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Official says state employee unions can’t participate in LGC hearings | SeacoastOnline.com

Isn’t funny that the people who have been screaming for months that LGC owes New Hampshire millions of dollars is now being force out of the hearings.

Official says state employee unions can’t participate in LGC hearings | SeacoastOnline.com: “Unions representing state employees and retirees will not be allowed to participate in ongoing hearings to vet allegations against the Local Government Center, an insurance pool formed to help municipalities achieve favorable rates.

In a Nov. 3 decision by hearings officer Donald Mitchell, the unions were denied a request to intervene in the hearings which were initiated by Bureau of Securities Regulation attorney Earle Wingate III. After hearing arguments on both sides during an Oct. 18 hearing, Mitchell ruled Thursday that the unions’ allegations “mirror” those of the BSR and it’s the BSR that’s charged by statute with oversight of the municipal insurance pools.”

Firefighters Protect our homes now we need to Protect our FireFighters

This is a video from the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) explaining the importance of the American Jobs Act.  We need to ensure the safety of our communities.  With all of the cuts made to the Cities and Town’s Budgets many firefighters have been laid off.  These layoffs result in slower response times and fewer Firefighters to respond.

Three New Articles About the LGC Case in New Hampshire

Hearing weighs who can intervene in LGC case – Fosters: “CONCORD — The second administrative hearing involving the Local Government Center was entirely focused on the term “interested parties,” as attorneys went back and forth Tuesday over which entities should be involved in proceeding hearings.

Attorneys Glen Milner and Peter Perroni, who represent the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire and the New England Police Benevolent Association as well as tens of thousands of individuals affiliated with unions and organizations looking to intervene in the proceedings, explained to Hearings Officer Don Mitchell that their clients should be considered “interested parties” because of the large amounts of money they have paid to the LGC.

The umbrella organization is currently under scrutiny for seeding a workers’ compensation program through a 1 percent surcharge that municipalities and their employees were paying through their involvement with the LGC’s HealthTrust program. An investigation by the Secretary of State and the Bureau of Securities Regulation suggests the LGC owes the cities and towns involved upward of $100 million.”

In midst of $100M claim, LGC seeks to change corporate structure | SeacoastOnline.com:CONCORD — The Local Government Center has filed to change the corporate structure of its subsidiary limited liability companies, two weeks after the Bureau of Securities Regulation filed a legal claim criticizing the formation of those LLCs.

Meanwhile, a hearings officer is deliberating whether to allow some 10,000 state workers and retirees to join as “interveners” in a $100 million claim the BSR filed against the LGC.

BSR attorney Earle Wingate III said the LGC, through Executive Director Maura Carroll, filed documents seeking to restructure its LLCs Friday afternoon in an effort to “fix the mess.” The LLCs pertain to health and property liability insurance pools that are funded with tax dollars and contributions by public employees and retirees.

In a legal complaint filed against the LGC two weeks ago, Wingate noted the LLCs failed to file annual reports from 2004 through 2011 and were improperly managed by single members — currently Carroll and, before her, retired director John Andrews. He said management of the LGC’s illegal limited liability companies was “flawed from the beginning” and because those LLCs are independent legal entities, they have “no connection” to the LGC and therefore “no proper management.”

Unions seek to enter suit | Concord Monitor: “Attorneys for the state’s biggest unions made their case yesterday for why they should be part of a lawsuit seeking about $100 million from the Local Government Center.

“We clearly meet the definition of an interested party that is set out in the statute,” said attorney Glenn Milner, representing thousands of teachers, firefighters and other municipal employees. “Our reasoning behind that is simple: Public employees – both active and retired – are the real victims of the alleged unlawful conduct by the LGC. It’s their money.”

Public hearings began earlier this month on allegations that the LGC – which provides municipalities across the state with services such as health insurance, legal help and lobbying – violated state law by failing to return surplus money from pooled risk programs that provide cities and towns with health and property insurance. The organization instead used the money to subsidize a workers compensation pool, according to a state investigation report in August.

NH Labor News articles for 10/6/11 on LGC and RTW

Rep Baldasaro has been no friend to Labor in recent months. He has been a proponent of the Right To Work bill in the halls of the state house.  Now he is being asked to resign over comments he made about the “Don’t ask don’t tell” policy in the military.

