Saturday, April 25, 2009

Charles River Cleanup Heros!

This group of four came back to refresh their supplies to clean up the Charles River Watershed during the special clean up today.

In green t-shirts left to right (If I have the order correctly) Michelle, Shawn, Alex, and Melisa. David Dobrzynski wore the yellow t-shirt and was coordinating the activities at the Whole Foods in Bellingham.

Thanks for the work you did today!

PS - If I have the order incorrect, please let me know and I can make the change.

Updated to properly identify Shawn and Alex.

"They're anxious and waiting"

Milford Daily News
Posted Apr 24, 2009 @ 11:50 PM


After making the wage and health care concessions, Franklin's public employees are still on edge, some waiting for the dreaded pink slip.

Hearing Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting's projection of another major deficit next year - up to $6 million - rekindled fear among police, said Police union Vice President Robert Burchill.

Morale at the station is "OK at the moment," he said, but officers are concerned about what's going to happen next year.

"Next year's budget is way out of whack again. We already made concessions for the town to save jobs, figuring that was the end-all, figuring things can't get worse. I guess they can get worse," Burchill said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Come to the Town Forum on Monday, April 27th, 7:00 PM to discuss the Financial Planning Committee's report.

Financial Planning Report - available

Click through to the Franklin Town website to view and download the draft report of the Financial Planning Committee here

The summary of the FPC meetings this year as well as the Focus Group's feedback can be found here:

This report will be the subject of the open forum meeting Monday at 7:00 PM at the Horace Mann/Mercer Auditorium.

HMEA's 8th Annual Independence 5K Walk/Run

HMEA's 8th Annual Independence 5K Walk/Run in the Park will be held on Sunday, May 17, 2009. Our friends at EMC2 Corporation, 50 Constitution Boulevard, Franklin, MA have again allowed us to hold this premier fundraising event on their grounds. Gail Huff from WCVB-TV Channel 5 News will once again be our host.

To register to walk please visit Here you can also set-up your own personal fundraising page that can be e-mailed to all your family, friends and co-workers asking them to support your efforts to raise funds for HMEA.

If you want to participate in the road race please register at OR, if you prefer you can complete your registration form online, print it and mail directly to HMEA along with your registration fee(s). You could also e-mail it back to Click here for the registration form.

Interested in becoming a sponsor of this fun-filled family day event? To learn what sponsorships are available click here for the Sponsorship Opportunities flyer.

More information will be available shortly. In the meantime if have any questions please call Linda Conley at 508.298.1107 or Doug MacPherson at 508.298.1105.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Franklin Downtown Partnership invites crafters to Strawberry Festival


Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:


via Wicked Local Franklin News RSS by GateHouse Media, Inc. on 4/24/09

The Franklin Downtown Partnership is planning its June 19 Strawberry Festival, and is inviting crafters to send in their registration by May 1.

The festival will take place 1 to 6 p.m. at the West Central Street parking lot, next to Rick's restaurant. Booth fees are $50 for non-food vendors. After May 1, booth fees are $75. Space is limited.
Vendors should contact festival chairman Mary Graff at 773-5504 or
Anyone interested in joining the Partnership or sponsoring this event should contact the Franklin Downtown Partnership Executive Director at or 774-571-3109.


Things you can do from here:


Columbine lessons still resonate

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Franklin School Committee by Jeffrey Roy on 4/24/09
My vacation week read this year was Dave Cullen's excellent work entitled Columbine. It's an indelible portrait of the killers, the victims, and the community that suffered one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century. This book was released nearly 10 years after the event, and is a riveting page turner which [...]

Things you can do from here:

"the problem is real, it's growing, and it's perpetual"

Milford Daily News
Posted Apr 23, 2009 @ 11:49 PM


At its last meeting before presenting its report to the public, the long-range financial planning committee's top concern was making sure they can draw a large crowd.

In an effort to ensure people attend the forum at Horace Mann Middle School on Monday at 7 p.m., committee members debated using the townwide calling system to invite residents to come.

Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting argued that the system must only be used for emergencies. If it is used for announcements, nobody will listen when a "real emergency comes," Nutting said.

Councilor Stephen Whalen emphatically insisted that there is no more important issue in town than its recurring deficit and the damaging impact it can and has wrought.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.

Financial Plng Comm 04/23/09

The live reporting from the Financial Planning Committee meeting of 4/23/09 can be found here

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Live reporting - FPC

Clarification on average annual debt versus actual.

Page 5 of the executive summary, remove the reference to "outsource", it hasn't really been done to amount to much. There has mostly been elimination not outsourcing.

