The Boston Globe editorial page yesterday urged municipalities to follow the lead of the Patrick Administration in switching from police details to civilian flaggers to control traffic near construction sites. "As much as it may have ruffled law enforcement feathers, the administration’s civilian flagger program has saved the state money. Cities and towns that still rely exclusively on police details should take note."
This piece from the NY Post talks about how Andrew Cuomo, candidate for governor of New York, is promoting an annual 2% cap on property taxes (their own version of Prop 2 1/2), and doing so in a consciously nonpartisan way. "Identify yourself as a "Democrat" or "Republican," and hardly anybody will accuse you of being a reformer. Party labels of any kind are increasingly -- and correctly -- seen as obstacles to the kind of sweeping change voters want."
The Boston Globe e reported yesterday on safety-net programs that were cut this year but could theoretically be restored as a result of the $500K in taxes Senator John Kerry has just paid on his new yacht.
I would point out these programs could also be restored if we were to repeal the Pacheco Law, reform our pension system, or allow municipalities to impose more reasonable health care plans on their employees. (In fact if we did all those things, we'd reap savings in the tens of millions!)
"WBUR's "On Point" deals with pension issues today at 10am and replays again at 7pm and can be listened to anytime via podcast. "Pension envy. Taxpayers are footing the bill for public pensions as their own 401(k)s fall apart. And tensions mounting."
Click here for the latest on the sad saga of the Probation Department, and how their (now fired) director's focus on patronage over competence led to the public being less safe.
A must read! "A Los Angeles Times investigation, based on California Public Records Act requests, showed that the city payroll was bloated with all sorts of six-figure salaries:
- Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo made $787,637 a year, getting a series of raises since being hired in 1993 at $72,000.
- Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia made $376,288 a year.
- Police Chief Randy Adams earned $457,000.
This column by Edward Glaeser ran in a Globe last month. It's worth a read if you didn't see it then. "People get more excited about national elections than about state and local races, which is unfortunate since lower levels of governments greatly impact most of our lives."
"North Shore mayors say a municipal relief bill passed by state lawmakers last week left out one crucial element — the relief. Faced with crippling health care costs and dramatic local aid cuts, mayors and town managers had hoped for a substantive fix to their fiscal woes. Instead, Beacon Hill legislators handed them tools that will provide only modest assistance, at best, they said." Click here for the rest of the article.
"The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday on cities facing severe financial crises and turning to outsourcing of everything from custodial work to policing. "After years of whittling staff and cutting back on services, towns and cities are now outsourcing some of the most basic functions of local government, from policing to trash collection. Services that cities can no longer afford to provide are being contracted to private vendors, counties or even neighboring towns"