Bettencourt is expected to present specific cost-saving figures and statistics during the special city council hearing at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, during which the public will be allowed to speak.
Bettencourt has called on the Peabody City Council to adopt legislation that gives the mayor greater flexibility to lessen the health insurance burden on Peabody taxpayers, but the measure worries local union leaders who argue that the law ties one hand behind their back at the negotiation table. The mayor has also met with the Peabody Public Employee Coalition three times in an effort to reach an agreement that would make adopting the new legislation unnecessary.
Governor Deval Patrick signed a municipal healthcare reform law last summer that allows municipalities the power to negotiate better health plans for current and retired city workers. But cities and municipalities must adopt the new law before they can enter into negotiations with their unions.
“As I stated at [the Feb. 9] City Council meeting, my request that the council adopt the Health Insurance Reform Act later this month in no way precludes continued good faith negotiations with union leadership,” Bettencourt said in a recent statement.
Justin A. Rice can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.