Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sponsor a hug today!

I met Gail at last weekend's SOBCon conference in Chicago. I was inspired to donate for a hug and encourage you to try to do the same. From their website:

What we're doing

Inspire Me Today Founder Gail Lynne Goodwin and her husband Darryl will take off in a small prop plane from Colorado to circumnavigate the globe and literally hug the world. The tour will stop in 45 locations over a period of five months.

On a personal mission to make a difference, they will be:

  • Delivering an estimated $1,000,000 to important causes throughout the tour raised through grassroots contributions from people like you
  • Giving at least 2,000 hugs in each location to literally wrap the world in 100,000 hugs
  • Gathering great wisdom, inspiration and brilliance from leaders and luminaries in the far reaches of the globe to bring back and share on

Why we're doing it

In this time of doom and gloom when it seems the whole world is struggling, we choose to change that focus by inspiring humanity to trust in what is good and what is possible. We believe in a message of hope, change, responsibility, and commitment to others.

We believe through opening our hearts and celebrating our global connectivity, bridges and understanding can be built between us. By connecting Hug Sponsors with the exact hug recipients, we will create opportunities to connect people from all walks of life, from different religions, cultures, ethnicities, and create friendships that extend from one continent to another. By raising money with people like you, we will be making a tangible difference in the world and supporting important causes together. We welcome your participation and look forward to working with you!

Do you believe in a message of hope, change, responsibility, and commitment to others?

Global Hug Tour

For more information on their world tour, and to contribute if you can, please visit their website here

Friday, May 8, 2009

Quick clarification

The prior posting on "We have no one to fault but ourselves" was meant as a call to action for the 80% of the Franklin voters who did not cast their ballot in November 2007.

While there may be differences in views on this item or that, I have great respect for all our elected officials, especially those on the Town Council, School Committee, Finance Committee, and the other elected committees that contribute to this town.

They give much of their time to perform their duties on our behalf.

Contrary to what some apparently believe, they do not get paid for what they do. It is a volunteer effort and public service initiative much like my own efforts here.

  • To the 1 in 10 Franklin voters who cast your ballot in November 2007, reach out to your neighbors at any opportunity you have, gently remind them of their civic duty.

  • To the 9 in 10 Franklin voters who did not cast your ballot in November 2007, please, please get involved. Take a step forward. Attend a meeting. Be informed. Cast your ballot when the next election rolls around.

Franklin will be a better place with all involved.

If you don't think you should be involved, stop me around town some time. You should be able recognize me by now. I'd like to find out why.

  • Finally, to all Franklin resident that are eligible to vote but have not yet registered, please consider doing so. The Town Clerk's office is open with convenient hours Monday-Friday. It is a quick and easy transaction.

PS - My thanks to Town Council Chairperson Chris Feeley for taking the time to provide feedback on the prior posting and to enable this clarification.

We have no one to fault but ourselves!

As I went back to the November 2007 Town election results for yesterday's posting, I was surprised to see the numbers. Yes, I knew the turnout was low but the real impact is what affects us everyday here in Franklin.

Candidate Votes % Voted % Voters
Vallee 2201 57.2% 11.9%
Feeley 1979 51.5% 10.7%
Zollo 1978 51.4% 10.7%
Bartlett 1893 49.2% 10.2%
Pfeffer 1692 44.0% 9.1%
Whalen 1680 43.7% 9.0%
Doak 1673 43.5% 9.0%
Mason 1568 40.8% 8.4%
McGann 1549 40.3% 8.3%

Kelly 2141 55.7% 11.5%
Roy 2021 52.6% 10.9%
Trahan 1976 51.4% 10.6%
Cafasso 1899 49.4% 10.2%
Mullen 1871 48.7% 10.1%
Armenio 1823 47.4% 9.8%
Rohrbach 1761 45.8% 9.5%

Only 1 in 10 registered voters in Franklin have a right to complain about how things are being determined.

