Calls for Immediate Review of All Employee Contracts
“…the current legislative proposals put forward as an option for the City to borrow do not go far enough. As it stands, I am unable to support them as I believe stronger state fiscal oversight of the City of Methuen is essential to help the City get back on track.” ~ Rep. Diana DiZoglio
Methuen State Representative Diana DiZoglio says she does not support the city borrowing money without a fiscal control board to oversee the city’s finances. State Rep. Linda Campbell is slated to appear at the city council meeting on July 10th with a proposal that the city borrow from the state to cover contracts and out of control spending that resulted in city officials not being able to pass the 2018-2019 budget. The city’s budget is supposed to passed before July 1st but the mayor and city council had to pass a 30 day temporary budget based on last years spending numbers because they could not agree on spending cuts. The School Department, for example is $4M in the red.
(METHUEN) – State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) has sent the following letter to fellow members of the Methuen state legislative delegation, the Mayor of Methuen’s Office and all members of the Methuen City Council and School Committee:
Open Letter to the Leadership of Methuen
Thank you first and foremost for your commitment to the residents of Methuen and the public service that you all provide in your elected and appointed roles.
The City of Methuen has a structural fiscal deficit, in the millions, for Fiscal Year 2018. The city projects an even greater deficit for Fiscal Year 2019. Due to the City’s situation, the financial security of residents and their property is currently in jeopardy.
While I am not in City Hall, it is imperative that we all work together, with one goal: to help the City regain financial health and stability. For the past few weeks, I have been working both with my colleagues at the state and local levels to help address the city’s issues. I still feel, however, that the current legislative proposals put forward as an option for the city to borrow do not go far enough. As it stands, I am unable to support them as I believe stronger state fiscal oversight of the City of Methuen is essential to help the city get back on track.
For that reason, I am urging that the city, at a minimum, consider the creation of a Finance Control Board in its request to the state for assistance with its current deficits.
Methuen’s long-term fiscal viability is in jeopardy. A Finance Control Board will ensure that the city has sufficient revenue to meet liabilities by conducting an assessment of the municipality’s financial condition and needs, while requiring responsible contracting and multi-year financial plans, among other things. These steps will help to restore the public’s confidence in local government. This finance control board can be specifically tailored to address Methuen’s challenges, increase transparency and recommend efficiency and productivity measures so Methuen’s residents get the most for their dollar. Our local officials are committed to helping the city restore its financial footing and should be able to remain deeply engaged in this work alongside the Finance Control Board.
In the meantime, an immediate review should be conducted of all contracts with employees executed by the City regarding proper process & procedure to determine the validity of any contractual vote that has been taken or is to be taken.
I love our city. I was born and raised here. I am a Methuen Public Schools graduate, a Methuen homeowner, and a current state elected official. As such, I am fully committed to helping our city overcome its current financial difficulties and to achieving the better future we all want for the city and its residents. That better future is best assured by stronger intervention now, rather than by weaker intervention that may produce little. We must take stronger action now to secure that brighter future we have all worked so hard to make a reality for those we serve.
I look forward to speaking with you in the coming days as we continue our work to address the City’s challenges. Please contact me any time, day or night, if I may assist you in any way. As I may have limited access to email for the remainder of the weekend, I encourage a phone call if you would like a more prompt reply. My number is (978) 390-0408.