Former council member questions contract

MANSFIELD — A former longtime councilwoman and a newly elected councilman verbally clashed over the terms of a newly negotiated police contract during Wednesday night’s borough council meeting here.

Marianne Bozzo, of Mansfield, noted that in the past, police contracts always were based on public works contracts to keep them “fair and equal.”

“Any changes in new contracts were brought by the committee chairman to the attention of council before approval. This police contract and its changes were never mentioned to this council in a public meeting,” she said.

Bozzo then questioned how, with a more than $400,000 deficit and an increase in taxes in the proposed 2017 budget, which also was approved Wednesday, could council “reconcile a 4.5 percent pay increase for the police for each of the three years in the contract.”

“Most workers are happy to get 2 percent and your entire administration gets nothing,” she added.

Bozzo then took aim at patrolman Duane Morgan’s salary, which she said will see a “huge increase” of over 33 percent.

“He will be making a yearly salary of $60,000 at the end of this contract, which is more than the chief of police will be making,” she pointed out.

She also noted that the last contract had all officers getting the same hourly increase, giving them all the same raise.

“These changes were never made public at council and the new police contract has no equality with the public works contract,” she added, questioning why Mayor Heather Morgan didn’t catch this “big splurge in spending when there is a deficit and it affected her personally.”

She also questioned how few people were involved in the negotiating.

“It was all left to new people appointed by Heather Morgan,” Bozzo said.

“Something is rotten here and the taxpaying citizens will have to pay for it,” she said.

Councilman Jim Pratt, who is a former chief of police in Mansfield, said what Bozzo had to say was a “big load of (expletive).”

“You do not throw police and work force together. Do they throw the principal and the teachers together? I think not,” he said.

Bozzo replied that a principal is an administrator.

“A police officer and a man that works on the streets are not (the same),” he responded.

“That is your opinion,” Bozzo replied.

“It’s the only opinion,” Pratt responded.

“It’s not mine,” Bozzo said.