This past Saturday I attended the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s annual Leadership Conference for selectmen, which was held at the Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton. Excellent program on how to be a better selectman for your town – I regretted that Ann and Mark were not able to attend.
The main speakers were the MMA’s Executive Director, the deputy State Auditor (filling in for an ill auditor), and Commissioner James McHugh of the Gaming Commission (filling in for the Director of the Gaming Commission).
Goeff Beckwith, the MMA’s executive director, updated us on the budget and legislative actions. See the linked copy of the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s letter to the budget conferrees to see the MMA’s positions on the issues.
The Auditor’s office has been charged to avoid unfunded mandates from the since 1985, so we need to get Mike Sullivan telling them which ones they need to look into.
The Massachusetts DOER did a presentation on the Green Communities Act, and its benefits (grant monies).
The Town of Amherst’s budget people explained how they do their annual budget cycle.
The Attorney General’s Office and an attorney from Kopelman & Paige did a presentation legal issues – the Open Meeting Law, public records, conflict of interest, and generally running the town without legal problems. Their lengthy handouts were all authored by attorneys and are copyrighted, so I cannot post them.
My favorite session was one called Strategies for Creating Civil Discourse in Government, which was presented by a mediator, and described the use of mediation techniques to move issues forward. I have included one of her handouts.