THE SAUGUS ADVOCATE – Friday, June 7, 2019 Page 3 Special Town Meeting: Session to consider resolution opposing privatization of school maintenance is set for June 24 By Mark E. Vogler P recinct 5 Town Meeting Member Ron Wallace will finally get a chance to ask his colleagues to express support for the Saugus Public Schools’ 21 custodians whose jobs are endangered. Selectmen voted 4-0 unanimously at Wednesday night’s meeting to set a Special Town Meeting for 7:30 p.m. on June 24 to consider a nonbinding resolution to oppose the privatization of school maintenance services. But whatever Wallace and his colleagues have to say during the Special Town Meeting may not matter or may be too late to influence the vote of School Committee members. They are expected to decide four days earlier – at their June 20 meeting – whether the custodians keep or lose their jobs. Meanwhile, there are indications that school custodians won’t be allowed to speak at the School Committee meeting, even though their jobs are on the line. Richard A. Fioravanti, Vice President of AFSCME 262 – the local that represents the custodians – wrote in a Letter-to-the-Editor published in today’s Saugus Advocate that custodians requested to be on the agenda that night but were denied. “That request was ignored thus denying public discourse on this matter, as such and again in my opinion I feel the elimination of these long term and loyal employees is the stuff of antiunion animus personal agenda and political agenda it is in the end disgraceful in nature,” Fioravanti wrote. The Special Town Meeting comes as a result of Wallace being denied by Town Moderator Stephen N. Doherty to read his nonbinding resolution on two different nights during sessions last month of the Annual Town Meeting. Doherty said he wouldn’t allow the resolution to be read – a sharp departure from past Town Meetings, where resolutions could be introduced at any time. Former School Committee Member Corinne Riley organized a signature drive that garnered 217 signatures of registered town voters certified by the town clerk, enough to have the anti-privatization resolution to be read and debated on the floor of the Special Town Meeting. The signature drive engineered by Riley also received 290 certified signatures of registered voters, leading to a second warrant article for the Special Town Meeting. This one is a proposal to add a new section to the Town of Saugus Bylaws that would provide a procedure for Town Meeting members to introduce nonbinding resolutions. At Wednesday night’s selectmen’s meeting, Riley told selectmen that she had hoped for the Special Town Meeting to be held earlier than the June 20 School Committee meeting, when the custodians’ fate will be decided. But even the possibility of the nonbinding resolution having no influence on the School Committee, at least the adoption of specific procedures for Town Meeting members to follow in introducing a nonbinding resolution would guarantee “the more important thing – freedom of speech,” Riley said. A new bylaw would make sure “that this won’t happen again,” Riley said. Selectmen Wallace echoed Riley’s sentiments during a citizen’s comments period later in the meeting. “Everything I do in Town Meeting is for the residents of the town,” Wallace said. “Hopefully, this will clear up any gray areas for resolutions,” he said. Later in the meeting, Lynnhurst Elementary School PTO Co-President Mary Migliore spoke in support of keeping the custodians. She said it would be “a shame” if the School Committee voted to privatize custodial services. “They love their jobs and they do them very well,” Migliore told selectmen. “I really think we should look long and hard on this issue for the town,” she said. “We know who they are,” Migliore said, stressing that PTO members feel comfortable and confident in the quality of work performed by the custodians. The contracts for the custodians is set to expire on June 30, the end of the current fiscal year. Supporters of the custodians are concerned that the window is narrowing, and there is speculation that Saugus Public Schools Superintendent Dr. David DeRuosi, Jr. has already taken steps to have a private company ready to replace the custodians on dine drink gather enjoy THE NORTH SHORE'S HOTTEST NIGHTCLUB! 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