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Thursday, February 8, 2007

Money mystery muddles Marlborough mediation

MARLBOROUGH

A union lawyer in a contract battle with with Mayor Nancy E. Stevens says that the city does not have a $4.2 million health care trust fund debt as officials have claimed.

Jack Canzoneri, lawyer for the Marlborough Police Patrol Officers Association and the city's Public Works Equipment Operators Association said union and city consultants now agree that the $4.2 million figure long cited in discussions about the debt in the city employees healthcare fund should actually be much less -- about $850,000.

City officials have said the deficit and rising health care costs were forcing them to raise city employee healthcare premiums for the next three fiscal years. A federal mediator has been named to facilitate the talks between the mayor and the 120 city employees who would be affected by a healthcare increase.

"The city offered no explanation at the arbritration as to how its comptroller and the mayor could be off ... " Canzoneri wrote in a press release.

A spokeswoman for the mayor said she would review the information before commenting.

-- Megan Woolhouse

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