Democrats want Baldasaro to resign: “Rep. Al Baldasaro, R-Londonderry, said he has “no regrets” and no intention of stepping down after the state Democratic Party yesterday called for his resignation.
Baldasaro has been at the center of controversy since telling the political blog ThinkProgress on Friday that he was “disgusted” when an openly gay soldier asked a question regarding “don’t ask, don’t tell” over a video hookup during a presidential primary debate in Florida.”

Nashua Alderman at large candidate wants to Increase the size and budget of the Nashua police and fire departments.

Donchess seeking alderman-at-large with eye to present: ““We need to get back to basics. We need to focus on our core mission,” he said.  For Donchess, that mission includes “a common sense approach to government.” Education, police and fire should be kept strong, but other services need to be reviewed as the city tries to operate in a weak economy, he said.”

More news on the ongoing LGC scandal.

City manager ‘not liable’ in LGC mistakes:Hearings officer Don Mitchell, retired director of the N.H. Public Employees Labor Relations Board, scheduled Oct. 18 for a subsequent hearing on motions filed by public employees’ unions to intervene as interested parties in the LGC dispute. The unions allege they have direct interest in the outcome, while the LGC counters that the unions’ involvement during future hearings would be redundant and more costly.

Both sides concurred that the debate is likely to continue during future hearings expected to last into the spring of 2012.

Previous Posts from NHLNN

Sounds like the 12th will be a full day of fun and GOP. Speakers and possible RTW votes. I bet every one of the GOP Candidates get up there and say that the NH House should vote to override. Even though None of the Candidates live or work in New Hampshire and should not be telling New Hampshire what we should be doing.

GOP candidates to address NH House | New Hampshire NEWS0605: ” Several major Republican presidential candidates have accepted invitations to address the New Hampshire House in a session being held Wednesday, Oct. 12.
Speaker of the House William O’Brien put out the invitations last week, after Florida voted to move its primary ahead on the national calendar. The change in primary schedules disrupted O’Brien’s plan to invite presidential candidates to speak on separate days ahead of what was to be a Feb. 14 primary, House policy advisor Gregory Moore said Wednesday.
So far, Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Gary Johnson and Newt Gingrich have accepted invitations to make brief remarks to the House, Moore said.”

News from The Hill’s Blog about Romney and his Anti-Union campaign. 

Romney puts anti-union politics front and center:
And despite his claims about having the interests of American workers at heart, he is virulently anti-union. At Republican gatherings, Romney frequently proclaims his anti-labor positions, especially with regard to public sector collective bargaining, right-to-work laws, and the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) complaint against Boeing.Romney has embraced the state-level GOP crusade against public sector bargaining. When Wisconsin governor Scott Walker signed into law a bill outlawing public sector bargaining, Romney applauded his effort to “do what’s necessary to rein in out-of-control public sector pay and benefits.” He also supports Ohio’s sweeping anti-bargaining legislation, which is now on hold until a referendum in November. Yet the Wisconsin and Ohio legislation has nothing to do with financial prudence – lawmakers in other states have negotiated lower costs without eliminating basic labor rights– and everything to do with a power grab against one of the Democrats’ key constituencies.Romney also supports anti-union legislation in the private sector. Last week the National Right to Work Committee reported that he had endorsed a national right-to-work (RTW) law, which would bar union security agreements requiring non-members to pay for representational services, and a recent Romney campaign ad focuses on RTW. During his 2008 presidential bid, Romney opposed national RTW legislation, but now he supports it and has encouraged states to pass right-to-work legislation. This has gone down well with GOP activists in New Hampshire – site of one of the first Republican primaries – where the Republican-controlled state legislature voted for RTW earlier this year, which was later vetoed by the state’s Democratic governor. Romney believes the issue fits well with his self-proclaimed “job-creator” title, but most reputable studies find no evidence that RTW either lowers unemployment or stimulates economic activity.

NH Labor News for 10/5/11 including info on LGC, NHRS, NH Jobs

Official promises unbiased hearing for Local Government Center case: “Donald Mitchell said prior to his retirement last year he opined for and against the views of public unions and employers as executive director of the Public Employee Labor Relations board.
“I’ve ruled on decisions for and against public entities and their unions,” said Mitchell at a prehearing conference.”
“Your client deserves a fully attentive, impartial hearing officer, and I suggest that is what you will receive,” Mitchell said in response.
Mitchell announced he’ll preside at the next meeting Oct. 18 when he’s expected to rule on whether other parties can intervene in this case including unions for local firefighters and police officers.

