Over the last four years, Methuen Mayor Neil Perry and the Methuen City Council clutched their pearls and pounded their fists calling the controversial police superior officers’ contract (passed by the previous council) a “criminal contract” that was “bloated” and paid the cops “far too much of the taxpayers money.”
They attacked the police chief and the previous council saying that the public was lied to when it was asserted that the contract only gave cops a 0% raise in the first year, and a 2% raise the second and third year of the three-year contract.
They went to every media outlet that would listen, to rail against the previous mayor and council, claiming that they, of course, were the good guys who were going to fix the problem.
Over and over, they told us at public meetings that this previous contract had “stacking” language in it that resulted in the superior officers getting a nearly 20% raise instead of the 2% raise the previous council promised.
They called for investigations. They called police officers “criminals,” and they spent millions of dollars on investigations and legal fees to push out the police chief and a police captain.
A NEW CONTRACT
Last September, Mayor Perry and his puppet councilors said they were negotiating a “new” contract with the higher-ups in the police department. A contract that would be nothing like the “old” contract and would not be anywhere near the “obscene 20% raise” the previous council approved.
They grandstanded, they faked outrage, and they promised that the people involved in the “old” contract were “going to jail.”
They looked you all in the eyes vowing that the “new” contract they were negotiating would have no hidden “stacking” language in it.
“I will not approve anything higher than a 2% raise,” Councilor McCarty said, echoing his colleagues, all wrapped up in moral indignation and self-aggrandizement.
26% RAISES IN NEW CONTRACT
When it was all over, Mayor Perry and members of the city council approved a new contract and then took victory laps, patting themselves on the back and congratulating each other for putting together this “new” contract for the police superior officers.
After all, they said, this contract was “fair” and had no “stacking language” in it that would artificially inflate police salaries beyond the 2% raises they deserved.
What they didn’t say, however, was that the actual contract gives each captain on the Methuen Police Department a $26,260 raise, each lieutenant a $26,940 raise, and each sergeant a $21,728 raise.
By our math, that’s approximately a 26% raise for Methuen superiors.
That’s even higher than the 20% raise that they called “criminal” under the previous city council and mayor.
As a side note, those raises only include salary increases.
They do not include additional benefits the mayor and council put into the “new” contract, such as longevity, uniform allowances, sick time buybacks, the Quinn Bill, or health insurance.
This begs the question, isn’t this “new” police superior officers contract “criminal” by their own definition?
It also highlights the fact that former Police Chief Joe Solomon is not in jail after nearly a dozen investigations, and millions of Methuen tax dollars spent to try and put him there – only to have the mayor and current city council do exactly what they accused Solomon of orchestrating in the “old” police contract.
Whatever you may think of Joe Solomon or the “old” police contract, you have to admit, the “new” police contract certainly raises some interesting questions about what we’ve all been told about the “old” contract being “criminal”. ◊