City Council met last night to adopt the Municipal budget, and got through a couple of sections before recessing until Saturday morning at 9 a.m. I have not posted on the municipal budget because of the changing nature of the document, and due to the around the clock negotiations with the nine city side municipal unions. I was able to announce last night that we have reached agreements with seven of the nine unions, with a tentative deal set with the eighth, Methuen’s Fire Union. These labor deals are reflective of my request that each unit take 10 percent cuts in wages in order to avoid layoffs. With the seven deals and the eighth pending the City of Methuen will achieve several notable goals.
1) For every layoff notice that went out these labor agreements will result in a callback, meaning that aside from Patrolman there will be no layoffs in Methuen. I welcome additional negotiations with the Patrolman’s Union that could avert the need for any layoffs in their unit.
2) My budget, as submitted, does not raise taxes.
3) Methuen’s administrative staff will all take 10 percent reductions in base salary, including the Mayor. My proposal for reductions included all staff, and our budget reflects these reductions. Again the staff voluntarily agreed to take wage cuts to save jobs and continue to provide a high level of municipal services. These cuts are not waivers of prospective salary increases, but real reductions.
I will post the entire budget as submitted here very shortly. I am proud of my staff for leading by example, and I am truly grateful to the employees of the City of Methuen who have agreed to take painful reductions in order to save jobs. I will have more to say in a post in the next day or so. I apologize for my lack of postings. It has been a busy three weeks. Read the Eagle Tribune story here.