Monthly Archives: April 2011

Medfield’s state aid is down for FY12 by about $75K from FY11

Fox TV Morning News – Zip Trip planned for Medfield 6/24 –

Fox 25 Morning News – Zip Trip to Medfield – 6/24

Email from Fox TV to Mike Sullivan –

I am a producer for Fox 25 Morning News.

Medfield was chosen by our viewers as one of our Zip Trip locations.

If you are not familiar with this… A Zip Trip is when our morning newscast
takes the show on the road to cities and towns around New England and
showcases everything from town history, restaurants, celebrities, etc…

The date for Medfield is Friday – June 24th.

Town meeting is done & I have been listing my tasks for the Selectmen for the coming year – get me yours to add on –

My To Do List for the Board of Selectmen

Today I created my To Do List of some items for the Board of Selectmen to work on as we start out on what is really our new town government year now that town meeting is over.  Let me know if you have things you think I should add.

1.    Town should show debt budgets out 10 years, as suggested by Jack Wolfe at the annual town meeting (ATM)
2.    Start succession planning for town departments
3.    Create more information for residents ahead of the ATM, perhaps lengthier descriptions of the articles and issues in the Warrant booklet
4.    We should start planning right now for the town and school budget for the next ATM in 2012.  The Board of Selectmen should reach out to the school committee to see if we can work cooperatively on a town wide budget, instead of the historic approach of separate town and school budgets.
5.    We need a fuller discussion/education process on the DPW garage, and perhaps the Board of Selectmen can facilitate that process at our meetings before the 5/23/11 election.
6.    Board of Selectmen should pull the trigger now to start the education process about the Medfield State Hospital project, regardless of when DCAM is ready to proceed.
7.    Routinize the process by which warrant articles are drafted – see more in the proposed annual town calendar below.  The Lyme disease and Energy Committees warrant articles did not work this year.
8.    Create and publish a calendar for conducting town business, working backwards from the ATM
a.    ATM
b.    Warrant Hearing
c.    When warrant articles must be finalized
d.    When warrant articles must be reviewed by town counsel
e.    When warrant articles must be reviewed by town administrator
f.    When warrant articles must be submitted
g.    Budget hearing
h.    The Board of Selectmen and Warrant Committee to meet to discuss and set the budget assumptions for the upcoming year
i.    Evaluation of town administrator
j.    Board of Selectmen sets goals for year
9.    Ken Feeney needs to deliver cost of installed street reflectors for bad corners
10.    Department Heads should annually submit written goals
11.    Determine whether the current town car use policy is the proper one – should any employees take town vehicles home
12.    Create a mechanism to thank and celebrate long term employees.
13.    Review use of overtime by town departments
14.    Lease from the MBTA of the land to create the Bay Colony Rail Trail

Monday afternoon I got this copy of the plan for the new DPW garage & I have uploaded it for all

Weekly Political Report – Week Ending April 22, 2011

Week Ending April 22, 2011

Competing Proposal for Municipal Health Reform Released

In the FY2012 budget proposal released by the House Ways and Means Committee last week, municipalities were given more control to design health insurance plans, including setting co-payments and deductibles, outside of collective bargaining. Public employee unions made clear their opposition to this change and suggested a competing proposal in a budget amendment filed late Friday. The amendment, backed by 50 legislators, including 6 committee chairs, was sponsored by Rep. Marty Walsh (D-Dorchester), a union member and current President of the Boston Building Trades. His proposal would restore various collective bargaining powers to municipal unions and grant them a 45 day period to negotiate over health benefits and the use of arbitration if they fail to come to an agreement. This issue has dominated the political landscape this week and is expected to dominate the House budget debate when it begins next week.

Poll Shows Anxiety over Jobs

A poll released this week showed that more than 85% of Massachusetts residents are worried about jobs, with 33% worried that they or someone in their family would lose a job within three months. The poll was conducted by UMass-Dartmouth’s Department of Public Policy of 1,207 Massachusetts residents in February and March and has a margin of error of 2.8 points. The poll also showed that 80% of residents are concerned or very concerned about the cost of health care and the cost of higher education.  Less than half of the poll’s respondents said they were focused on taxes in the state.


Speaker DeLeo Sets Out Timeline for Newly Released Court Management Bill

Speaker DeLeo released a plan this week that would reorganize the Massachusetts Trial Court, creating a new Office of Court Management. The bill would put the Probation Department under the Judiciary and establish an objective entrance exam for probation officer applicants. A report released late last year detailed systemic abuse and corruption within the Massachusetts Probation Department and included allegations that patronage influenced the hiring of probation officers. DeLeo’s proposal is in conflict with Governor Patrick, who has repeatedly pressed for merging the probation department into an agency within the executive branch, arguing that housing the probation and parole boards under one roof would provide prisoners re-entering society with a smoother transition. Speaker DeLeo said that probation reform is one of his top priorities and the court management bill would be sent to the Senate by mid-May.

Smaller Number of Budget Amendments Filed

Following the release by the House Ways and Means Committee last week of its $30.45 billion FY2012 budget, legislators filed a total of 758 amendments to the budget by the 5pm deadline last Friday. The number of amendments is down significantly over the past three years. According to leadership in the House, the total number of amendment filed are down because many lawmakers recognize that because of the tight fiscal restraints, there is less money in the budget, and also 25% of House members are freshman and new to the budget process. In 2009 and 2010, House members filed 869 and 978 amendments respectively. The highest number of budget amendments (1,512) was filed in 2008, prior to the nationwide recession. The House is set to begin debate of the budget and amendments next week.