The other 9 better do something to get involved, become informed, and cast a vote when the next election comes around.

Oh, yes. This is election year isn't it!

The Election results can be found on the Town of Franklin Annual Report for 2008. Page 57-59.
Hard copies are available at the Municipal Building. You can also down load a copy from the website here (PDF).

The candidates for Town Council and School Committee are shown in declining order of votes received.

The % voted is their total as a percent of the total cast, 3845.

The % voters is their total as a percent of the total registered voters for 2007, 18572. From P56 of the Town Report; 19102 minus the growth of 530 voters during 2008 equals 18572.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Town Council Continues Math Error School Committee Started

In Thursday's paper:

Councilor Joseph McGann said he believes it is only a "handful" of union members who refuse to accept a wage deferment without conditions attached.

"It's just a handful, and that handful is very selfish and very one-sided. Every other union in Franklin has conceded to and waived raises," McGann said.

Gee, if we go back to the election in November 2007 that brought Councilor McGann to this position, there were 3845 ballots cast. This reflects only 20% of the total Franklin registered voters. He gained 1549 votes which was 40% of those cast and only 8% of the total Franklin registered voters. These numbers are all from the Franklin Annual Report for 2008 and you can go double check the math if you would like.

So what is this “handful” of teachers he is talking about?

According to what was reported in this paper, half the teachers participated in the first vote and 80% of those voted for the wage deferral with the three conditions. So if you do the math, that would equate to 40% of the teachers eligible to vote. 10% voted against the proposal. 50% choose not to vote.

Councilor McGann, you are calling 40% a “handful”?

Then what would you call the 8% who voted for you in November 2007?

The Town Council has chosen to unanimously and quite publicly back the School Committee. Why didn't they do that in June 2007 for the override that failed?

This time, I think they have picked the wrong numbers to make their case. They are continuing an error the School Committee started and has yet to correct.

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"hearings are slated to begin next week"

Dining out at restaurants, registering your car, and even watching satellite television would get more expensive under a plan that will be recommended today by a special legislative panel hunting for new revenue to aid cities and towns.

The commission's report contains a potentially big money maker for municipalities. It says local officials should have the option of raising meal taxes by 2 percentage points and increasing taxes on hotel rooms by 4 percentage points.

The increases, along with a variety of other taxes and fees, would raise at least $409 million to benefit municipalities as state lawmakers are reducing local aid payments. It would be a crucial boost for struggling cities and towns, panel members and city leaders said.

"It's the first light we've seen in a dark tunnel," Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston said in an interview yesterday. "It seems positive to me. We've been advocating for local options for several years, and if this says cities can have their own local option, it's a good beginning."

The Boston Globe today reports on some progress made to enable local communities to obtain revenue. Read more about this attempt to reduce our dependency on local property taxes here

New England Sports Celebration - 5/31/09

From the Facebook page for the New England Sports Celebration
Come down and help us raise funds for the F.X. O’Regan Early Childhood Development Center PCC. We are planning a fun-filled family day celebrating the proud tradition of New England sports!!

Currently, we have Boston hockey legend TERRY O'REILLY coming down to sign autographs from 2PM-4PM.

Signatures are $15 each with no charge for inscriptions. You are welcome to bring your own items, and we will have a great selection of pictures, pucks and other items available for sale!

Also from 2PM - 4PM, Wally the Green Monster will be visiting to take pictures and sign autographs for his fans for FREE!!!

AND JUST ANNOUNCED - Football Legend STEVE GROGAN will also be available from 2PM-4PM!!! Signatures are $15 each with no charge for inscriptions.

There will be lots of other fun activities for the kids, as well.
Cash bar and concessions will be available. did we mention....ADMISSION IS FREE!!!

This is a public event and we want to pack the place - so please feel free to invite anyone you would like!!! A lot more to come on this...


