THE SAUGUS ADVOCATE – Friday, June 14, 2019 Page 17 Young Thespians ~ Letter to the Editor ~ On privatization of school custodians Saugus School Committee & Town Officials, It’s truly disappointing to hear that last night at an impact meeting between Saugus town officials and the Union representatives for the custodians, that you informed the custodians that you were moving forward with the privatization of their positions and that they would be terminated. That you would be replacing them with a company that pays their employees minimum wage, and that has no connection to the town of Saugus, and more importantly the teachers and students of the town. Not surprising unfortunately, but disappointing. Disappointing that you YOUNG ACTORS: Left to right, Annalee Messina, an 8th grader from Wakefield, and Sebastiano DiModica, a 7th grader from Saugus, performed in North Shore Christian School’s production of “Ella Enchanted” on May 17 and 18 at the East Baptist Church in Lynn. Both students attend North Shore Christian School on the Lynn Campus. “Sebastiano’s love for acting starting when he was in 4th grade at North Shore Christian School when he performed in his first school play, ‘Oliver Twist,’ as Bill Sykes,” according to Christine Saia, the school’s Director of Admissions. “He is currently pursing an acting career and is working with an agency out of Boston, Model Club Inc, and an agency out of N.Y., MMG,” she said. Sebastiano performed the leading role as Prince Charmont. “Ella Enchanted” is based on the novel by Gail Carson Levine and adapted and directed by Amelia Smith with special arrangement with Miramax. (Courtesy Photo to The Saugus Advocate) SERVICE | from page 2 of the exemption provides the public with an opportunity to review the rejected proposals to ensure that taxpayer dollars are wisely spent.” Under the second clause of the exemption, government officials are allowed to withhold any inter-agency or intra-agency communications regarding the evaluations of the bids or proposals until the records custodian renders a decision to enter into negotiations with the successful bidder or awards the contract. The guide poses questions and answers, similar to concerns raised by School Committee Members Elizabeth Marchese and Lisa Morgante – both who claim they were denied information about the bids that should have been provided (See similar story): –Question: May the records custodian withhold proposal and bid documents until the records custodian has finalized a contract with the construction company or developer? –Answer: The first clause of Exemption (h) allows the records custodian to withhold proposals and bids from disclosure until the time for the opening bids or until the time for receipt of proposals has expired. Once that occurs, the proposals and bids no longer fall under the protection of Exemption (h) and can no longer be withheld. –Question: May the records cuswould choose to lie to the faces of long term town employees with families to support, and residents that overwhelmingly oppose this move. Disappointing that you would choose to negotiate in bad faith. Disappointing that you would block these employees, their families, and their supporters from being heard at a town meeting, and disappointing that you would decide to break protocol, not put this to a vote by the School Committee, and push this through under the cover of darkness. I know a lot of people on this email are probably confused. todian withhold any records concerning the evaluations of the bidders and the awarding process, and at what point do the records become public? –Answer: The second clause of Exemption (h) allows the records custodian to withhold any interagency or intra-agency communications that are made in the process of reviewing the bids and proposals, prior to entering into negotiations with or to award the contract to a particular person. The records custodian may withhold the records pursuant to Exemption (h) only until the contract has been awarded. Once a decision has been made to enter into negotiations the records custodian can no longer withhold the records. Wondering how the custodians and their families were notified they were being terminated when we were assured by Superintendent DeRuosi that this matter would be brought to a vote. Well, unfortunately, as is all too common in politics, especially politics in Saugus, they LIED. They lied throughout this entire process and they continue to lie. This has never been about privatization of the custodians and whether or not it was the best option for Saugus. Many believe it is not, but that was never at the heart of this issue. What this was about is just how poorly you have treated your own employees and their families. All that was being asked for was open and honest dialogue around this issue and you shut that down at every opportunity. You engaged in “contract negotiations” in bad faith, knowing that you were going to bring in an outside vendor the entire time. When your intentions got out and the custodians and their families attended a town meeting wanting to know what was going on and if their jobs were in jeopardy, they were not allowed to speak. They were told that this issue, the issue of how they were going to support their families, was not on the agenda and was a School Committee matter. When they took it to the School Committee they were told that if there were going to be any changes there would be a vote and everyone would have an opportunity to speak on it. In fact, two of your School Committee Members, Lisa Morgante and Liz Marchese, signed a petition to get this matter on the agenda for the June 20 School Committee meeting. They assured me that they wanted this matter to be discussed openly and for everyone to be heard, but at the end of the day the agenda was set by Chairperson Meredith and there wasn’t much they could do about it. And now here we are. Not only did this matter never make it to the agenda for open discussion, the town pushed through this approval without ever bringing it to a vote. I’m sure many are wondering why the town would choose to operate in this manner, why they would treat long time employees like they didn’t matter, and the truth is because they don’t care about their employees and they don’t care about the residents of Saugus. If they did they would have encouraged open dialogue, listened to the concerns of their employees and residents, and pushed for a transparent process. Instead they lied, lied some more, and then decided to push this privatization through after holding backroom meetings that the public was not privy to. This entire process was a complete and utter disgrace, but there is plenty of blame to share outside of just School Committee members DeRuosi, Meredith, Marchese, Gaieski, Morgante, and Magliozzi. Where was the Town Manager and the Board of Selectmen when people were asking for transparency and open dialogue? The problem with the Saugus town government has always been that they lack vision, and the reason for this is that they lack true leadership. I hope that come November the people of Saugus will vote for change. That they will vote for true leaders that value town employees, encourage open dialogue, and that put the best interests of its residents above their own personal interests. What’s apparent right now is that a leader like that doesn’t currently exist in Saugus. Christian Moore

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