By Mary Macedo, Neighb News Correspondent
At its meeting on Monday, 2/6, the Fairhaven Board of Public Works discussed the property on 232 Huttleston Ave., hired for the Sewer department, and discussed a grievance within the department.
The first matter the BPW addressed was a discussion regarding GCG Associates Engineering Services working on the new property at 232 Huttleston Avenue. Contractor Peter DeTerra previously met with the board to discuss the water service to the property.
Water Superintendent Edward Fortin met with Mr. DeTerra to discuss the water at the property and they will meet again next Monday for a pre-construction meeting.
Mr. Fortin’s initial concern about the water pipe on the property was that it would not be large enough to supply enough water for the proposed construction of two buildings. Mr. DeTerra told the board at a previous meeting that they would no longer be building two buildings, so the pipe would only have to handle one building, and it was sufficient for that.
Mr. Fortin, Mr. DeTerra and the engineers will meet next week to discuss the plans to begin construction.
Before the board moved on to discuss another matter ,board member, Robert “Hoppy” Hobson wanted to discuss some issues he had with the agenda from the last BPW meeting that was held on 1/23.
At the last meeting the discussion with Mr. DeTerra regarding the Huttleston Avenue property was not on the agenda and some members on the board did not feel comfortable discussing a matter not on the agenda.
“When you table something can it be brought up at the next meeting without being on the agenda,” Mr. Hobson asked.
He explained to the board that he wanted to make a motion not to discuss issues that are not on the agenda.
Board members Jarrod Lusier and Brian Wotton agreed with Mr. Hobson.
“I agree with you,” Mr. Wotton said. “But you want to vote on something that is not on the agenda right now.”
Mr. Wotton said to be fair they should put the issue on the agenda for next meeting, so they do not contradict their own argument.
Chairperson Mike Ristuccia agreed that the vote be put on the agenda for the next meeting.
In another matter the board met with Marie Rock who was requesting a waiver for a basketball hoop on 260 Green Street.
Ms. Rock used to have a basketball hoop on her property about two feet from the street. The town is concerned with the hoop being so close to the street, especially in the winter with snow and the possibility that a plow may hit it.
Mr. Wotton suggested that the backboard of the hoop be over the grass area. Mr. Wotton said he is not opposed to the hoop because that area of Green Street is not that busy.
Board members agreed that they do not want to stop the kids from being able to play basketball, but told Ms. Rock that the hoop must continue to be at least two feet away from the street. The board informed Ms. Rock that she must sign the waiver stating that if a plow ruins the hoop or the hoop causes any damage to anything on the street, she is responsible for it.
The board approved the waiver unanimously.
In another matter the board interviewed John McGilvray for the position of Sewer System Maintenance Craftsman. Mr. McGilvray recently passed his Grade 4 water exam and is currently taking a waste water treatment class for his Grade 5 and 6 licenses.
“You’re conscientious and work hard,” Mr. Ristuccia said.
The board approved the promotion unanimously.
In another matter, the board discussed a grievance within the Sewer Department. Public Works Superintendent Vincent Furtado explained that a grievance was submitted stating that an unqualified employee, John McGilvray, was allowed to be on call and use the pager for overtime.
Mr. Furtado said the grievance was filed because Mr. McGilvray, who had the overtime pager, did not at the time have his wastewater license. He earned his wastewater license four days after he was allowed to use the on-call pager.
Sewer Department Superintendent, Linda Schick told the board that she advised Mr. McGilvray that, while he was on call, if a problem arose that he was not qualified to handle on his own, he should call qualified employees to assist him.
While Mr. McGilvray was on call that weekend a problem did occur and he did as he was told and called qualified employees to help.
The union decided to file a grievance because they felt that Mr. McGilvray was not qualified to be on call in the first place.
Mr. Ristuccia explained that he could not find anything in the union contract that specifies whether or not you need to have a specific license to be on call.
“Nowhere does it say you can’t hold the beeper and call employees to help without a license,” Mr. Ristuccia said.
Mr. Wotton explained that at the time Mr. McGilvray was hired the BPW gave him six months to acquire the license for the job requirement, which Mr. McGilvray now has, but at the time that Mr. McGilvray was on call he was four days away from earning the license.
“I feel like this grievance should be thrown out,” Mr. Wotton said. “But I see why it was issued.”
“It is not a requirement to have a license as a maintenance man,” Ms. Schick said.
Mr. Ristuccia asked Union Representative George Belanger what they wanted from the grievance.
He explained that all the union wanted was to make it known that unlicensed employees should not be on call or in charge of the overtime pager.
Mr. Wotton asked Ms. Schick if there was list of who was on call and when they were on call.
She said there was a list posted so that all the employees know who is on call and when.
Mr. Wotton explained that he would have expected the grievance to be filed before Mr. McGilvray got the pager. If everyone knew Mr. McGilvray was on the on-call list why wasn’t the issue addressed before.
“I think he didn’t do anything he shouldn’t have,” Mr. Wotton said. “He called the correct people to help him get the job done.”
Mr. Wotton explained that the grievance should be withdrawn, so that everyone can work together “happily.” He said he felt like the grievance was causing problems instead of making a newer employee feel welcome.
“We have worked well together and our disagreements have always been productive,” Mr. Belanger said. “I just have to take contracts seriously.”
Ms. Schick noted that the six or seven sewer employees at the meeing showed up to support Mr. McGilvray.
“These folks all work together and it seems like this grievance is a stretch,” Mr. Ristuccia said.
Mr. Belanger noted that he could not ask the union employees who they were supporting.
Mr. Hobson suggested that Mr. Belanger and any other sewer employees that want to should meet with Ms. Schick and Mr. Furtado and change the language of the sewer employee contracts to fit what they think the rules should be.
The board and Mr. Belanger agreed to hold the grievance in abeyance until they have a meeting on Friday to discuss the issue.
“Hopefully in the future we can avoid these things,” Mr. Ristuccia said.
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