Quote: “Be ready, and get prepared…action is coming!”
That’s the closing sentence in an email sent by outgoing and incoming Manchester Education Association presidents Ben Dick and Sue Ellen Hannan to Manchester’s teachers yesterday afternoon, all but declaring war on Mayor Ted Gatsas for his veto of their contract. In the message, the leaders advise they are completing a proposed plan of action that will go to their executive board during a special meeting on August eleventh. The email says that teachers will receive the approved plan of long and short term action items after the meeting.
In the meantime, Dick and Hannan, along with their outgoing and incoming vice-presidents Sean Russell and Maxine Mosely, are asking teachers to don their red shirts and grab their “Teachers Deserve a Fair Contract” signs for a rally this Monday outside City Hall before the school board meeting. They’re encouraging teachers to make signs with Gatsas’ name in a circle with a line through it and said that members of the Board of School Committee have requested their presence at the meeting. Expect Dick to take the opportunity of having been invited by the school board to share his candid thoughts on the district as outgoing president of the union to decry Gatsas’ veto.
The leadership teams also wrote, quote
“As of right now, and prior to the completion of the response plan, we would ask each of you not to go into your school sites unless you are being paid/stipended. If you are in the process of purchasing supplies for school, please plan to keep those supplies at home at this time…Now is the time to come together and work as a team. It is time to put away all past differences and divisions and unite in solidarity. Even with the level of frustration we are experiencing, please let’s all take a breath and conduct ourselves in a professional manner. Be ready, and get prepared… action is coming!”
It would seem war clouds are gathering over the Queen City.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Another eyebrow or two was raised at the last meeting of the Goffstown Board of Selectmen. Selectman Scott Gross was asked to leave the table so he could be appointed for a second time to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Selectman Nick Campasano. Gross was originally appointed on May eighteenth. Within 30 seconds of Gross leaving the table, selectmen Collis Adams moved and Alan Brown seconded a motion to “nominate Scott Gross to fill the remaining portion of Selectman Campasano’s term.”
After the unanimous vote, Chairman Peter Georgantas stated “You’re back in, Scott!” and he returned to the table. Georgantas provided no explanation whatsoever as to why this reenactment was necessary and hasn’t replied to our inquiry as to why it was done. Some in town are questioning whether or not Gross’ original installation was legally done and, if not, what that means for the actions of the board in which he participated. If it was proper, the question as to why his appointment happened on August third is all the more curious, isn’t it?
In a story from Tuesday’s meeting of the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen that got overlooked in the teacher contract and associated conflict of interest dramas, agreements negotiated by Mayor Ted Gatsas with the Elliot Hospital, Catholic Medical Center and the Bedford Ambulatory Surgical Center to reduce Workers Compensation costs received unanimous support from the board after a curiously contentious debate. In a statement issued by the mayor on Wednesday, Gatsas pointed to the failure of the legislature to pass legislation that established a medical fee schedule as a primary reason he negotiated the agreements with the three providers which collectively account for about half of all the city’s Workers Comp billings. Said the mayor quote:
“The line item for workers compensation medical costs for the city has seen an increase in each of the fiscal years. The city, in coordination with, our employees have worked to try to curb these costs through workplace adjustments, various wellness programs and educational efforts. However, our costs continue to rise at no fault to the city employees. These letters of agreement are a first step to direct savings in the workers compensation line item of the city budget.”
Nominations are open for the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communication’s thirteenth annual First Amendment Award, honoring diligence in protecting free press and free speech liberties. The recipient will be recognized on November twelfth at a gala at the Capitol Center for the Arts. A committee of judges chooses the recipient from public nominations. First Amendment recipients receive a bronze eagle sculpture created by Mrs. Loeb and a $1,500 award. Nomination forms are available at loeb school dot org or by calling 6 2 7 0 0 0 5. The deadline for nominations is Sept 1.
Past recipients include former New Hampshire Attorney General Philip McLaughlin, former Keene Sentinel Executive Editor Thomas F. Kearney, The Laconia Citizen, political activist and former legislator Daniel Hughes, former Dover City Councilor David Scott, Londonderry High School Journalism Advisor Mary Lukas, First Amendment attorney William Chapman, former ConVal School Board member Gail Pierson Cromwell, The Portsmouth Herald, David Lang and the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, The Telegraph of Nashua and murdered New Hampshire photo journalist James Foley. Many of the award recipients won for their efforts to use the state’s Right to Know law to ensure the public was informed of things government entities didn’t want you to know.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next!