The groups formed "walking school buses"

Milford Daily News
Posted May 07, 2009 @ 12:03 AM


Dodging puddles and raindrops yesterday morning, crowds of students took to the streets in the state's third annual Walk to School Day.

Rather than driving down Oak Street yesterday morning, Alexandra Thomas walked her children, Cameron and Lily, to Oak Elementary School.

"It was a little chilly, but we did it, it was a team effort," Thomas said.

The young students seemed to grasp the mission of the event.

"It's good exercise and I wanted to help the Earth," said Cameron, a fifth-grader.

The event is put on by MassRIDES, the state's travel options service under the Executive Office of Transportation, as part of the state's Safe Routes to School program. It emphasizes the importance of increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, traffic congestion and concern for the environment.

Read the full article about this walk to school day in the Milford Daily News here

40% of urban travel is for trips 2 miles or less. 90% of those trips are by car. Consider taking Clif Bar's Two Mile Challenge. Read about this effort to increase exercise and reduce pollution here

"We're very committed to making it work"

Milford Daily News
Posted May 07, 2009 @ 12:31 AM


After lengthy discussions, Medway's Board of Library Trustees unanimously voted to go forward with regionalizing Medway's library next year by sharing the services of Franklin's current library Director Felicia Oti.

"As a first step toward regionalizing, we accept Felicia Oti as our Interim Library Director for fiscal 2010, for a maximum of 14 hours per week," Wendy Rowe, chairwoman of Medway's Board of Library Trustees, said in an e-mail sent to officials in both towns late Tuesday night.

Medway Town Administrator Suzanne Kennedy said she was "delighted" at the board's unanimous support of regionalizing library services.

read the full article on this next step towards regionalization in the Milford Daily News here

"the art of compromise"

Milford Daily News
Posted May 07, 2009 @ 12:33 AM


One after the other, town councilors last night said they support the School Committee and appealed to the teachers union to vote for wage concessions without conditions to save jobs.

"Personally, on this issue, I'm behind the School Committee 100 percent," said Chairman Christopher Feeley.

He and his fellow councilors said they do not believe the majority of teachers support the union leadership's hardline stance on the three conditions that stand in the way of an agreement with the School Committee.

They urged union leaders to hold another meeting to let the membership vote on the issue, and implored teachers to attend and let their voices be heard.

Councilor Joseph McGann said he believes it is only a "handful" of union members who refuse to accept a wage deferment without conditions attached.

"It's just a handful, and that handful is very selfish and very one-sided. Every other union in Franklin has conceded to and waived raises," McGann said.

read the full article about the Councilor's comments in the Milford Daily News here

Town Council Mtg 05/06/09

The live reporting posts for the Town Council meeting on Wednesday 5/6/09 can be found here

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Live reporting - Town Admin, and closing comments

Jeff read the listing of the sponsors of the recent Earth Day, huge success
remind folks to pick up litter as you go to help keep the town clean

May 17th, HMEA 5K roadrace

Update of fiscal policies in councilor packets

Beautification Day - May 16th 8:00 AM at the bridge

FINCOM did finish their budget hearings on Tuesday
Not sure if we will make the schedule that we have set thus far
Budget as proposed eliminates 11 municipal jobs, only 1.25 people will actually be laid off due to other changes
School Committee budget hearing on May 26th

Vallee - listing of street resurfacing?
Nutting - had to re-bid the hot-top so that should be coming, within the next 30 days we should be ready

Vallee - What is status of Walgreens?
Nutting - we should be ready to close on June 30th

Bartlett - get the listing of street out on the web site so the residents can see
Nutting - yes

McGann - how do we arrive at the street listing?
Nutting - anytime there is a water line, we do the paving the next year. we have a master listing of streets, part art and part science. We do have a huge listing of work that needs to be done. We don't appropriate any money for road improvements.

