THE SAUGUS ADVOCATE – Friday, June 14, 2019 Page 3 Custodian’s wife says her newborn child and family are victims of privatization By Mark E. Vogler H aving another child couldn’t come at a more difficult time for Michelle Swanson, who was expecting a baby boy soon, a couple of weeks before her husband Chris loses his job as a custodian. “My son Brandon will be three in August and I have another boy on the way,” Swanson, a 2002 Saugus High School graduate, said Monday after signing a petition in support of the custodians to be retained. “I found out in September that he might lose his job. Then I found out I was pregnant. So, right after I have the baby, Chris is going to be out of work,” she said. “You know, I think the whole thing has been done pretty sneaky. And I think people in town need to know what’s happening. It’s just a shame that the town is just going to be hiring a private cleaning service to replace our custodians, who do so much more,” she said. Michelle Swanson was one of 65 people who showed up Monday at Dunkin’ Donuts on Hamilton Street at a signature-gathering rally organized by Corinne Riley. A supporter of the custodians, Riley has already gathered enough signatures of registered voters to get a Special Town Meeting scheduled for June 24 when members will consider a nonbinding resolution to support the custodians over privatization. But custodians interviewed by The Saugus Advocate say it may be too late because a company has already been hired to replace the custodians. But Riley said she is determined to get as many signatures as possible – and they don’t need to be certified – to demonstrate the widespread community support for the custodians. She and other supporters plan to hold another signature-signing rally on June 18, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Dunkin’ Donuts on Hamilton Street. Combined with those signatures that the town clerk certified to qualify for the Special Town Meeting MORE THAN JUST A PAYCHECK: Alicia Dragon says she’s “going to miss the kids” (Saugus Advocate photos by Mark E. Vogler) “The custodians are so valuable because they know the ins and outs of the buildings better than anyone. They’re the painters, they’re the plumbers, they’re the people who show up when there’s no school to shovel snow and they’re the people who go in on weekends to check out the buildings,” she said. “How is a private company going to do what our custodians do?” Chris Swanson, a 2000 SauBAD TIMING: Michelle Swanson says the thrill of giving birth to a second young child this week has been accompanied by some bad news: Her husband will soon be out of a school custodian’s job. warrant, the petition total has reached 405 people, according to Riley. Meanwhile, Michelle Swanson, who expected to have her baby boy on June 17, gave birth to the child on Wednesday. His name is Grayson Michael Swanson. “Our custodians do so much work that people don’t even think about. They play basketball with the kids. And they go through dumpsters, looking for the retainer that somebody lost or the private spoon that a kid threw away,” Michelle said. gus High School graduate, has worked as a custodian for about 19 years – ever since high school, beginning as part-time summer help, according to Michelle. He has spent the last decade as the head custodian at Oaklandvale Elementary School, she said. Alicia Dragon, 61, of Lynn, said she has worked as a high school custodian in Saugus Public Schools for 20 years. “No official notice yet – no letter saying that my job has been terminated – but I know it’s coming,” Dragon said. “I need the job because I need to pay the rent. But, most of all, I am going to miss the kids. I love the kids and I’ll miss the hell out of them,” Dragon said. “We go above and beyond what’s required to do things to help these kids. They make our days bright. They are awesome,” she said. 221 Newbury Street, Danvers For Tickets call (978) 774-7270 or www.breakawaydanvers.com Congratulations to the Class of 2019 Congratulations to the Class of 2019 “As a parent, I’m very protective of my son and want to see him develop to the best of his abilities. Adult Foster Care of the North Shore has been a vital asset to our family over the past five years in helping find resources for Brett.” Ted, Caregiver to Son, Brett 978-281-2612 AdultFosterCareNS.com Celebrating 18 Years dine drink gather enjoy THE NORTH SHORE'S HOTTEST NIGHTCLUB! Friday, June 14 at 8:30 PM New England's #1 Dance Band WILDFIRE Saturday, June 15 at 8:30 PM Country Music Sensation THE ULTRA Friday, June 21 at 8:30 PM WHAMMER JAMMER Saturday, June 22 at 9 PM OZZMOSIS Friday, June 28 at 9 PM TANGERINE Saturday, June 29 at 9 PM TIGERLILY

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