Quincy Incumbent Mayor Thomas Koch and challenger, School Committee Vice-Chair Anne Mahoney, squared off during a mayoral debate Thursday night at Quincy’s cable T.V. studio at the Thomas Crane Public Library.
A panel of reporters questioned the candidates, along with WATD’S own Dave Skill.
During the open forum session, Mayor Koch addressed the question of why 230 teachers received pink slips last year and if the situation could have been handled better.
Koch said, “The state law requires the community to the issue pink slips when there’s a budget issue and when there’s jobs in jeopardy. The last few years, we’ve made tremendous progress on our education side. The budget is up 10%. This year’s budget alone we’re up $3.8 million dollars – we’ve added teachers back in the classroom and added folks in Special Ed. and E.L.L. as well.”
But challenger Anne Mahoney said while teachers gave up deferrals during the budget turndown – she accuses Mayor Koch, of taking care of his own.
“Mayor Koch cut the budget 5% across the board and we lost $9 million. Without our teachers coming to the table, we would not have been able to bring back those teachers – it ended up being $6 million. The teachers, the firemen and the police gave up deferrals. The Superintendent gave up a deferral and a $5,000 cut in pay. But Mayor Koch gave up nothing. Not one penny came from sacrificing from Mayor Koch, or from his department. He used C.P.A. monies to actually save his department heads in his department. He saved the people who surround care him. That’s what Mayor Koch does – he takes care of himself – and then he thinks about the constituents of the City of Quincy,” Mahoney said.
The candidates also debated the risk to taxpayers associated with Quincy’s huge downtown revitalization project.