Sunday, June 14, 2009

Items of interest; ethics reform, farmer's markets, union givebacks

Posted Jun 13, 2009 @ 11:11 PM


Speaker Robert A. DeLeo has appointed his chief advocate, Majority Leader Rep. James E. Vallee, D- Franklin, Majority as the principal House member of the legislative conference committee on ethics reform.

DeLeo credited Vallee with being the drafter of the stringent, far-reaching ethics and lobbying reform bill recently passed by the House and strongly applauded by government reform advocates.

The conference committee, consisting of three House members and three Senate members, is charged with resolving the differences between each chamber's versions of ethics reform legislation.

"I am honored to be part of crafting such an important piece of legislation," said Vallee. "Only when the citizens of Massachusetts see their legislators making bold moves to change the public perception will we prove that we are acting with nothing but the public interest at heart. I look forward to working with my House and Senate colleagues to negotiate a bill that will represent the strongest, most comprehensive, and meaningful overhaul of the way our government does business."

Read the full article about Rep Vallee and the ethics reform efforts in the Milford Daily News here


Posted Jun 13, 2009 @ 11:01 PM

Farmers already depend on the unpredictability of weather and nature each year so it was with some trepidation given the faltering economy that organizers of local farmers markets opened for business last week.

For now, farmers and organizers are optimistic for their harvest sales.

Framingham farmer Tom Hanson said the poor economy in an indirect fashion is fueling farmers markets. He believes people are slowing down, eating at home, and taking the time to come out to the market, while before they were too busy.

Jeff Cole, executive director of the Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets, said the downturn in the economy and a declining restaurant industry "leads us to conclude that folks are taking limited resources and making different choices on how they are going to spend, which seems to be in the direction of the markets."

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here. Note: there is no reference to Franklin in this article.

Did you know Franklin has a farmer's market? On the Town Common, Friday afternoons. You can visit the Federation of Massachusetts Farmers Markets website to sign up and receive an email alert to remind you of the market.


Unions mixed on givebacks

Officials lobbying for budget relief

By Connie Paige Globe Correspondent / June 14, 2009
Several area communities and school districts have asked employees to break existing contracts and accept wage freezes, salary-increase deferrals, or other givebacks in the coming fiscal year to help prop up wobbly municipal finances.

With the stakes high for both communities and public employees, municipal and school unions have generally turned down the requests, with reactions ranging from respectful mutual understanding on both sides to acrimony and suspicion.

In Franklin, the School Committee's chairman, fearing that the teachers union had not adequately briefed its members about the town's financial plight, used the online site YouTube to make a direct appeal to teachers. In a virtual Internet duel, the union used its own website to respond.

Whatever the relationship between employers and employees, there is a shared understanding of the need to save cash, as municipal revenues and local aid from the state go into freefall, according to local officials.

Read the full article in the Boston Globe here

The Franklin teachers are scheduled to vote on their latest negotiated agreement with the School Committee on Monday, June 15th.

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