Need to adjust the deficit to ensure the forecast agrees with FY 10. Jeff and Doug to finalize the numbers as close as they can. The numbers may still change but we want to be to in the ball park and not an order of magnitude off.

Medical trends go at double digit growth so we still need to forecast accordingly.

The one-time savings are primarily associated with what was forecasted versus what can get into the budget.

Should we address the teacher retirement as it is not funded by the town? Yes, need to find a place appropriately.

Need to assign responsibilities for computer, screen projection (Jeff)
Microphone one at stage, one each aisle (Jeff)

Go through the executive summary

Discussion on using the connect-cty to notify the town of the meeting Monday night. School system will likely be used to notify the school community.

Discussion on confirmation of broadcasting via cable. Not confirmed yet.

Whole object here is that the problem is real, it is growing, it is systemic.

Use a dashboard on the web to show what the numbers are, they may change over time. It needs to be reflected as what changed and why, not that they "found money".

Live reporting - Financial Plng - 4/23/09

Attending: Roche, Bartlett, Hardesty, Nutting, Cameron, Trahan, Whalen, Wilschek
Absent: Kelly, Ogden, Zollo

Approved minutes of 4/2/09, 4/9/09 meeting

Review of new numbers to show decline in town employees since 1999 versus population increase since that same time.

Discussion on new slide which tries to get at the projected deficit for this year. Too much is still in float, leave out the revenue numbers. Focus on the one-time adjustments because that puts us in the hole to start out in FY 2011.

Discussion on freeze versus deferral. Deferral is more accurate.

Live reporting - Financial Planning Committee - 4/23/09

The meeting was rescheduled to start at 7:30 PM.

fuel assistance

Seniors, veterans, all it takes

Is one phone call with Bob
To get it started

What is a sherku?

Call Bob who?

You can call Bob Fahey at the Franklin Senior Center. He and I had a good fact filled conversation on Wednesday and I'll have more to write about the assistance he provides guidance on for Franklin's seniors and veterans over the next several days.

For other sherku celebrating this National Poetry Month you can visit quiet poet here

School cuts put libraries in danger

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Boston Globe -- Globe West by Rachel Lebeaux, Globe Correspondent on 4/22/09
A budget squeeze is forcing Franklin officials to consider laying off school librarians as one measure toward closing its deficit. It is seen as a grim possibility, one that other communities have also faced.

Things you can do from here:

10th Annual Charles River Earth Day Clean Up

The 10th Annual Charles River Earth Day Clean Up will be held this Saturday (4/25/09) from 9:00 AM - 12:00 Noon all along the Charles River and its tributaries.

David Dobrzynski is the site supervisor for the Bellingham/Franklin/Medway/Millis/Norfolk portion of the Charles River Watershed for this event and would be happy to sign up anyone who would like to pitch in with this effort.

David will be manning the volunteer sign in site at the Whole Foods Market in Bellingham, MA beginning at 9:00 AM. People interested in volunteering can drop by and get an assignment for a specific area that needs to be cleaned up.

Full details about this event can be found at:

"I want to change their way of thinking"

Milford Daily News
Posted Apr 23, 2009 @ 12:12 AM


Marina Smoske, an eighth-grader at Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School, looks and sounds no different than any other 14-year-old.

She is energetic, beautiful and loves theater. She can't wait to join other kids who know all the lyrics to musicals at Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick where she has been accepted. She is just crossing her fingers, praying that she'll get the scholarships she needs to attend her dream school.

And she definitely knows what she believes - she's got strong opinions and enjoys expressing them.

But Smoske is different than most of her peers: She was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a mild form of autism, , at age 4.

Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, problems with verbal and nonverbal communication, repetitive behaviors or narrow, obsessive interests, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Web site.

Read the full article about Marina's effort in the Milford Daily News here

Concerned about Franklin's Finances?

Concerned about Franklin's Finances?


Long-Range Financial Planning Committee

Monday, April 27th

7 PM

Mann School

(Mercer Auditorium)


Cafe Dolce - Music - Sat 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

John Kinney

Café Dolce

Café Dolce is featuring John Kinney April 25, 7:00 - 9:00 PM. Come and listen to acoustic music inspired by Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson, Ray LaMontange, and many more!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rain barrels discounted for Franklin residents


Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:


via Wicked Local Franklin News RSS by Staff reports on 4/22/09

Brutus Cantoreggi, director of Public Works, has announced New England Rain Barrel will be holding the annual rain barrel sale.
Orders may be placed until May 8, 2009.  Pick up day is Wednesday, May 13 at 150 Emmons St. from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.  

Rain barrels will be offered to Franklin residents at  the retail price of $72.50 , instead of the regularly price of $119.95, by The New England Rain Barrel Company.

