters in March of two thousand fourteen and become effective for September two thousand fifteen, Vice Chairman David Pearl offered a motion to clarify where 8th graders will go to high school in September two thousand fourteen. In accordance with the legal settlement, Pearl motioned that the 8th grade cherubs be assigned to Manchester per the contract and exceptions be granted per their policies. It got shot down with only John Lyscars voting with Pearl to honor their legal obligations to Manchester. On three to two votes, the board also shot down motions that would have assigned two school board members to work with Chucky the Super to negotiate tuition contracts and have Chucky remove what he believed was factually flawed information from their Web site.
The Obamacare insurance exchanges went on-line yesterday, well actually a lot of them didn’t. In honor of the government shutdown, exchange Web sites across the country spent more time off line than on as they just weren’t ready to launch. Lots of ugly stories out there. Wondering if our congressional delegation signed up on the exchanges or took the exemption granted by Barry Wonderful. Anyway, the wrangling over Obamacare that’s led to the government shutdown continues as the Obama Administration fences off national monuments so people can’t view them and otherwise takes steps to antagonize the people. Be sure to weigh in on our poll question regarding the shutdown, which makes me feel strangely more safe and free…
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is straight ahead!