Union members also picketed outside the Forbes Municipal Building before the meeting.
Malloy's proposal is part of article 10 on the Oct. 21 special town meeting warrant. The article asks “if the Town will vote to amend the following budgets at the following amounts for the purpose of funding the FY2014 budget.” The buildings and grounds salaries/wages line item would be reduced by $28,000, to $128,521.
Malloy declined comment after Tuesday night’s meeting.
Silva alleged that Malloy violated a March 2012 settlement with the union, in which "the town agreed that for the remainder of our current collective bargaining agreement expiring June 2013,” that it would "not seek to outsource custodial work and positions.” Silva added that "if the town decided to contract out custodial work and positions beginning July 1, 2013, it committed to notifying the union" on or before May 1, 2013.
Outsourcing custodial services was
"not among the issues discussed in bargaining" for the union’s
current contract, which took effect July 1, Silva said.
"The town manager decided to
outsource custodial services after May 1 simply because an employee notified
him of his impending retirement after May 1. He still had an obligation to
notify us" and give the union "an opportunity to meet,” Silva said in
a statement she read to the selectmen.
"Unbelievably, we only found out about this from the town warrant."
The settlement resulted from a similar situation during the summer of 2011, during which Malloy told the union that “the town was considering outsourcing custodial services for the town buildings, and offering our union an opportunity to discuss the impact of the decision on our co-workers,” Silva said.
The parties discussed that matter on
Aug. 8, 2011, she said. The union sought more details. And then an article to
contract out services was placed on the fall warrant, she said. The union then
filed an unfair labor practice with the state, she said.
Neither selectmen nor Malloy responded after Silva finished speaking. Selectman Denny Drewry was not present.
Selectmen voted 3-1, with Timothy Dodd
opposed, to support the article at town meeting.
“This, to me, is what I think the town has asked us to do,” Chairman Ian Johnson said.
“They’ve asked us to look at ways to help with the tax bills of the residents. This is a way that that can be done.”
Vice Chairman George Barrette, the board’s liaison to the council on aging, said the proposal would result in “significant cost savings.”
“I think this is a good idea,” Barrette said.
“I think this is the right way to do it. You’re not eliminating a person’s job. You’re eliminating a position.”
Barrette said he is “focused on finding economies of scale, wherever we can, regardless of how small.”
Dodd said he supported everything in the warrant article except the buildings and grounds proposal, and “I didn’t support it the last time.”
“While I certainly greatly appreciate the effort that went into it, my personal feeling is that while I don’t have any issue with cleaning contracted out for office buildings, I feel a building like the senior center or the library, where people are there every day, is very different. I think it’s similar to a school,” Dodd said.“Schools usually don’t contract out.”