October 1, 2019
The Methuen Police Superior Officers Union has issued a public statement disputing public claims that there was sleight of hand or that two different contracts were used to deceive the city council. The claim is, one contract had “stacking language” in it which grew the police salaries larger than the contract that was presented to to the city council the night they illegally voted in favor of the contract. FULL LETTER
“There has been much discussion about the so-called stacking language in the contract – or the inclusion of certain benefits as part of an officers base pay, which then triggers higher salaries because of a larger number is used as the base figure this is an important discussion.”“Initially, it is significant to point out that both versions of the contract contained so-called stacking language – meaning the draft rejected by the mayor as well as the final draft approved by the council. In fact, the union‘s position is that both versions have the exact same cost value, which is why the union signed the first one and would have lived with that one had it not been rejected.”
“There were never two contracts. The city has suggested that copy of a draft agreement signed only by the union is somehow evidence that there were two agreed-upon versions of the contract submitted to the council, and that someone swapped out agreed contract language after the fact this is ridiculous.”“Only one agreement was ever submitted to the city council. The parties met several times during bargaining and work through different iterations of the contract. The so-called draft agreement signed only by the union was rejected by the mayor and returned to the union for further, revisions, including suggested edits by the mayor to highlight COLA [Cost of Living Adjustment] increases. Importantly, the union signed that initial draft document not because it wanted new language, but because it would have agreed to it. The mayor never signed it, and that version was never submitted to the council.”
Methuen councilors have long contended that the union was unwilling to negotiate and accept less money in their contract. The emails below show that the union was indeed receptive to work with the State Department of Revenue on the matter. The union was willing to accept a 0% raise on an extension of the MOU. Within days of this exchange and their meeting, the city council, led by Saba and McCarty cut $1.8M from the police budget which would have resulted in the layoff of 30 patrolmen.
The Methuen Police Superior Officers’ Union released a statement on their website stating:
“On January 24, 2019, the MPSOA met with Sean Cronin from the Department of Revenue. The mayor’s Chief of Staff, Paul Fahey, was also present. The meeting was to discuss Mr. Cronin’s suggested resolution to the Collectively Bargained Agreement between the City of Methuen and the Union. After meeting with Union President Gallant, Mr. Cronin then met with Methuen City Councilors Saba and McCarty. The Union was agreeable to Mr. Cronin’s possible resolution as proposed. Councilors Steve Saba and James McCarty refused the possible resolution. This exchange should give the residents some transparency on the fact that the Union has been willing to work with the City and other parties to resolve the issues. The city councilors have not. The below email reflects this exchange. In the interest of transparency, I wanted to let you know that we have deleted from the email below the cell phone no. of Capt. Gallant”
The following is an email exchange last January between The Superior Officers Union and The Department of Revenue.
From: Gallant, Greg [mailto:GGallant@ci.methuen.ma.us]
Sent: Friday, January 25, 2019 11:14 AM
To: Cronin, Sean R. (DOR)
Subject: Methuen Superior Officers Association **EXTERNAL EMAIL**
Thank you for the opportunity to meet yesterday. After our meeting, I spoke to members of the executive board who were receptive to your suggestion of zero raise extension with language for an escape clause. I agree with you this would be a fair resolution, and would avoid the stress to the community. Mr. Fahey related that the councilors [Saba and McCarty] were not as receptive, unfortunately.
We sincerely appreciate your interest and effort. If we can be of assistance in the future, please feel free to contact me.
Support Services Bureau Commander
Methuen Police Department
Methuen, Ma. 01844
Captain, thanks again for meeting yesterday on such short notice. And thank you for this email. I’m going to speak with Paul again and see if he’s willing to speak with a city councilor(s) and continue to push this as a solution.
Sean R. Cronin
Senior Deputy Commissioner of Local Services
Division of Local Services
PO Box 9569
Boston, MA 02114