Ward 7 City Councilor Gene Tacy says the Fire Department’s most recent contract gives each member $14.06 for each medical call they respond to, in addition to their regular compensation. In aggregate, these stipends add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
In the Finance Committee portion of last night’s City Council meeting, Tacy says he feels the stipend is excessive and unusual in Western Massachusetts. Mayor Clare Higgins responds that she would like to discuss the matter in executive session, as she feels it is a collective bargaining issue.
Here is a 9-minute YouTube video of this part of the City Council meeting. This video was recorded by Adam Cohen.
Selected quotes from the video:
Councilor Gene Tacy: “I thought I was reading the bonuses for Fortune 500 companies…”
Mayor Clare Higgins: “With all due respect councilor, the council is not involved in collective bargaining… Do you want to talk about should they [the stipends] be lowered?”
Higgins: “…The council does not bargain the contracts. I come to you for advice, and I’m happy to do that in an executive session.”
Tacy: “…I researched every city and town in Western Massachusetts–South Hadley, Westfield, Agawam, Ludlow, all of them—and none of them offer this… It just seemed like profit sharing to me…”
Higgins: “…This is the prerogative of the executive. If you’re opposed to it, you should vote down the budget, and you should vote against the transfers, and then I would have to go find the money somewhere else…”
Tacy: “…I read the contract as though we’re giving away the store here…”
We’ll publish a video of the complete City Council meeting within a few days.
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[Northampton Media:] Ward 7 Councilor Eugene Tacy, Ward 3 Councilor Angela Plassmann, and Ward 6 Councilor Marianne LaBarge are openly opposing the appropriation, and have said that the bucket loader represents an unnecessary expenditure during tough economic times…