MMA annual meeting

I spent both yesterday and today attending the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s annual meeting, which was held virtually this year. They employed a platform that was markedly better than my usual Zoom meetings.

Heard a couple of inspiring speeches about leadership, heard a couple of programs about implicit bias, one on state finances, got addressed by both the Lt. Governor and the Governor, and learned about the MIIA price increases for the town’s insurance (5% for health insurance). Because it was all virtual, I can go back for the next month to listen to more of the programs – the MMA usually runs 5-6 concurrent workshops at a time, so one has to pick wisely.

I found it most interesting when Jeff Beckwith, the Executive Director of the MMA asked the Governor a series of questions after the Governor’s remarks, as they were personal questions aimed at how the Governor was doing with the world turned upside down by covid, and the Governor did speak quite personally. The Governor said he used to leave home at 5AM and get home at 9PM because he was usually driving home from some far part of the state, but in a covid virtual meeting world he gets done at 7PM and then walks from his home office to his kitchen to see his wife, and now has time for walks with his wife and reading books.

The Governor recommends reading Lincoln on the Verge (Baker said there was almost no United States left for Lincoln to govern between the time of Lincoln’s November election and his March 3 swearing in), watching Ted Lasso (a comedy on TV), and said:

  • “public life is a team sport”
  • “the founders wanted people to have to work together with people with whom they disagree to get things done”
  • “state and local people are judged by what they accomplish, not by what they oppose”

The Governor and Lt. Governor were both select board members before holding state office, so the MMA is especially fond of them for that and also because they have financially supported municipalities.

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