Panel proposes supplanting state’s retirement system: “A special legislative committee studying the current public pension system is pushing to start shifting workers out of the plan by the end of 2012.
“My goal is to have something in place by the end of 2012,” Sen. Warren Groen, R-Rochester, said Tuesday after a committee meeting.”

“It’s an awfully messy thing they’re talking about doing, but they’ve presented no figures, no facts whatsoever to support the position they have,” said Diana Lacey, president of the State Employees Association.

Shipyard may be at risk in budget war, U.S. senators sayU.S. senators from New Hampshire and Maine said this week they hope the specter of automatic federal budget cuts is so unnerving to Congress that members will agree to abide by the outcome of a “supercommittee” currently working to make reductions.

The stakes, they said, couldn’t be higher, with ramifications that would be felt right down to the local level, including at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

Gov. Lynch launches third phase of jobs program in Portsmouth: “In an effort to continue lowering New Hampshire’s unemployment rate, Gov. John Lynch officially announced on Tuesday morning his third and final phase of a jobs initiative called New Hampshire Working.

The third phase, titled Work Ready N.H., is a program that works with the Community College System of New Hampshire to perform assessments of individuals looking to improve their problem-solving and soft skills for the job market. So far, four of the community colleges in the state have joined the initiative, with the other three hoping to become involved in the near future. “

NH primary could be held in December : “Secretary of State Bill Gardner said holding the first-in-the-nation primary in December remains a “real possibility” as two other states leapfrogged in front of Florida’s defiant decision to hold its own primary next Jan. 31.
“I had said for some months that given how many states were talking about moving up, the chances were increasing that we would move into January,” Gardner said during an interview. “Now that Florida has acted and some other states have responded, the question becomes will we move from January back into December? I don’t know what those odds would be right now but it remains a real possibility.”

Teledyne Oil & Gas’ Florida expansion won’t affect New Hampshire jobs : “Reports that New Hampshire might lose a high-tech business opportunity to Florida were premature, according to state officials.
The state supposedly was competing with Florida to land a new global and research headquarters for Teledyne Oil & Gas – a technology company that specializes in deep-sea engineering solutions – but one company executive said New Hampshire was never in the running.”

Alderman proposes panel of labor and managers

We here at the NH Labor News are looking forward to hearing more about this new committee being created in Manchester.  Unions and Management should always try to work out their differences through negotiated agreements to better serve everyone.

Alderman proposes panel of labor and managers | New Hampshire NEWS06: “City unions said they are interested in joining the committee, or at least learning more about it, especially if it eased relations between labor and management.

“I think it’s a great idea. Something has to be done,” said Mike Roche, president of the United Steelworkers Local 8938, the union that represents Water Works employees. “Any time elected officials, employees and management sit down and communicate, it should be a positive thing.

“I believe, from what I’ve seen, how they want to set the committee up, I think it would be very open-minded, very communication-oriented, as opposed to the mayor drawing a line in the sand,” said Ryan Cashin, president of the Manchester Professional Fire Fighters Association. “I’m optimistic.””

Just wait until next year

This has been a very tough year for Labor in New Hampshire and across the United States. In New Hampshire we have seen a vicious battle over the so called “Right To Work” bill being pushed by anti-union legislators in the State House. It is expected that if, Speaker O’Brien calls for a vote on HB 474 it will be at their next session in Oct. With another special election win labor has secured another vote against “Right To Work”. Since the Speaker has not called for the veto override it is a safe assumption that he does not have the votes need to override the Governor. This has not been the only attack on workers this year. The “Fiscally Responsible” budget went into effect on July 1 and with it came dramatic increases in pension rates, and resulted in over 1500 jobs lost in the state. Let us not forget the repeal of the “Evergreen Clause”. The Evergreen Clause allowed workers to continue to be covered by their last collective bargaining agreement until a new agreement is made, even if the contract is past it expiration date. Teachers were attacked with the passage of  SB 196.  SB196 took away the rights of teachers to go to binding arbitration over contracts, while extending their probationary period to five years. When you add that up with other bills not even mentioned you can see why it has been a tough year for Labor. But this legislative year is almost over and we can breathe easier now right? Wrong, next year is shaping up to be even worse that this year. Lets take a look at some of the ways the State Legislature is going to attack workers next year.