Vallee - After listening to the Financial Planning Committee, Milford operating under Chapter 121a
Nutting - this is similar to the TIF which we do provide

Nutting - part of it is zoning, big box stores are not allowed, from a tax structure, we have a very low rate. We have given out TIF's with your approval. We are trying to get folks here to fill our warehouses.

Vallee - we should be more proactive in trying to create jobs
Nutting - we are about to begin to update the master plan to look at those issues, rezoning from residential to commercial is not easy

Vallee - I'd like to request that the Planning Dept do the research on Chap 121a
Taberner - we should look at more rezaoning, we have to do it for the greater good


Whalen - would like to take this time to comment on the stand off between the teachers and the School Committee. Addressing teachers directly. 7 unions made the concession for the Town to avoid layoffs.

Mason - echoes Whalen's comments and wishes a speedy resolution to the issue

Zollo - I find it hard to believe that the majority of the teachers are actually supporting their leadership.

McGann - I too believe it is not the whole union that represented, it is a small group, they are very selfish and one sided. It is only a handful.

Congratulations to Mr Fahey for his work in the veterans area.

Doak - I would like to endorse Councilor Whalen's eloquent comments. I don't claim to know all the details. If these concessions don't go through, we will lose more teachers and that is not good.

Pfeffer - I would like to see the art of compromise

Feeley - I find it difficult to believe that the whole number of teachers are behind this. The School Committee conceded the three items for the one year (Editor note: This is not correct, the School Committee conceded only 2 of the 3 items) this shows an attempt to reach an agreement.

Live reporting - legislation for action

  1. Resolution 09-26: Acknowledgment of Invalidity of Order of Taking Directed to Land of United States of America approved 9-0
  2. Resolution 09-27: Appropriation – DelCarte Open Space Dam Repair/Removal approved 8-1 (Mason voted no)
  3. Resolution 09-28: Appropriation – Veterans’ Benefits approved 8-0 (Vallee stepped out momentarily)
  4. Resolution 09-29: Appropriation – Snow & Ice approved 9-0
1 - Land was taken in 1986 from the US Government and should not have been, they finally discovered the error and have asked us to correct it. The easement for sewer through wetlands hasn't chnaged.

2 - Conservation Commission worked on this to prepare the proposal and reduce the cost of the drafting required.

Chris Botchis
Andy Tolland
Ray Willis
Nick Alferi

We don't know how much it will cost. Depending upon what it does cost, we could put it into the capital budget, or bond it, or look for grants to help cover it.

Purpose of this aspect of the study is to focus on the three options and figure out what the least cost options would be. We need tight cost estimates. Everything has been based from a far, this would be a closer study.

Probably along the lines of 6-9 months to do the study, no more than a year.

Based upon what they have said, it could fail but it unlikely to. We are not looking at loss of life or property. The ponds remove nutrients from the storm water before it gets to the Charles River. It is helpful as we are overall being charged with reducing phosphorous from the Charles River.

We are looking for partial dam removals or full dam replacements.

It is our responsibility, it is town owned property.

I am not inclined to approve this given the circumstance
Unless there is a real crisis, I don't see the need for this at this time

I think we need to do this, Mr Delcorte provided this land, there is a lot of water, we are liable for it

Live reporting - Bylaw

Zollo - arrives late

H. Presentations/DISCUSSION
  • Zoning Bylaw, Chapter 185-39. Uses accessory to dwellings.
Nick Alfieri, Beth Dahlstrom, Bryan Taberner

Question on how it would apply to someone who teaches piano lessons a single student at a time

If you have 2 or more at a time, then there are additional requirements
Just places limitations on what you can do to operate a business from a residence

Current definition of present uses is loose and needs to be tightened up

I'd like to see what our current bylaw is to compare this to
I'd like to hear about what the problems are that drove this

The use of a residence for a catering business, parking vehicles for a construction business

Question on defining "objections"

What about entities that are already operating
They would be grandfathered

What are the other bylaws that we are trying to be consistent with?

