Massachusetts Politics has Arrived in Goffstown
By KEN WARREN
I live in Goffstown, but work in
Massachusetts and am troubled to see Massachusetts politics reaching this far north.
Each time "the people" try to get a tax reduction passed in
Massachusetts, the politicians scream that there will be a reduction of key workforce personnel (i.e. Police, Fire, Crosswalk attendants, teachers, etc). You never, and I mean never, see the politicians state that administrative jobs will be reduced. You know why; its because people will state "so what?" Drive north of
Massachusetts about 30 miles and we see that same approach now in Goffstown with the school administrators.
A question for the next meeting; "Can we force the school administration to cut its personnel and not teachers?"
I work in aerospace industry and understand CBA's with the unions. Once you sign on the dotted line to approve the unions' demands, you are stuck with that agreement. So please remember what you signed up for either via warrant vote, or the votes of those in town hall leadership who signed on the dotted line. Remember this when it is time to vote again!
As a manager, I see the cost of health care rising. There is nothing the town or even private businesses can do about it. What businesses do, that I never see with unions, is to continually make adjustments. These include changing providers and adjustments in
coverage/co-pays. These are required cost-cutting measures and is fair for industry as businesses must survive or nobody wins. However, it is apparently not fair in Goffstown or for that matter any government entity. Just watch TV and see what the Federal politicians are doing with the healthcare mandate exclusions for themselves and unions. Employees grumble and whine, but industry must adjust to the changing demands or they are out of business. The alternative is to layoff and/or charge more for your product. It is not a private businesses fault that healthcare costs increase, nor is the town's or, for that matter, those who pay taxes. The point here is flexibility. Town administrators MUST have the flexibility to adjust to the economic cycle and CBA's do enable this flexibility.
So what can we do to mitigate this problem in the future? We can tie union raises to inflation/COLA and the tax base. Additionally, we can offer healthcare programs equivalent to that of industry standards. I have never seen a commercial business offer the Cadillac healthcare plans equivalent to those offer to unions. Never!
Towns, like private businesses, have good years and bad years. If you fix the rates of raises and healthcare/benefits, then you lose the flexibility to follow the economic cycle and end up where Goffstown is today. Stuck with a bill that we cannot pay.
Let's leave Massachusetts
politics to the people of Massachusetts!