As this years legislative session closes, members begin to file “Legislative Service Requests (LSRs)” for next years session. While the full text on these LSRs have not yet been we can make some educated guesses base on the title of the proposed bills. (Full LSR list here)

2012-H-2114-R title: prohibiting all public employees from participating in collective bargaining.
2012-H-2384-L title: relative to collective bargaining.
2012-H-2515-R title: relative to the membership of the advisory committee appointed to assist the state negotiator in collective bargaining negotiations.
2012-H-2547-L title: relative to collective bargaining under the public employee labor relations act.
2012-H-2166-L relative to public employer negotiations for health care coverage.

 Those are just the beginning. It is clear as day that some of the State Legislators are looking to turn New Hampshire into the next Wisconsin making it illegal to collectively bargain. They are also looking a limiting the power of Unions by creating laws against what the Union can fight.

2012-H-2167-R title: relative to declaring that private contracting of governmental operations shall not be deemed an unfair labor practice. Sponsor: Neal Kurk

By creating a law Rep Kurk is attempting to block the Unions ability to protest when the Legislators pushes to “privatize” more state government operations.

012-H-2671-R title: establishing a committee to study the privatizing of county corrections operations.  Sponsors: Steve Vaillancourt

Consider this one from Robert Kingsbury:

2012-H-2501-R HB requiring a 100 percent consensus vote by union members to be included in collective bargaining agreements.

Really? 100% consensus? That would effectively destroy the entire process.  When was the last time the New Hampshire Legislature ever passed a bill with 100% consensus? 

The hits just keep on coming. There are two different bills proposed to prohibit Unions from collecting dues directly from members paychecks.

2012-H-2059-R title: relative to the withholding union dues from wages.
2012-H-2327-R title: prohibiting the state from withholding union dues from the wages of state employees.

While you cannot bring up a bill from a previous session that has already been voted on, you can submit another bill, that may mean the same thing.  See if you can figure out what this one is:  

2012-H-2342-R HB eliminating the duty of a public employee labor organization to represent employees who elect not to join or to pay dues or fees to the employee organization.

This was the amendment that was removed by the Senate as part of the Right To Work bill, which is again being proposed next year.

2012-H-2777-R HB Relative to Right To Work

What other ways can they keep Labor Unions out of the State Legislature?  Lets start by taking away their right to pay for lobbying activities?

“2012-H-2097-R title: relative to funding lobbying activities.”

While they are at it lets just keep the Unions out of the legislature all together:

“2012-H-2103-R title: prohibiting public employees from running for certain offices.”

This is only thirteen of the over 790 LSRs proposed for next year. Do you still think they are not coming after you as workers?

Local Government Center lines up lawyers

From Seacoast online:
CONCORD — Local Government Center officials, past and present, have lawyered up in advance of an Oct. 4 hearing regarding alleged financial improprieties within the LGC. Meanwhile, public employees unions have filed motions to intervene.
According to Bureau of Securities Regulation attorney Earle Wingate III, LGC executive director Maura Carroll, the LGC and its subsidiaries have filed notice that they will be represented during the hearing by attorneys Bill Saturley and Brian Quirk. Both lawyers practice from the Preti Flaherty law firm where Quirk, a former assistant attorney general, heads the firm’s white collar defense practice group.
Former LGC executive director John Andrews filed notice that he’ll be represented by attorney Michael Ramsdell, a criminal defense trial lawyer for Orr & Reno. Ramsdell previously defended former Rockingham County Sheriff Dan Linehan “during a New Hampshire Department of Justice criminal investigation that ended with no criminal charges,” according to his Web site.

Manchester man hospitalized after dramatic rescue by firefighters

Just another example of Firefighters of New Hampshire doing what they do best!. They had the blaze under control in 22 minutes….

