DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

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February 27, 2014

Derry councilors challenge contract vote

Osborne and Dimmock mount a challenge

DERRY — Two town councilors are challenging last week’s vote on a collective bargaining agreement between the town and its management and technical staff.

Councilors Mark Osborne and Al Dimmock cried foul after last week’s Town Council approval of the Professional Administration and Technical Employees Union contract, saying the voting procedure did not follow the rules and the contract should not be signed.

Osborne, an attorney, said he would take legal action if the contract is enforced.

At a meeting Feb. 18, councilors approved the PATE contract by a vote of 3-2, with Councilor Phyllis Katsakiores abstaining.

Acting Town Administrator Larry Budreau called the deal “a good contract for all parties” and said it was a tough negotiation process.

The contract had been before councilors at a previous meeting.

Budreau gave a more detailed presentation on the points of the contract last week. Osborne and Dimmock both wanted to delay a vote to allow councilors and the public to absorb the information. That motion failed.

Osborne called out a charter objection to the potential vote, but that attempt also failed, 3-2. Councilors Brad Benson, Neil Wetherbee and Council Chairman Michael Fairbanks then gave the OK to the contract. Osborne and Dimmock voted against approving the deal that had been in negotiations for three years. It would give general wage increases for the length of the contract.

Osborne’s challenge to the vote was due to language in the town charter that says the union contract could only be passed if a “majority vote” of those present was given.

He said there was no majority that night with only six councilors in attendance and one voting to abstain.

In an email to both Fairbanks and Budreau, Osborne said, “With only three councilors voting in favor of the contract, that is not a majority of those present, hence the measure fails.”

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