question on E2a

Refers to the # of vehicles parked in an auxiliary parking area on the land
Not the personal vehicles being used but those being stored

section - D1a provides additional detail in answer to Councilor Bartlett's question
Building Commissioner would be required to have an objective standard

this should go through the normal process

Live reporting - License transactions

F. HEARINGS - none

G. LICENSE TRANSACTIONS – Request for Approval of Change of Manager – 99 Restaurant - approved 8-0

Live reporting - Town Council - 5/6/09

Attending: Whalen, Mason, Vallee, Bartlett, Feeley, Pfeffer, McGann, Doak, Zollo (late)

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – April 1, 2009
motion to approve - passed 8-0

schedule change for June
June 3, 10, 11, if req'd special meeting on Jun 24th
10, 11 will be the budget hearings

Dedication of new monument on Memorial Day

WMRC - 1490 AM
free lunch for 1st 300 people
at Senior Center



  • Cultural Council - Kathy Stankard - approved 8-0
  • Council on Aging - Paul J O'Connell - approved 8-0
  • Charles River Pollution Control District - William J Goode - approved 8-0

Strategic Planning Survey Available

Strategic Planning survey announced previously is now available.

Please take a few minutes to provide your input online here

What is the survey about? This slide cast will explain:

Horace Mann yard sale 5/9/09

Horace Mann yard sale 5/9/09, originally uploaded by shersteve.

"will meet on Tuesday to make final decisions on what areas to cut"

Milford Daily News
Posted May 06, 2009 @ 12:12 AM


The Finance Committee unanimously approved the School Department's $50.3 million, level-funded budget, as recommended by Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting, though school officials are banking on getting up to another $3.5 million to help keep pace with rising costs.

The budget does not reflect the School Department's final budget, as the School Committee is expecting at least $1.5 million worth of revenue from state and federal funds, and possibly another $800,000 from wage concessions by the teachers union, said Chairman Jeffrey Roy.

The School Committee is aiming for a level-service budget, at just over $53.8 million, and is still optimistic about closing the budget gap between the two versions, Roy said. "We've been targeting a level-service budget since the beginning of this process," Roy said.

The budget has been a moving target, with so many unanswered questions about funding, such as how much Franklin schools will get from state aid and the federal stimulus package, he said.

Read the full article about the Finance Committee meeting in the Milford Daily News here

In addition to what the article references, the Finance Committee also approved the Information Technology budget. The coverage of the complete meeting can be found here.

"Let us put an end to this public squabble"

Milford Daily News
Posted May 06, 2009 @ 12:43 AM


In what has grown into online crossfire between school leaders, new teachers union President Robert McLaughlin posted a two-page letter on a Web site yesterday picking apart statements made in the School Committee's two YouTube videos.

In the letter, posted on, McLaughlin said he was heartened to hear School Committee Chairman Jeffrey Roy use the word "partner" in reference to contract talks with the union, but concluded the School Committee "certainly has not even met us halfway in attempting to resolve this stalemate."

The School Committee has asked the Franklin Education Association to defer its negotiated 2.5 percent wage increase until fiscal 2011 to save about 16 teachers' jobs.

"As always the members of the FEA were glad to pitch in and do their part," said McLaughlin.

Read the full article about the teachers response to the School Committee in the Milford Daily News here

Treesavers: Paul Barcelo

Paul Barcelo, author of The Sweet War Man

Paul Barcelo completed Army Infantry training at Fort Benning, Georgia, then rotary wing training at Fort Wolters, Texas and Fort Rucker, Alabama. He flew one tour as a UH-1 pilot in Republic of Vietnam. He resides in Franklin, Massachusetts with his wife and four children. This is his first novel.
Will be appearing at Treesavers Books to sign his new book, The Sweet War Man.

