Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


May 29, 2014

Time to stop the insanity

Editor, Townsman:

Concerning the coverage of the negotiations between the town and the Public Employees Committee, as well as Mr. Bob Landry’s letter and Mr. Gregory Serrao’s before his, there seems to be a “blood in the water” mentality. What I object to is the lack of complete information that might make clearer why the vote at Town Meeting to reject the $680,000 reduction amendment was the right vote.

First off, we also learned at Town Meeting that the current plan guaranteed rates for two years, while the Tufts plan only guaranteed them for one. Would you buy a used car for $5,000 with a one-year warranty or pay $6,000 and get a two-year warranty? Both choices have merit. It is fine to have a preference, but could we at least make note of this fact somewhere?

There were some five meetings with the PEC that covered the pros and cons of this decision and it was not the Andover Education Association alone that voted to keep the current plan. There are 15 interests represented at the table. Is the AEA so all-powerful? That one speaker at Town Meeting says it was done for “retribution” is nonsense. But it is provocative, and so let’s cloud the facts with baseless charges.

Mr. Landry points out the “outrageousness” of the benefit, without balancing that with the fact that this is part of compensation. People make choices where to work, Public- and private-sector jobs both come with total compensation, not just your weekly paycheck. Many workers in this town, at all levels, chose to work here and be paid less money year in and year out. This benefit is part of the reason why. Shall we simply pull the rug out from under them? I am not against addressing the benefit going forward, but we have a social contract with our employees and that should be respected out of fairness to them. They have earned that fairness.

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