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December 18, 2019
Methuen Mayor Jim Jajuga has asked the courts to delay – once again – the December 16th arbitration of the Police Superior Officer’s Union Contract dispute.
The city has asked for the postponement until March 10th-12th putting the controversy square in the lap of incoming Mayor Neil Perry who takes office on January 6, 2020.
Sources in Methuen city hall say that the city’s continued delays are because they are having a hard time getting their own witnesses on the same page and several of the city’s witnesses do not want to show up to testify.
Methuen Superior Officer’s Union President Greg Gallant told The Valley Patriot Thursday that his union was ready to go forward months ago and that they opposed delaying the arbitration over the controversial contract, but there may be a silver lining.
“The city asked for this continuance and pushed the arbitration into March,” Gallant said, “and we are not really happy about it because our members are eager for an opportunity to present our case. At least now we can look forward to resolving the issue in a non-biased, non-political environment. There has been a lot of slanderous statements made against us by members of the council and we can’t wait to let the public know the truth about what has gone on.”
“In the last year and a half there have been so so many untruths whereas, unfortunately we had to be very reserved in our comments. Now, we are looking forward to an opportunity for people to start seeing the truth. We are looking forward to sitting down with Mayor Perry.”
CAN ARBITRATION BE AVOIDED?
Incoming Mayor Neil Perry told the Valley Patriot that he is “looking forward to going back to the table and potentially settling the superior officer’s contract with the support of the new city council and avoid arbitration completely.”
Greg Gallant said the he and his members would be happy to sit down with Perry and possibly avoid arbitration.
“Of course we are happy to work with incoming mayor Perry,” he said.
“We are looking forward to an environment where people are willing to make decisions based on facts and data, and the actual truths about where we are and how we got here.”
Gallant said that this latest delay will make conditions favorable for a resolution to the three year contract dispute that other media sources have incorrectly reported would pay superior officers upwards of $425,000.
“Some of the stuff that other media sources have reported, and certain city councilors have been saying in public, are not true and they know it’s not true. Yet, they they continue to say them. We are all looking forward to the truth coming out and resolving this issue so we can all move forward.”