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June 22, 2012

A Kind Word From (and for) Campi

by at 11:56 am.

My sharp tongue has earned me a rebuke from the spiritual leader of the “Downtown Mob.” You may be surprised to learn, I take note of such admonition.

So, it is with kind spirit that I praise the latest editorial from the Blog of Record The Lowell Sun.

After nearly four years of living on the economic edge, precipitated by the worst economic downtown since the Great Depression, the city can breathe a sigh of relief. Lowell is not flush in cash by any means, but the Lynch administration has navigated the fiscal ship through turbulent seas and earned Master-and-Commander status.

And unless there is a cataclysmic collapse in state local aid - which isn’t likely - Lowell is in a position to slowly and steadily build its stabilization funds and reserve accounts in the years ahead.

Let’s say, for now, I have a disagreement with this part of the Editorial. I think it is wise to provide our city workers living wages that acknowledge an awareness of their value per a “total compensation” perspective.

We do have one concern, however. Lynch appears too free with the people’s money when it comes to granting pay increases to the city’s unions and administrative personnel. He has negotiated a three-year, 7 percent increase for the Superior Police Officers Union, the first of 12 new union contracts that must be negotiated. The 7 percent sets a benchmark for all other unions.

Several area towns have settled with their unions for 4 percent over three years. Why does Lowell pay a premium?

Lynch would argue that the city has received important union concessions that will save money down the road. We give him credit for that. But the give-something to get-something approach - long a public-sector negotiation tactic dictated by unions - is no longer valid today; the private sector has undergone a major correction on salaries/benefits and the public sector isn’t exempt.

That said, the City Council and the Lynch administration should take a bow for a job well done.

Blog On!

5 Responses to “A Kind Word From (and for) Campi”

  1. Jack Says:

    Jinx!

    Not 7 minutes after I pucker up, the City Manager pushes back on a Lyle Moran story that “fails to accurately report.”

    You can read the details over on gerrynutter’slowell

  2. joe from Lowell Says:

    Bernie Lynch has done an admirable job as a fiscal manager and deserves a whole boat-load of credit, but let’s not forget the other half of the equation:

    The revitalization of this city, stemming largely through an array of policies that have remained consistent across several administrations.

  3. JC Says:

    Lynch is making the right moves in this case.

    I agree that the CM is a fine professional city manager who has excelled in fiscal management. I like that and I want that success to continue. But, I also believe he needs to provided stronger leadership and oversight of all executive departments. Today’s press release is a good step in that direction.

    Lynch’s press release contains the following verbiage: “Lack of knowledge of the theft was not the result of an accounting weakness, but the result of willful deception. In this case, the City administration specifically selected the kiosk system and kiosk software to prevent this type of theft from occurring. What was not immediately preventable by the City was the deliberate and concealed misuse of the kiosk system and its related software. While these actions would not have continued indefinitely, their existence only just came to light as a result of a “concerned citizen.”

    Note the use by the CM of two key phrases: “Willful deception” and “Deliberate and concealed misuse of the kiosk system”

    The CM’s choice of language is pointed and unequivocal. It closely resembles language used by prosecutors when talking about criminal conduct. He gets it - some things can not and will not be tolerated! Great!

  4. Christopher Says:

    Is the Sun seriously suggesting that Lynch should not negotiate with unions? I’m concerned about the line, “But the give-something to get-something approach - long a public-sector negotiation tactic dictated by unions - is no longer valid today;” Isn’t that the very definition of a negotiation - that both sides give something to get something? I suppose the Sun prefers the Scott Walker approach:(

  5. Eleanor Rigby Says:

    Christopher:
    “Is the Sun seriously suggesting that Lynch should not negotiate with unions? I’m concerned about the line, “But the give-something to get-something approach - long a public-sector negotiation tactic dictated by unions - is no longer valid today;” Isn’t that the very definition of a negotiation - that both sides give something to get something? I suppose the Sun prefers the Scott Walker approach:( ”

    Don’t forget that the Sun was able to shed itself of unions under the leadership of the Late Paul Sullivan (and with it a host of top veteran reporters) so the Sun’s editoral seems to me to say that they no longer understand or use “negotiations” themselves or have confused the meaning of “negotiation” with a policy of “take it or there’s the door!”

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