Selectman Sears Attends Annual MMA Convention
Massachusetts municipal leaders gather in Boston.
(Editor's note: The following information was submitted by Doug Sears.)
Tewksbury Selectman Douglas W. Sears joined more than 1,000 local officials from across the state at the Massachusetts Municipal Association's 2011 Annual Meeting and Trade Show, held at the Sheraton Boston Hotel and the Hynes Convention Center.
Mr. Sears joined selectmen, mayors, managers, councilors and finance committee members during the two-day meeting where participants attended special sessions and workshops on important local concerns. The workshops were designed to provide the latest information on issues such as economic and budget outlooks, sharing public services, community partnerships, zoning strategies, and a variety of other major topics of interest to municipalities.
The MMA program included remarks by Gov. Deval Patrick. Also, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino welcomed the conference participants.
The MMA conference also included a keynote speech by nationally acclaimed journalist Cokie Roberts.
In addition, Doug Flutie, former Boston College quarterback of "Hail Mary," fame, was the Friday dinner speaker and the closing session featured former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens.
"Now, more than ever, it is essential for municipal leaders to come together to share ideas, strategies and best practices for managing and leading in difficult times. By participating in this important event, local officials have shown their commitment to effective public service. We applaud their dedication and hope the conference will help them as they provide leadership in communities across Massachusetts," said Geoffrey C. Beckwith, MMA executive director.
The meeting also featured over 230 exhibitors at its trade show, offering the latest, state-of-the-art products and services to municipalities. The MMA Annual Meeting is the single largest statewide gathering of local officials each year. It provides city and town leaders with an opportunity to meet with colleagues from different areas of the commonwealth, to share innovations and insights in managing municipalities, and to set a common agenda for the year which strengthens local government in Massachusetts.
“The Governor gave us the bad news that the budget he will present on January 26th will propose cutting unrestricted local aid to cities and towns by $65 million.” Selectman Sears reported. “He cut out the meat, but dangled a carrot to make local officials more accepting of this bad news, “ Sears said, “The Governor teased us with a plan by which he might come through in part on his earliest campaign pledge to give relief to real property owners by proposing to modify the way residents pay for the increasingly steep health care costs of municipal workers. He proposes to mandate that union/management come up with savings equivalent what Tewksbury would gain by joining the state’s health plan. If they don’t on their own, Tewksbury must join the state plan. It will be interesting to see how this plays out as it appears Governor Patrick may have counted the anticipated $120 Million this would ‘save’ municipalities into his Budget.”
During the meeting, the MMA members honored the association's outgoing president, Beverly Mayor William Scanlon. The Board of Directors also selected new officers for 2011.
The MMA is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan association of cities and towns that provides its member communities with a broad range of services, including lobbying and advocacy, training and education, publications, policy research, insurance programs and management assistance.