New State Rep Adams-R: Union Contracts Low-hanging Fruit

The meeting last week with the Tewksbury Board of Selectmen, the Town Manager and the state delegation is covered by Bill Gilman in the current edition of  the Tewksbury Patch.  

State Senator Barry Finegold D-Andover and state Reps. Jim Miceli D-Wilmington and Paul Adams R-Andover each spoke before the board and answered questions. The exchange bewteen the BOS Chair and newly-elected Rep Adams – as reported – was enlightening and in my opinion showed a contrast in view, approach and focus.

(Rep) Adams advised the board to go after the “low-hanging fruit” as a possible area of cost-savings. He specifically singled-out union contracts as something municipalities needed to get control over.

Todd Johnson, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said the issue isn’t so much union contracts in general as it is the rapidly rising cost of health insurance premiums, in particular.

“(This) is going to cost people jobs eventually,” said Johnson, while asking the Legislators to make healthcare reform a priority. “We value what (municipal union workers) do and we need them. They have been great partners. But we need to look at this in a macro sense.”

As I wrote in a post last week – Senator Finegold noted (and Rep Miceli agreed):

The governor hopes to cut Medicaid and avoid reductions in state aid,” Finegold said. “But I don’t expect that to have any benefit this year. Maybe in year two or three, but not this year.” Cities and towns depending on state funding to offset shortfalls in local revenues will be forced to make tough budget decisions this year, Finegold said.

“I don’t see how you’re going to see any increases in local aid,” Finegold said. “It’s inevitable that towns will probably have to do layoffs. This is as tough as it gets.”

Read the entire TewkburyPatch article here.