Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Thursday, September 17, 2009
  The Question is - Why?
A couple of months ago I sat through a city council meeting where Mayor Barrett excoriated those councilors and city employees who wanted the the City Council Finance Committee to review the city's self insurance premiums. The allegation had been made that the city had not paid its contractual share of the premiums, hence overcharging the employees or underfunding the insurance trust fund.

The Mayor insisted that this was a labor dispute and the process of mediation should be allowed to progress. He suggested that those who sought to resolve the issue at the city level were acting extra-legally.

The council voted 4 - 3 against reviewing the issue. Blackmer, Harpin, Marden and Cariddi took the mayor's position.

As the mediation process began, the mediator told the city that they needed to provide the documentation to prove they had, indeed, paid their share. This was several weeks ago. The deadline was this past Monday.

Guess what. The city did not provide the documents before the deadline and hence, mediation failed. The complaint now goes legal and will cost the city several thousands more dollars regardless of the outcome. As a taxpayer, I am not pleased.

So I am left asking, why? Why did the city miss the deadline after the mayor stood before council and demanded that the mediation process proceed?

Was there incompetence?

Did a dog eat somebody's homework?

Or does somebody benefit by dragging the process out? (November 3rd possibly?)

Frankly I don't like any of the answers that come to mind. I have my suspicions as to why the Mayor would want to keep any public findings out of the public eye for a while.

But I've got to say, with not very much hindsight, those councilors who voted against the motion to review the insurance trust fund blew it. They picked political sides rather than doing what is best for the city, or they got played by the mayor. Which is worse?
I hope the council puts a guard over the shredding machine after Barrett is defeated this fall.
I just don't get why the city wouldn't provide the documents. If they are right (like they insisted they were) it would be the end of it.

Just doesn't smell right.
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