Regional Consolidation of Local Government Services in New England: Opportunities and Challenges in Realizing Greater Cost Efficiencies
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Read the Research Report:
The Quest for Cost-Efficient Local Government in New England: What Role for Regional Consolidation?
The Great Recession and its aftermath have forced state and local governments to cut costs and seek efficiencies, and budgets are expected to be tight into the foreseeable future. This forum will feature new research by the New England Public Policy Center exploring if and how local governments in New England could save through greater consolidation of public safety, public health, and high-level government administration services.
The author and keynote speaker—Yolanda Kodrzycki, Vice President and Director of the Center—described current fragmentation and present analysis of the extent to which greater consolidation could yield long-term savings for local governments in New England, with specific focus on Massachusetts and Connecticut.
Panelists discussed the opportunities for and challenges in realizing savings through greater regional consolidation as well as the merits of state policies promoting this goal.
Registration and continental breakfast
Welcome and introductions, Robert Triest, Vice President and Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Opening remarks, Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray
Presentation of new research: “The Quest for Cost-Efficient Local Government in New England: What Role for Regional Consolidation?”
Response from panel of experts:
Moderated questions from the audience
Jay Ash, City Manager, City of Chelsea, Massachusetts
Jay is his native Chelsea ’s longest serving CEO, having first been appointed city manager in 2000. His leadership has produced model municipal management and development, including securing credit rating increases and unprecedented economic development for Chelsea. Outside of Chelsea, Jay has led statewide initiatives on health insurance, youth violence, transportation infrastructure and expanded gaming in Massachusetts. Before working directly for the City, Jay served his community from the State House as the staff director to the House Majority Leader. Jay’s affiliations include past president of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the regional planning agency responsible for 101 communities in Greater Boston; co-founder of the Metropolitan Mayors Coalition; board member of MassINC, a public policy think tank, and elected trustee of his alma mater, Clark University. Among his numerous recognitions, the Boston Business Journal named Jay one of Boston ’s 40 most promising up-and-coming businesspeople under the age of 40.
Linda Dunlavy, Executive Director, Franklin Regional Council of Governments
Linda has worked for the FRCOG since 1993 and has led the organization as Executive Director since 1999. During her tenure as Executive Director, the FRCOG has grown to 45 employees with an operating budget of $4 million, and is recognized as a leader in regionalism across Massachusetts. She served on Lt. Governor Murray’s Massachusetts Regionalization Advisory Commission and is currently a gubernatorial appointment to the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute. She serves on the Town of Hadley School Committee; the WGBY Public Television Board of Tribunes; and the Board of Directors of Rural Development, Inc. She holds a Master’s degree in Regional Planning from the University of Massachusetts and a Bachelor’s degree from Boston College.
Pam Kocher, Director of Local Policy, Massachusetts Executive Office for Administration and Finance
As Director of Local Policy, Pam focuses on policy and finance matters affecting local governments statewide as well as working with individual communities on specific projects. Pam is responsible for A&F’s development of municipal relief proposals and implementing reforms including municipal health insurance reform and support for community collaborations. She served as the Chief of Staff for the Regionalization Advisory Commission chaired by Lt. Governor Timothy Murray and as the A&F designee on the Pension Reform Commission. Pam is also the A & F point person for state fiscal oversight of the City of Lawrence.