May 16, 2009 from 2:00 to 4:00 PM

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Finance Comm 05/05/09

The budget hearings held by the Finance Committee covered IT, Tri-County and the School budget on Tuesday May 5th. The live reporting sessions are:

Live reporting - School District

Maureen Sabolinski, Jeff Roy

Formal budget discussion scheduled for 5/26/09 School Committee meeting

School District has been targeting a "level funded" budget since the beginning

Differences between level service and level funded budget described

revised $53,291,773

Increases in revenue currently anticipated
  • Increase in circuit breaker revenue
  • State stabilization fund
  • Federal stimulus package
  • Extraordinary relief package
  • School Choice revenue
Subtotal $1.5 million

If FEA wage concession comes in, the deficit will be approx. $700,000
Decisions coming in SchCom meeting on Tuesday (5/12/09) on ways to cut the gap
Public hearing on budget scheduled for 5/26/09

Roche - thanks for the information an numbers provided this year
offsets are visible here

Same dollars as last years budget
Town has legal authority over the one line item
School Committee has legal responsibility for all the details

Level funded number $50,297,820

There is no text book line item in the budget
There is a workbook for K-5 Everyday math that is a consumable and required yearly
One vendor, we are at their mercy. To adopt another text book series is a huge effort.

The transportation line item had been the subject of the forensic audit
We have been trying to increase the transportation line item to avoid that issue

We have a total bottom-line item for the overall budget
the fee schedule has not been set yet, stay tuned for Tuesday night (5/12/09)

Field house banners were sold and the money is going back into the athletic budget
Athletic Director Sidwell is using the funds to minimize operating osts

We have applied for several grants and we turned down for several
We are not as diverse a district as we could be to benefit from the grants

The grants have primarily been Federal, several of the State level grants have been cut
One grant for 90,000 this year is only 5,000 and next year goes away

Contractual services private?
Tuition to private schools and residential placements
We can not provide the services for those Special Ed students
We provide as much as we can

Every school district in the Commonwealth has some cost in that line item
Franklin has 71 students in the Special Education
Wellesley has double the number of student for a district half the size of ours

Is Professional Development a problem with the teachers?
The PD budget has been centralized and removed from each individual schools
The final budget will have that spelled out

Our final budget may look significantly different
We have not determined how to flow the stimulus funds across the budget

Using the revolving fund for School Choice was the equivalent of 2.5 teachers
We could not leave that just sitting there

We like to be about 14 percent, this budget could be about 1-2% above the minimum

Legal increase - had a residency case this year
hard to predict the utilization of these funds
generally a one time cost, end result did not pick up the tuition of a student who did not officialy reside in the town

Discussion on validity of voting for a budget tonight

Tuesday May 12th, school detail discussion on fees, and other cuts
Tuesday May 26th, formal vote on final budget

Motion to approve $50,297,820 - passed 11-0

Any old business - no
New business - recommended budget to be published and go to the Council for June 10/11

Next Finance meeting 6/2, may hold until 6/9, but that is still dependent upon the Commonwealth and where the numbers are at that time

Requesting an increase in Building Inspector's of $4400
to cover use of individual's personal vehicles

Inspection Acct 240
total of $369,006
Money to balance this comes from "Other Available Funds"

Technically still part of the budget hearing

Approved 11-0

Live reporting - Tri-County RVTHS

Tri-County Regional Voc Tech High School

Introductions around

Tri-County is well aware of the needs of the feeding towns
A required minimum amount was budgeted for
The required minimum amount was set by the State

Assessment is down by approx. 269,000 dollars
Enrollment down from 192 to 159 students

Roche - we appreciate your efforts in that regard

In order to get our budget down, we prioritized keeping teachers
We reduced administrative staff, by one curriculum coordinator
Due to retirement of one individual took the opportunity to change that position from full year to school year and reduce salary level

We rely heavily on instructional supplies, did cut supplies
any further cuts will come from teacher salaries

Reduced 181,000 in instructional equipement
eliminated renovation projects
eliminated virtual high school

Budget for next year is 2% less than the current operating budget

The minimum amount is done on a district level
For Tri-County it is determined by the eleven sending districts
Offset by Chapter 70 funds

