We’d all like to believe that bad things won’t happen in our own homes and neighborhoods, but Neil Perry will be prepared and proactive to ensure the safety of our community. Whether its drugs and gang violence on our streets or at a McDonalds, a medical emergency, or a tragic accident on one of our roads, we need competent fire, police, and EMT services available 24/7.
Neil grew up as the son of a Methuen police officer – he understands the risks our public safety officials and their families live with every day. He also knows that all public officials – including police officers and firefighters – need to earn the respect and trust of every citizen. That’s why he’s been so disturbed by the events surrounding the police superior officers’ contract and why he believes there’s more than a little blame to go around. Those who negotiated the contract, those who voted to ratify it without understanding its consequences, those who have tried to implement it without building consensus, and those who are willing to defend salaries that are indefensible all share the blame for a situation which has eroded trust in our community and left our neighbors angry.
Neil also understands that public safety – like great schools – is key to job and economic development opportunities. Like every city and town, Methuen competes for business and professional investment – we need to offer the best to attract the best!
As Mayor, Neil will:
▪ Immediately engage the leaders and members of the Methuen Police Superior Officers’ Union to negotiate a fair, affordable, and transparent long-term contract. Neil has negotiated multi-million-dollar contracts throughout much of his professional career at Raytheon. He knows how to read contracts and he fully understands what they cost when he signs one. Neil knows that it’s his responsibility to end this contract dispute and that’s exactly what he’s going to do.
▪ Work with Methuen’s police chief to renegotiate his contract to establish a fair, affordable, and transparent salary while also responsibly compensating him for previously litigated civil rights violations. Neil respects our police chief, but he also knows that his current contract provides a salary that dramatically exceeds his peers and which will result in an artificially inflated and unaffordable pension upon his retirement. He will work with the chief to establish a fair compensation plan and will propose a separate and fully transparent settlement for the city’s pending obligation to compensate him for prior civil rights violations.
▪ Investigate – together with the police chief and union leaders – the value of a reorganization of the department to best meet the needs of our growing community. Neil is concerned that the structure of our police department may not reflect the best use of resources to the benefit of our community. He doesn’t see the need for five captains and he’d prefer to see more officers on the street. However, since Neil believes in fact-based decision-making, he will work with the department to fully evaluate the existing department, its leadership structure and its supporting resources. In the end, he will propose a reorganization that’s cost-effective, transparent, and in the best interest of our public safety.
▪ Advocate for state and/or federal funding to evaluate the feasibility of replacing outdated police and fire department buildings with a state-of-the-art public safety headquarters. A few years ago, Methuen State Representative Linda Dean Campbell worked to obtained state funding to help Methuen conduct a feasibility study for a new public safety facility. Our community leaders failed to engage in that effort and the opportunity was lost. Neil believes that our public safety facilities are out of date and no longer fully meet the needs of our departments. He will work with our state and federal representatives to secure funding for a feasibility study and for long-term design and construction funding.
▪ Support first-class training and equipment for our public safety officers. The safety of our firefighters and police officers is a high priority for Neil. He will work with the leaders of both departments to ensure the availability of training and equipment resources that will protect those that protect all of us.