Tax Collection Figures Released

On Thursday, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue released the tax collection figures for the first half of April.  The state collected an additional $107 million during the period compared to one year earlier. According to Navjeet Bal, the state revenue commissioner, total state tax collections through the first nine months of the year have exceeded budget expectations by $850 million.  Although tax receipts continue to beat projections, supplemental budget spending has already surpassed $850 million, mainly to pay for spiking costs in the state Medicaid program.

Legislative Action Light this week

With few members on hand because of school vacation, legislative action remained light. The House is set to begin debate on the budget bill and the 758 amendments filed to it next week.

John Nunnari, Assoc AIA
Executive Director, AIA MA
617-951-1433 x263
617-951-0845 (fax)

MA Chapter of American Institute of Architects
The Architects Building
52 Broad Street, Boston MA 02109-4301

Mass House passed bill that gives towns more control over health insurance. Rep Winslow was a yes & Rep Garlick a no.

Municipal health insurance vote yesterday, per Massachusetts Municipal Association alert today – Rep. Winslow favored & Rep Garlick opposed

113-42 Vote Embraces Key Municipal Priority Advanced by Speaker DeLeo and Chairman Dempsey Cities and Towns Would Have Ability to Make Plan Design Changes or Join GIC

April 27, 2011

At 11:03 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26, the members of the House of Representatives, by an overwhelming vote of 113-42, adopted a strong municipal health insurance reform plan advanced by the Speaker and the House Ways and Means Committee. The MMA applauds the extraordinary leadership of Speaker DeLeo, Ways and Means Chairman Dempsey, Ways and Means Vice Chairs Kulik and Walz, Public Service Committee Chair Scibak, and all House members who voted to add the reform amendment to the fiscal 2012 state budget. The reform package includes the following provisions:

  • Adds a new Section 19A to Chapter 32B, which, if adopted by the Board of Selectmen in a town, the Mayor or City Manager and Council in a city, or by the school committee in a regional school district, allows the community or district to increase its co-pays, deductibles and other plan design features up to the level included in the most subscribed plan offered by the Group Insurance Commission, or to transfer its subscribers into the GIC if the community would save more through that option;
  • Requires the appropriate public authority (generally the municipal executive) to convene a meeting of a special committee comprised of a representative of each collective bargaining unit and a retiree representative, and submit the proposal to that “public employee committee” regarding the plan design changes or transfer to the GIC, and conduct a 30-day discussion period to discuss the details of the proposal and negotiate how to allocate 10 percent of one year’s estimated cost savings, provided that the allocation of the savings shall only be used for health related programs (such as an HRA or other related items) for active employees and retirees;
  • If the 30-day discussion results in an agreement with the committee, the community shall implement the changes and the 10 percent savings shall be allocated as agreed;
  • If the 30-day discussion does not result in an agreement with the committee, the community may implement the plan design changes or transfer as originally proposed, however the community shall set aside 20 percent of one year’s estimated savings for an HRA to offset costs for high utilizers and retirees (this provides an incentive to municipalities to reach an agreement with the committee, and is the House’s preferred alternative to binding arbitration, which is not in the amendment); and
  • The amendment makes it clear that the decision to implement plan design changes or enroll in the GIC is not subject to collective bargaining — the employee/employer contribution percentage is still subject to collective bargaining, as is any change in co-pays or deductibles that would exceed those in the GIC’s most subscribed plan.
    The MMA will be analyzing the final language adopted by the House, and will provide further information as more becomes available. In the meantime,please contact your Representatives today to thank them for their vote in support of reform (please see the list of “yes” votes below).

    This is one major step on the road to reform. Action will now turn to the Senate, which has passed labor-favored language on this issue for the past two years. This will be a major challenge, so please contact your Senators today as well to ask them to follow suit and support real and meaningful relief for cities and towns.

    Thank you for your tireless advocacy — you have made the difference in this effort!

    Representatives Voting Yes on Chairman Dempsey’s Amendment (roll call 51), listed in order of appearance on the roll call machine: DeLeo, Mariano, Haddad, C. Murphy, Aguiar, Arciero, Ashe, Atkins, Atsalis, Balser, Basile, Benson, Binienda, Bradley, Brownsberger, Cabral, Campbell, Canessa, Cariddi, Coakley-Rivera, Conroy, Costello, Curran, Dempsey, DiNatale, Donato, Dykema, Fernandes, Ferrante, Finn, Forry, Fox, Galvin, Garballey, Gobi, Hecht, Henriquez, Hogan, Holmes, Honan, Kafka, Kane, Kaufman, Keenan, Khan, Kocot, Koczera, Kulik, Lewis, Linsky, Madden, Malia, Markey, McMurtry, Michlewitz, Moran, J. Murphy, Nangle, Naughton, O’Flaherty, Peake, Pedone, Peisch, Pignatelli, Puppolo, Rogers, Rosa, Rushing, Sanchez, Sannicandro, Scaccia, Schmid, Scibak, Smith, Speliotis, H. Stanley, Story, Swan, Torrisi, Vallee, Wagner, C. Walsh, Walz, Jones, Peterson, Poirier, Adams, Barrows, Bastien, Beaton, Boldyga, deMacedo, D’Emilia, Diehl, Fattman, Ferguson, Frost, Gifford, Harrington, Howitt, Humason, Hunt, Kuros, Levy, Lombardo, Lyons, O’Connell, Ross, Smola, Vieira, Webster, and Wong.

Medfield – Overrides at Town Meeting, 7 PM 4/25. Garage costs about $225/home for 20 years & operating $110 forever