Roy:  Urges aldermen to act

Roy: Aldermen creating “hostile work enviornment.”

Last night’s meeting of the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen got off to an auspicious start as members of the Manchester Police Commission, led by Chairman Mark Roy, presented a letter calling on the board to quote “exercise its wisdom and its authority in dealing with aldermen who violate the board’s ethics policy in personnel matters.”  End quote.  In the letter, the commission said it was their duty to support the department and Chief David Mara as department head, advising it was concerned quote “by the behavior of elected officials that mis-characterize the conduct of police officials and the performance of the Police Department,” end quote, noting that even while the department is nowhere near its full budgeted compliment, most crimes are down across the board.  The money quote from the letter is this:  Quote “When department heads are badgered, berated and falsely accused of inappropriate actions by the members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, what occurs is akin to workplace harassment and the creation of a hostile work environment.”  End quote.  Just so you know, those terms are legally charged ones the city is required to have policies to prevent.  Near the end of the board meeting, Ward Three Alderman Patrick Long raised the letter saying he agreed with it and that he hoped all aldermen would treat all department heads with respect.

Gatsas:  "Doesn't get" how the grant helps

Gatsas: “Doesn’t get” how the grant helps

Outside of this letter’s presentation, police matters occupied much time last night.  Chief Mara sought approval to accept a grant that would enable the department to hire another five officers using federal funds.  Mayor Ted Gatsas objected, noting that the grant would obligate the city to nearly two hundred thousand dollars in new expenses in each of the next three years and that total grant costs for the next budget would approach four hundred twenty five thousand dollars if the grant was accepted.  That figure alone exceeds the growth allowed by the tax cap, said Gatsas who asked the aldermen whether or not they were planning on overriding the cap again as he saw no way to pay for it.  Gatsas also questioned the need for the grant noting that, for all the new officers the department’s hired this budget year, eighteen in all, they still have a ways to go to meet their budgeted compliment and weren’t likely to reach that number.

Craig:  "No brainer"

Craig: “No brainer”

The mindset of the board can best be summarized by Ward One Alderman Joyce Craig who said it was a quote unquote “no brainer” to use federal funds to offset the costs of new police officers and Ward Seven Alderman Bill Shea who gave an impassioned plea for more officers, asserting that his constituents, who’ve been beset by stabbings, shootings and other crimes in neighborhood after neighborhood, wanted more cops on the street, whatever the cost.  Gatsas told the board after its unanimous vote to accept the grant that he would remind them of their action at budget time.  Ward Four Alderman Jim Roy and Ward Five Alderman Ed Osborne were absent from last night’s meeting.

School status affirmed, regulations remain

School status affirmed, regulations remain

The aldermen also suspended the rules to unanimously adopt the ordinance banning synthetic marijuana, also known as spice.  On a ten to two vote, the aldermen also ratified the action of the Committee on Lands and Buildings, reaffirmed Bronstein Park as part of Central High’s campus and supported the continued enforcement of the no-trespassing during school hours regulations.

Manchester mobile appThe details of last night’s meeting, including the launch of the city’s very cool new mobile app named Manchester, NH Connect, about which we’ve published a separate article, are in the Live Blog Forum at Girard at Large dot com and we’ve linked to them from this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.  Looks like we’ll have a bunch of stuff to talk about with Mayor Ted Gatsas in the eight o’clock hour this morning.

News from our own backyard continues after this.

Dick:  Back to the drawing board

Dick: Back to the drawing board

Manchester’s teachers torpedoed yet another tentative agreement reached between their union’s leadership and Mayor Ted Gatsas.  The teachers, who’ve been without a contract since June of last year, overturned a prior vote in favor of the new contract with four hundred thirty opposed to two hundred forty two in favor.  About three weeks ago, two hundred eighty six voted in favor and two hundred eight four were against.  Clearly, there weren’t many yes votes coming from the additional hundred teachers who turned out to vote and, based on the numbers, it looks like forty four of them changed their mind and voted no.  MEA President Ben Dick said the membership will meet on Monday to discuss the outcome and determine what action needs to be taken.  He said they’ll need to get the message out about what needs to be changed to make a contract work.

“Is it ever going to stop?”  That’s what Ward Nine Alderman

Shaw:  "Will it ever end?"

Shaw: “Will it ever end?”

asked at last night’s board meeting after Mayor Ted Gatsas presented his now customary refugee report to the Board, a report, among others that the City Clerk Office, who we’ve taken to task for violating the city’s Right to Know Policy and state’s Right to Know Law, failed to provide to your Humble Host as per normal practice.  But that’s another story.  Shaw wanted to know if the refugee resettlement is going to be an ongoing thing for years and whether or not any of them coming from the countries with Ebola.  Shaw said she works with refugees who live in the Elmwood Garden public housing project in her ward and that she has great respect for them.  However, she noted the impact on schools and city services, especially health,  and said it’s not fair to the city or the refugees for the city to deal with numbers that overwhelm its abilities.  “There has to be another city that can take the refugees for a while to give Manchester a break.,” said Shaw.

Merrimack PD issues traffic advisory around school

Merrimack PD issues traffic advisory around school

Police in Merrimack have issued a warning to parents dropping of students at the James Mastricola Upper Elementary School in the morning.  Parents will not be allowed to stop, stand or park in the southbound lane of McElwain St. and wait in line.  Police are directing anyone who cannot enter the parking lot to go down McElwain St., turn around on Hadley Rd. and line up along the northbound lane of McElwain St. without blocking traffic or entrances, until there is an opening to pull into the lot.

HalloweenManchester Police Chief David J. Mara has announced that Halloween in Manchester will take place on…Halloween!  Friday, October thirty first from six to eight PM.  As always, if you want to dole out tricks or treats to the neighborhood ghouls and goblins, leave the outdoor lights on by the door you wish to use.  The department also released a list of safety tips which we’ll publish under separate cover and link to from this newscast at Girard at Large dot com.

That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next.