The rain barrels are made from 55-gallon blue plastic recycled containers. The barrels have a 6-inch diameter inlet opening covered with a screened louver to keep insects and debris out. The barrels have two brass spigots, one to connect a hose for watering and the other for overflow. They feature a 5-foot hose with a shutoff valve. Multiple barrels can be linked together for additional capacity.  

To contact New England Rain Barrel, call 877-977-3135 or log on to


Things you can do from here:


Google has a powermeter?

How much does it cost to leave your TV on all day? What about turning your air conditioning 1 degree cooler? Which uses more power every month — your fridge or your dishwasher? Is your household more or less energy efficient than similar homes in your neighborhood?

Our lack of knowledge about our own energy usage is a huge problem, but also a huge opportunity for us all to save money and fight global warming by reducing our power usage. Studies show that access to your household's personal energy information is likely to save you between 5–15% on your monthly bill, and the potential impact of large numbers of people achieving similar efficiencies is even more exciting. For every six households that save 10% on electricity, for instance, we reduce carbon emissions as much as taking one conventional car off the road (see sources and calculation).

Read more on the Google Energy Information site here.

"You can see signs of progress"

Milford Daily News
Posted Apr 22, 2009 @ 12:03 AM


It's been four years since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, but it is still near to the helpful hearts and minds of members of the Methodist churches in Franklin and Framingham.

On Sunday, church members reflected on their fifth trip to help rebuild homes in Pearlington, Miss. This time, 18 members, college-age through seniors, and three who now live in Rockville, Md., ventured south, and were happy to find progress is finally being made, said the Rev. Sandra Bonnette-Kim, pastor of the Framingham First United Methodist Church.

"It was both good and bad. It was nice to see some developments: Road constructions were being done and bridges were being fixed. The whole town was getting taken care of," she said.

Read the full article about the local assistance being provided to Katrina victims in Mississippi in the Milford Daily News here

"We're going to cross our fingers and hope this works"

Milford Daily News
Posted Apr 21, 2009 @ 11:54 PM


A clerical worker in the assessing department and a building inspector will be laid off this year due to the budget crunch, Building Commissioner David Roche and Head Assessor Kevin Doyle reported while presenting their budgets to the Finance Committee last night.

Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting also told the Finance Committee next year's budget funds 10 fewer municipal positions than this year's budget. That does not include schools, and does not necessarily mean all 10 are layoffs, as some may be retirements that won't be filled.

"It's going to be a stretch, but they're going to do the best they can to do business as usual," said Nutting.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Read all the live reporting posts from the same Finance Committee meeting here

Finance Committee 04/21/09

The live reporting summary of the budget hearing by the FINCOM can be found here

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Live reporting - final items

Sheet provided to Finance Committee to summarize the differences amongst the State level budgets. This is still very fluid.

Next two budget hearings

April 28th - Tuesday (Planning, Police, Recreation, Fire) (not on cable/web, in training room on 3rd floor)

April 29th - Wednesday (in Council chambers and broadcast via cable/web)

Live reporting - Controller, Legal

Financial services, fixed asset update is done with an outside consultant. It is an annual expense and done at the end of the year.

Up to 2002, the Town used outside council. When Jeff came in, he thought it would be better to have that service in house. Cost avoidance is done by awareness and on-going training. The bylaws and town regulations have been re-written over time to ensure the best legal position.

Mid-to-late 80's this budget line items was quarter million dollars. Effectively, the process of having our lawyer in-house saves us money.

Live reporting - Insurance, Town Council, Town Admin, Finance

Insurance claims
Folks should be aware of the MA General law in this area. If the Town has no prior knowledge of the pothole, the Town has no obligation to pay the claim against it. If they do know of it, and fail to fill it, they are liable for up to $5,000.

Insurance of $315,000 was approved.

Town Council
There is no budget line item for payroll as the Town Council is a total volunteer effort. Contrary to what some folks believe, they Town Council does not get paid for what they do.

Town Administrations
Budget cut on training and travel.

Some items shifted to other departments.

Finance Committee
The one annual training will be held at Tri-County in October. That will save some expenses this time.

Live reporting - Human Resources

"We don't control the pensions at all." - Jeff Nutting

"Once you were more than 20 hours a week, then you are in the pension system." That is a county decision.

"They have a fiduciary responsibility to manage their funding."

Health Insurance
Retired Teachers were moved from the State plan to move it to a local control. They have saved $400,000 from the peak of 1.4 M in FY 07.

"It did have a significant savings. The retirees did have angst but are now a very satisfied group." Stephanie McNeil

"The employees have been excellent in changing co-pays to save premium dollars... It is a constant on-going analysis every year." Nutting

The active plans increased 2% and the retired plans dropped about the same so it was really more of a flat (i.e. no rate increase) budget.