Yolanda Kodrzycki, Director and Vice President, New England Public Policy Center, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Yolanda is a vice president and the director of the New England Public Policy Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The Policy Center conducts research on key economic and policy issues in New England, and engages with regional partners in advancing identified policy options. Prior to assuming this position, Kodrzycki was a senior economist and policy advisor in the Boston Fed's research department, specializing in regional, labor market, and public sector economics. Her research has examined topics such as economic development strategies for older industrial cities, the long-term implications of job loss, the migration patterns of college graduates, regional differences in educational attainment, and corporate tax policy at the national and state levels. She has been a senior contributor to "Toward a More Prosperous Springfield," a multi-year commitment by the Boston Fed to support the economic revitalization of Springfield, Massachusetts. She serves as co-editor of MassBenchmarks, an economics publication issued jointly by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the University of Massachusetts. Kodrzycki has advised numerous organizations with an interest in the New England and national economies. During 1991–92, Kodrzycki took a leave of absence from the Federal Reserve to consult for the U.S. Treasury advisory program in Central and Eastern Europe. Prior to joining the Boston Fed, she taught economics at Amherst College. A graduate of Radcliffe College (at Harvard University), Kodrzycki received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray
Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray was reelected in 2010 to a second term as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts. Working closely with Governor Deval Patrick, Tim works tirelessly to promote the entire Commonwealth, creating jobs, improving public education, and making state government more responsive to every citizen. The Patrick-Murray Administration has made Massachusetts a leader in job creation despite the worst economy in decades, while making investments for long-term economic growth in the Commonwealth, while also delivering landmark reforms of the state pension and transportation systems.
As Lieutenant Governor, Tim leads the administration’s initiatives to expand and improve commuter rail and freight service; to transform housing programs to achieve the Commonwealth’s goal of ending homelessness; and to enhance services for veterans. He also works closely on policies addressing municipalities, substance abuse prevention, and sexual and domestic violence prevention as well as improving the state’s maritime ports and infrastructure as chair of the Seaport Advisory Council, and leading a STEM education initiative as chair of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Advisory Council.
Prior to his election as Lieutenant Governor, Tim served three terms as mayor of Worcester, the Commonwealth’s second largest city. Under his leadership, Worcester, experienced unprecedented economic progress and greatly improved its public school system, becoming a national leader in urban education. Tim was first elected to public office in 1997, winning a seat on the Worcester City Council. Prior to serving in public office, Tim was active for many years in a wide range of community initiatives and as a local practicing attorney.
John Petrin, Town Administrator, Town of Burlington Massachusetts
John is the Town Administrator for the Town of Burlington, MA. He was hired in June of 2012 after spending the prior 7 years as Town Manager for the Town of Ashland, MA. He has thirty-two years of municipal experience. His experience includes twenty-four years as a town administrator/manager, four years as an assessor for the Town of Bellingham and four years as the Assistant Superintendent for the Marlborough Public Schools. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Stonehill College and a Masters in Public Administration from Northeastern University. He is a former president of the Massachusetts Municipal Association and the Massachusetts Municipal Management Association and is a recipient of the Theodore Mann Regional Leadership Award. He has held leadership positions with the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission and the International City Managers Association Committee on Base Closures.
Robert Triest, Vice President and Economist, Research Department, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Robert is a vice president and economist in the research department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, where he leads the macroeconomic applications section. He is also a visiting scholar at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Before joining the Bank, he was an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University and an associate professor at the University of California at Davis. Dr. Triest’s research on topics in public finance and labor economics has been published in various professional journals, including the American Economic Review, the Journal of Economic Perspectives, and the Review of Economics and Statistics, as well as in Boston Fed publications. He is currently working on projects related to gross flows in the labor market, and to the interaction of housing, savings, and portfolio choices. Dr. Triest earned his bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin.
David Luberoff, Senior Project Advisor, Boston Area Research Initiative, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
David is Senior Project Advisor to the Boston Area Research Initiative, an interuniversity research partnership supported by Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, its Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston, and the City of Boston. In Fall 2012 and Fall of 2011 he also was a Lecturer on Sociology at Harvard where he taught courses on urban problems and politics. From 2004 until 2012, he was Executive Director of Harvard’s Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston. He has also been Associate Director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, an adjunct lecturer at both the Kennedy School and Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, and editor of The Tab, the largest group of weekly newspapers in greater Boston. The author of many articles and case studies on the politics of infrastructure and land-use policies, he is the co-author (with Alan Altshuler) of Mega-Projects: The Changing Politics of Urban Public Investment, which was named 2003’s best book on urban politics by the American Political Science Association’s urban section. He received an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government.
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