To the Editor:
In his own words, Mayor Jackson provides his reason why he believes the town will prevail in his decision to fire Public Works employees: “The fundamental basis of the decision is egregious,” said Jackson. “We are all obligated to live within the four corners of the contract and that decision is far outside the four corners, not to mention that it relied on an agreement that was crafted when I was a junior in college. The world and government have changed significantly since then.”
If we are to breakdown his comments into two components, we derive the following: 1) he admits the town should live within its contractual obligations (“live with the four corners of the contract”) and 2) he believes that with the passage of time (“I was a junior in college”), those obligations should be invalidated.
I would say his comments are disjointed and mutually exclusive. Yet, he is willing to spend tax payer money in pursuit of an argument that doesn’t make any sense to even the most disinterested observer.
Mayor Jackson had this to say with respect to funding his appeal: “The town could find the money to pay the employees to return if it had to, Jackson said. We’re a $180 million corporation. The money would have to come from somewhere...”
Did you notice the last statement? Let me explain where the money is coming from, since the mayor doesn’t seem to understand how the town will pay for this appeal. The money is coming from you and me. It’s simple, the mayor spends and we pay in the form of higher taxes.
The simple truth is that all the contracts we now have in force have been lawfully negotiated by the party that has been in power for about 20 years. The stipulations and agreements contained within the contracts have long been traded away for votes. Now that the full scope of these agreements is finally getting the attention of the taxpaying public, the administration is back tracking.
My suggestion is that the administration work with the Union to reach an agreement through the give and take process of negotiations. Mayor Jackson cannot simply wish the contract provisions away or use the courts to do his dirty work. I am convinced the town will lose the appeal.
I would like to leave you with these thoughts as reported in the New Haven Register: “Meanwhile, the town could face further action from the union, which could seek to enforce the arbitration award by going to court to ask for double damages and attorneys’ fees, Gilbert said. The union is going to exercise every option available under the law to enforce the arbitration award. It could cost tens of thousands to rehire the public works employees. The town recently lost a similar case with the parks and recreation union and it is costing nearly $200,000 to put four parks maintainers and one secretary back to work, plus $137,000 in retroactive pay.”
7th District Legislative Council Candidate