Any change in co-pay is a negotiation item with all 13 unions.

Audited the payroll records in detail to review classifications.
The experience rating (i.e. accidents) and a competitive rate recently bid has produced savings in this area this year.

Driven in good times and bad by the school system. The requirement of new teachers to become certified has created some turnover for those teachers on a regular basis.

There is some exposure in this area as the school budget is not finalized and the number of teachers that may be laid off is not known. We did well last year with the 42 teachers that were laid off about 20 of them got jobs right away.

The employee benefits budget of over $7 million was approved.

Live reporting - Town Clerk, Assessors, Building

The Town Clerk and the elections budgets were approved.

The Assessors budget was approved. There will be a reduction of one clerk in this department. It may affect window service at the Municipal Building but the forms and information generally required is available from the Town website.

The Building Inspectors budget was approved. There is a reduction of one inspector in the FY 10 budget. An inspector brought on and trained during FY 09 is being let go. The approaching risk is that when the economy picks up the permitting process may grow in volume. If the volume increases, there could be risk of not reviewing a permit within 30 days. If the permit was not reviewed within 30 days, it is automatically approved. That is the risk. The contingency is to use the existing employees to cover the permits and take away from window service available hours. At some point an increase in permit volume will require additional staffing to return.

The overall Town budget is down 10 full employees from FY 09 to FY 10.

LIve reporting - Finance Committee 4/21/09

No agenda was published on the Town website for this meeting (at least that I could find).

Full listing of attendees not available due to viewing the meeting via cable.

This is the second of the FY 10 budget hearings.

Book Signing - LeeRoy U Bailey, Jr - 5/2/09

LeeRoy U Bailey, Jr will be at Treesavers Book Outlet on Saturday May 2, to sign his book; A Different Perspective on How to Reach Heaven: You Must Be Born Again.

LeeRoy will be on site at Treesavers from noon to 4:00 PM. For more information you can email LeeRoy at or visit his website here.

Finance Committee Mtg 4/21/09

The review of the FY 2010 budget continues this evening at the Finance Committee meeting at 7:00 PM. The first several department budgets were reviewed last Thursday and reported on here

The specific department budgets being reviewed this evening is not yet published.

Monday, April 20, 2009

"we can only spend what we have"

Milford Daily News
Posted Apr 19, 2009 @ 10:17 PM


After hearing rumors that Franklin was going to lose $448,000 for the past several weeks, town officials say they are happy with the $31 million total state aid Franklin is due to receive.

"We were very surprised we were level-funded. This was a pleasant surprise," said School Committee member Cora Armenio, adding that officials are still on their toes because "it's still not over."

"This is the most frustrating budget season I've ever been in, and it's really no one's fault," Armenio said.

Chapter 70 school aid is "the heart and soul" of Franklin's local aid, said Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting, who is president of the Massachusetts Municipal Association. The town is expected to get $28.7 million in Chapter 70 school funds.

"Hats off to Rep. (James) Vallee. We dodged a huge bullet - I didn't sleep" Tuesday night, before the House released its budget, Nutting said.

Read this "old news" from last week's Town Council meeting in the Milford Daily News here.

The Town Council meeting was reported live and those notes can be found here.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

"update the Web site and get the word out immediately"

Posted Apr 19, 2009 @ 12:02 AM

Tuesday morning, when an accident on Interstate 495 delayed rush-hour traffic in Franklin, Gary Premo logged on to Twitter, to write an update. The 540 people following Franklin Police on the social networking Web site knew immediately to take a detour.

"I think it gets information out in real time, especially with accidents. People might be heading into work and will get the 'tweet,' and think, Oh, avoid (Rte.) 140," said Premo, Franklin Police's communications director.

Amid the marketing, news reports, organizing and general ephemera that comes when millions of users write about their sandwiches and trips to the mall are a growing number of public officials who are "tweeting," as updates are known in Twitter parlance, about what they do.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Read a related article by the Boston Globe here

You can learn more about Twitter here

You can sign up for Twitter here

You can follow the Franklin Police here

You can follow me here

Communication and social media

Governor Deval Patrick making the announcement earlier this week about the latest revenue adjustments. This was posted to YouTube. His use of Twitter and YouTube to spread his message is commendable!

Should you use social media to spread your message?

As long as there is a conversation required to sell your services, then there is an opportunity for you. Come to the NewBCamp at Providence College today to start learning about these possibilities.

Can't make it to NewBCamp, then contact me and we can arrange a mutually convenient time to review the possibilities.

Slide Show: Earth Day 2009

These photos summarize some of the activities on Earth Day in Franklin: