Haverhill’s principal school bus provider is threatening not to return this fall unless a new agreement is reached.
Committee members Thursday night acknowledged receipt of a letter from NRT President John J. McCarthy, saying his company will pull the plug on services. Mayor James J. Fiorentini said he is worried about the threat.
“We have a letter from the head of the bus company indicating that if we do not reach agreement with him, he is not going to transport our children in the fall. This is nothing to ignore. This is a very serious matter. We have to be able to transport children,” the mayor said.
While most Committee members agreed they didn’t like McCarthy’s strong-arm tactics, they understood the city’s options are somewhat limited. In the end, they agreed by a vote of 6-1, with Committee member Scott W. Wood Jr. casting the dissenting vote, to turn the matter over to City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr. to see if some kind of an agreement can be reached.
Negotiations between the School Committee and NRT have been going back and forth since members voted in April not to pay for bus service that isn’t taking place because of the COVID-19. Last month, talks appeared to center on bus drivers performing public works services temporarily, but no final agreement was reached.