I was quite pleased with the meeting tonight. I was concerned after the no shows from the meeting on 8/21/08. This group still has it's work cut out for them but I think they have the proper approach.
I suggested to them to work through each item, obtain the numbers and the in's and out's of the various options as the department heads come to present. Be careful to not get wrapped into trying to solve the problem. Focus on gathering the information. Once it is all together, then you can look at making some sense of it and starting to tell the story. An hour for each department will not be enough if you try to solve the problem as you go.
Jeff's statement that in MA we have two choices (continue to increase taxes to pay for services, or cut services) is not understood or accepted. There will be a major challenge in painting the picture so that each person can see what the impact is for them. For the school family, for the senior citizen, for the driver on the road being constructed. Each will need to understand the issue of this is what we get for this amount, or this is what you get for that amount.