PDT Staff Writer
Portsmouth Mayor David Malone says he has received little response from members of Portsmouth City Council to an email he sent about Council’s unanimous rejection May 14 of the newly-negotiated contract with FOP Lodge #33.
At the May 14 meeting, Council met in executive session without Malone. When they returned to Council chambers, they voted not to give second reading to the contract.
“It was about the FOP contract,” Portsmouth Council President John Haas said of the executive session. “When we (Council) discussed it, it was decided that I would talk to him (Malone) after the meeting about our concerns, and he has responded, and I think it’s going to be back on the agenda Thursday.”
On May 16, Malone sent an email to Council members sharing his concern about being excluded.
“This communication comes in an attempt to ascertain the concerns of Council as it relates to the FOP contract. As you should be aware of, your unwillingness to ratify said contract forces us to meet with the Union in an attempt to come to some agreement. Herein lies the problem, with no communication from Council, I have no idea what issues to re-address with the union should we be so fortunate to get them to sit and discuss anything further with the city,” Malone wrote. “I must say that, again, I am very perplexed with the way this matter has turned out. Looking back in retrospect and realizing you had at least four weeks to view the proposed changes to the contract and share with me any issues you may have. Yet, as of today, I have heard nothing from any of you as to what your concerns are or what disagreement you have with the contract. To vote “NO,” offering no explanation, no discussion, no dialog…..?”
Malone told the Portsmouth Daily Times on Tuesday he had not known what Council’s objections were until he saw a statement by Haas in a Daily Times story following the May 14 vote.
Haas said their objections were that perceived additional time off would cause the overtime budget to go up significantly; that seniority should play a larger role in special assignments, and the perceived need to have a permanent chief of police in place before the contract is ratified.
Malone said Haas eventually responded with a phone call.
“Councilman Haas did call me Thursday of last week, and just reiterated what was already in the paper, something I already knew at that particular point,” Malone said.
In an email dated May 19, Malone said he will be placing the FOP contract back on the legislative agenda, and hoped Council’s concerns have been addressed.
“I will be asking that the rules for three readings be suspended in order that this contract can be in effect immediately upon passage,” Malone wrote.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com.