Manchester man hospitalized after dramatic rescue by firefighters:
A 52-year-old man is in a Boston hospital this morning after firefighters revived him after pulling him out of his burning apartment.
District Fire Chief James Michael said the man, who he declined to identify, was not breathing when the four-man team of firefighters – Lt. Peter Franggos, Steven Barton, Keith Gelinas and Tom Defina – found him on the floor of his burning apartment a little after midnight Monday.
They pulled him to safety and, once outside, he was revived by Franggos, who performed chest compressions on him and Gelinas, who intubated him.
The man was taken to Catholic Medical Center and then flown to a Boston hospital for further treatment.
Initially, the call that came into the fire department at 12:04 a.m. was from a Lincoln Street resident reporting the smell of burning plastic.
Rescue 1, with eight firefighters, was dispatched but then a Concord Street resident called to report a fire behind her house at the Benoit Apartments at 295 Lowell St. A second truck, Engine 11, was then sent to the scene.
When the first fire crews arrived, Michael said they found Apartment 4 in flames and a “high heat” fire. He explained the building, owned by the Manchester Housing Authority (MHA), was built with double sheet rock, which contained the blaze and the heat to that apartment. Because there was only one truck at the scene, the windows had not been broken, which would have vented the heat, flames and smoke.

NH Labor New for 9/21/11

North Hampton Firefighters allege labor violation:

An unfair labor practice complaint filed by the North Hampton Professional Firefighters’ union could stall the re-establishment of the town’s paramedic program and puts thousands of dollars in federal grant money at risk, town and union officials said.

The union filed an unfair labor practice charge with the New Hampshire Public Employees Labor Relations Board on July 28, over what it said was an attempt by town officials to deal directly with union members over an expansion of health care plan options. On Sept. 13, the union sought to amend this charge indicating that the town continued to violate the existing contract by directly offering firefighters the opportunity to become paramedics and establishing a 5 percent pay increase for those who complete the training program without union approval.

“We feel that the way the plan was announced is an attempt to circumvent the union,” said North Hampton firefighter Mike Tully. “They have to do it the right way.

Bass and Guinta make watchdog group’s “Most corrupt” list

New Hampshire’s federal representatives have earned a dubious distinction by landing on a watchdog group’s list of “Most corrupt members of Congress.”
The nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington on Tuesday said Republican U.S. Reps. Charles Bass and Frank Guinta are on their list of 14 “corrupt” lawmakers.

Group backs national ambulance service to serve Nashua

A city advisory committee has recommended hiring a national ambulance company to replace Rockingham Ambulance at the end of the month.
The Ambulance Advisory Committee, which includes Fire Chief Brian Morrissey and Police Chief Donald Conley, chose American Medical Response over two local companies that bid on the contract.

Personable Lynch tough act to follow

What do you say about a politician who served our state with competence, grace and dignity for what will be a record eight years now that he has decided to step down and the end of his term?
You say, “Thank you, governor,” and pray his successor is up to task of meeting the high standard he set for the corner office.

“For me, being governor of the state of New Hampshire is the best job in the world,” he said last Thursday. “Serving in this role is the highest privilege of my life. I remain humbled and honored by the trust the people of this great state have placed in me. I thank all the citizens of our state from the bottom of my heart.”

Manchester Primary elections
Low turnout, few surprises in Manchester primary elections

There were few surprises in Tuesday’s municipal primary, except perhaps for the near-record low voter turnout.

Four men are moving on in the Alderman At-Large race. Current Alderman Dan O’Neil was the top vote-getter with 2,143 votes; local business owner Joe Kelly Levasseur came in second with 1,894; current Alderman At-Large Mike Lopez was third with 1,796; and state Rep. Will Infantine secured the last spot with 1,312.

$10m grantto aid NH’smentally ill

After state funding cuts that left a number of social service agencies in the state reeling, one sector of the industry received a significant boost this week.
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services awarded the state a multiyear, multimillion dollar grant to improve the general health of people with severe mental illness. The $10 million over five years will expand a program created at a local mental health center to community centers throughout the state.

Litchfield voters will decide Wednesday how to spend unexpected state money

LITCHFIELD – It’s still six months until Town Meeting season, but voters will be asked to show up at Campbell High School on Wednesday night to decide how the School District should spend an estimated $2 million in extra state funding.
The special meeting vote will happen immediately after a Deliberative Session, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Results will be announced Wednesday night.
The process is different than the spring Town Meeting schedule, when a Deliberative Session is followed several weeks later by a ballot vote.

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