Page 2 THE SAUGUS ADVOCATE – Friday, May 10, 2019 ASKS | from page 1 Q: Let me ask you, why did you decide to come here today for this demonstration, to be picketing outside of Town Hall? A: Because I’m a lunch lady, right now, at Saugus High, and they privatized us already, and I don’t feel they should privatize custodians. They’re more than custodians. I know what they do because I’ve seen what they do. I was never a union member because I am a substitute cafeteria worker. But I still support the union. Q: So, you are one of the lucky ones who kept your job after they brought in a company to replace the cafeteria workers. A: Yes. They kept a lot of us. But I enjoy my job, so I had to reapply for it. I no longer get paid by the Town of Saugus; I get paid by Whitsons, a private company. That could change in a couple of years, too. I’ve been through three food companies since I have been in the system. Q: Now, you have lived in town for a while? A: I have lived here 22 years. Q: And you have kids that have gone through the public school system here? A: Yes. Q: So, as a mother, you have gotten to know the custodians pretty well? A: Oh, sure. I know everybody by name. Everybody who has a child in the school knows the custodians by name, and they trust them; and as parents, they don’t want to see the custodians replaced. Q: What are some of the observations you have made over the years about what the custodians do? A: In the winter time – in the snow time – I have seen them all work hard. Rick [Nelson] opens the building at the high school. He snowblows. They keep that school running: When things break down, they fix them. They do a lot more than what people think. Q: You say the custodians do so much more than what the public realizes. Please share with me one of your favorite stories that you have observed over the years that illustrates how custodians “go the extra mile,” as they say A: When my son was at $3.39 $2.55 GALLON GALLON We accept: MasterCard * Visa * & Discover Price Subject to Change without notice 100 Gal. Min. 24 Hr. Service 781-286-2602 the Lynnhurst [Elementary School], he had a retainer. I told him that if he ever lost it, he would have to pay for it himself. Well, one day he lost it in the lunchroom and he was all upset, worried that he would never find it. It ended up in the dumpster. But the custodian went into the dumpster with my son and they opened up trash bags until they found the retainer. My son was nine at the time. But that’s something I’ll never forget. Q: What would be one of the first things you would notice if they privatized the school custodians? A: I can almost guarantee how filthy the kitchens will be – guarantee. Angela, who works at the high school, pulls up every mat that we have to stand on and sweeps them, mops every day. She is such an asset. We have two lunches. Filthy rotten tables and I mean filthy rotten – the way the kids treat them. The kids leave their rubbish. They don’t care, and Angela goes in and cleans up the table, clears the rubbish off the table for the next lunch; then she goes out and does it again, and we go out and wash the table. I can just imagine the rodent problem we will have if the privatization crew doesn’t do the sweeping and cleaning the way Angela does it. They might do it once a night, but Angela is in our kitchen, sweeping and cleaning and emptying the rubbish before it’s even full – every day. I can only imagine what it will be like. The brand-new school will stay clean-looking for a couple of years. You won’t notice it right away, but after a few years of not having these guys around, you’re going to see a big difference. Q: What do you hear from your friends, neighbors and people you run into out in the community, about this proposal to privatize the custodial staff? TOWN MEETING | from page 1 bag ban that would apply to all Massachusetts communities. But Devlin prevailed in making a compelling case for Saugus to adopt a bag ban of its own instead of waiting for state lawmakers to take action. “I really do respect their work, but I just don’t buy their argument,” Devlin said of the Finance Committee in an interview after members voted 2714 on Monday night for a new bylaw to eliminate single use plastic check-out bags that are distributed in town while promoting the use of reusable bags. “What Mike Serino said is so true – it takes cities and towns A: It’s not very popular. Everybody I know is against it and don’t think it should happen. Me, personally, the way I feel about this – the superintendent was hired to do this. The last job he had, he privatized it. They hired him to do the same thing here, and I hope it doesn’t happen. I hope they get so much objection from the public that it doesn’t happen. Q: So you think the superintendent is just following orders here? A: I do. Q: Who do you think is behind the privatization? A: The town manager, probably. I think it’s all about money. It’s not about community or safety. The custodians do a lot of work that people take for granted; they’ve walked drunks out of school; they’re our safety. I’ve been in shutdowns. I’ve been in lockdowns when they’ve gone around checking the doors. Who is going to be in charge of checking my safety after they privatize and get rid of the custodians? Not just mine – who’s going to be in charge of checking the children’s safety? Q: So, you mentioned about one custodian letting a drunk out of the building. A: Yes. Rick [Nelson] has done that before. They know when there is a stranger in the building. They ask, “What are you here for?” They are security and cleaners. They’re childcare. They go out of their way to get things started. We don’t know how long it will take for the state to do something. But we have an opportunity to shape how the state ban will look,” she said. Precinct 10 Town Meeting Member Michael J. Serino told his colleagues that “the state is not a leader in environmental initiatives.” “It’s always the cities and towns that take the lead in these issues,” he said. When enough cities and towns show some leadership, the state takes action, according to Serino. Article 15 drew the most discussion and debate during the opening night of this year’s Annual Town Meeting. Members will consider a similar measure (Article 16) – the “Polystyrene Food Container Reduction Bylaw” – when Town Meeting reconvenes on Monday, May 20. Devlin, who is president of Saugus Action Volunteers for the Environment (SAVE), which authored the two articles, said she is not worried about the state Attorney General’s Office finding problems with Article 15. “We have the same language in the article as severto help you and help the teachers. They are so much more than what people think of custodians; they do so much more, so much more that they are not even asked to do. I can’t imagine how much people take for granted now that they are going to miss when they privatize – to hire cheaper people. Who is going to shovel? Who is going to snowblow? Who is going to leaf blow? I’ve seen the custodians cutting grass. Who is going to do all that work when they’re gone? The town officials think they’re going to save money, but they’re really not going to. Oh, they think they’ll get rid of the pensions. Q: Anything else that you would like to share? A: Yes. These guys are great. About three weeks ago, the ovens weren’t working. Rick Nelson and Carlos Gonzalez come right in and they get everything working. If they privatize, we’re going to miss these guys. I have other concerns about hiring an outside company to have people come to work in the school with people we don’t know, replacing people we know and feel comfortable with. For me to go into the classroom and read a book, I have to be CORIed [criminal background check under the state’s Criminal Offender Record Information law]. But to hire a company to come in and clean, they say they won’t be CORIed. I find that hard to believe, but that’s what I hear. al other cities and towns that have adopted bylaws. So, that shouldn’t be a problem,” Devlin told The Saugus Advocate. “I’m very excited and very encouraged that we will make it 102 … the number of communities in Massachusetts that have signed on,” she said. An unfavorable recommendation by the Finance Committee can often hinder an article’s chances of passing. But the FinCom recommendation for the article to be postponed indefinitely failed, 13-28. A motion to return the article to its author also failed, 16-25. There was another suggestion that the article be referred to the next Special or Annual Town Meeting. Precinct 1 Town Meeting Member Ronald Witten said he supported the article “in theory,” but voted against the measure in all three votes because he didn’t think it was a proper matter for Town Meeting to be considering. “This should be put on a ballot. Let the citizens of Saugus decide,” Witten said. “If it’s going to affect every citizen of Saugus, they should have a vote,” he said. Precinct 10 Town Meeting

3 Publizr Home

You need flash player to view this online publication