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Manchester aldermen OK one labor deal, table three others

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 16. 2017 10:26AM

MANCHESTER – Some lucrative payouts to outgoing city lawyers and an employee pay raise contract for city workers at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport won approval Tuesday night.

The board approved the airport workers' pact by overriding the veto of Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas.

“We need to be consistent. How are we going to pay for this?” Gatsas asked rhetorically.

Manchester Board Chairman Patrick Long pointed out the aiport is run by as an “enterprise fund” with its own operating revenue and expenses somewhat independent of city finances.

Airport officials present in the aldermanic chamber for this debate assured the aldermen the airport finances could afford the collective bargaining agreement.

“I still am not for it,” Gatsas said.

Only Alderman-at-Large Joe Kelly Levasseur and Ward Alderman Keith Hirschmann supported the Gatsas veto.

But at Long's urging, the panel voted to table three more expensive union contracts that have also been pending before the aldermen for months: for library staff, for police staff support and for firefighters.

Levasseur said those contracts can't be taken up now because the money would come from the budget contingency account and there's less than a $580,000 balance in it.

Without debate or discussion, the aldermen did agree to take from that contingency to pay severance, unpaid vacation and unused sick time to two city lawyers leaving local service.

City Solicitor Emily Rice had already cut an $87,676 check to longtime Solicitor Tom Clark who abruptly had announced his plans to retire after the Attorney General's Office issued a critical review of the city's handling of domestic violence prosecutions.

The aldermen also approved with no discussion paying $69,965 to Deputy City Solicitor Thomas Arnold for severance and other payments. Arnold will be retiring effective Aug. 31.

Levasseur cast the only vote against the payouts.

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