Fall River Mayor's race heats up over jobs - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

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Fall River Mayor's race heats up over jobs

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by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis

mcurtis@abc6.com

A small group gathered across from Matouk Manufacturing in Fall River, upset that the city gave the company big tax breaks to expand, and then allowed it to hire out-of-state contractors.

They blame Mayor Will Flanagan.

"I don't think that it's unreasonable to expect that if contracts are going out, that Fall River companies would be given first dibs on those contracts," said Joe Carvalho, who is running for Mayor of Fall River.

ABC6 News spoke with company owner George Matouk, who says he hired Ferreira Concrete from East Providence, Rhode Island.

But Matouk says 95 percent of his other hires are from Massachusetts.

"I've been in contact with Mr. Matouk, who's the CEO of their company and he's assured me any opportunity he's had to hire a Fall River resident or contractor he has done so," said Mayor Will Flanagan, (D-Fall River).

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, "While the claims on the surface are about labor practices, this is really about politics."

Joe Carvalho - the man making the accusations - is also challenging will Flanagan for the Mayor's job next month.

While he is trying to make political hay from the small out–of–state hiring at Matouk, he made a startling admission:

ABC6 Reporter Mark Curtis asked, "But does the contract legally obligate them to hire local people?"

"I don't believe so. No," said Mayoral candidate Carvalho.

Regardless, the Mayor hopes the contracts go primarily to companies in his community.

"How many Fall River contractors bid on those jobs? How many were rejected? Why were they rejected?" said Mayor Flanagan.

Future projects in Fall River could contain language mandating local contractors, but this one does not.

 

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