Will reduce our currency for one year, will be fine for this year
Equipment does take a lot of use when used by the student

Franklin's legal commitment is the same as other communities

There is no debt at Tri-County so there is a benefit there
results in a zero for capital

Applications year-to-date don't indicate that the drop is a trend
A similar drop did occur several years ago and then picked up the following year

Changed their Special Ed approach, teachers assigned to grades and subjects
teachers will address the students as required to meet their needs
the classrooms are mainstreamed (all inclusive)

Most Special Education teachers are dual certified,
have 8 teachers to meet the 37% of the students have IEP's

Transportation for a regional school is different from local schools
the reimbursement rate is higher

They absorbed the difference between the actual transportation and the reimbursement rate rather than billing it out to the sending districts as they did prior

Motion to approve budget - Passed 11-0

Live reporting - Finance Committee - 5/5/09

Brett S. Feldman
Juan Rivera
Patricia Goldsmith
Phyllis Messere
Rebecca Cameron
Jack Caufield
Mark Cataldo
James Roche
Tina Powderly
Craig Maire
Robert Teixeira

Almost final budget hearing

Information Technology
Tim Raposa

Similar to last year's budget, bare bones

"School Dude" work order management system, being set up this year to be used
should be set up over the next couple of months
doing cafeteria point of sale systems now

Efficiency based, current work order system is paper based

Virtual townhall - they do the website hosting, all done off-site
Folks call them directly, training is done on their site

Complete salary budget for technology department is in the School Budget

Motion to approve budget - Passed 11-0

"adopt the concept of 100-100"

Robert McLoughlin, President of the FEA, has posted the teacher's response to the School Committee's YouTube videos.
I was heartened to hear Mr. Roy use the word partner many times in his online presentation this weekend. In the context of partnership, some time ago I was introduced to the relational concept of 100/100. This idea being that a partnership should not be 50-50, but rather 100-100. Each partner in a relationship should not give 50 percent toward making the partnership successful, but 100% of their energy and effort toward achieving the shared goal(s) of the partnership. After just four days in office, I can proudly claim that the Franklin Education Association is putting the concept of 100-100 boldly into practice for the parents and children of Franklin.
Read the full posting here

In case you have not seen the YouTube videos, you can find them here
School Committee YouTube videos

FM #38 - Parents Call to Action

This is #38 in the series of podcast on what matters in Franklin, MA. This segment focuses on the current impasse between the School Committee and the teachers union, and issues a call to action to Franklin's parents.

Time: 8 minutes, 7 seconds

MP3 File

Session Notes:

Music intro

My intro - FM #38

This internet radio show or podcast for Franklin Matters is number 38 in the series.

On the disclosure front, I stand here today not as the husband of a Franklin teacher. Yes, my wife Dolores does teach kindergarten at the Oak Street School. I love her dearly. I don't need to represent her or the teacher's union. They are quite capable of representing themselves.

I do stand here today as a parent of two Franklin High School graduates (class of 2004 and 2006) knowing full well that if you are a parent of children in the school district today or a parent with children yet to enter the schools, your children are not getting the same level of educational opportunity that my daughters received. That is my concern.

A quick story to lead to the call to action for today.

Many years ago, in my first corporate position, I started as a call center operator. Burroughs Corp, now known as UNISYS, was just starting regional call centers to support their customers. I spent a few days training, reading the manuals, policies, procedures, familiarizing myself with the call dispatch program. I also spent many hours double jacked. Double jacked meant I was listening in to the phone conversation with another operator as my trainer and mentor.

Then the time came for me to take the lead on the phone and as luck would have it, my first phone call was a dozy. I answered with phone with the standard greeting and was welcomed with a series of expletives. Briefly, the caller was a Southern NJ police chief whose Burroughs terminal was not operating. He was quite irate, expletive this, expletive that, “get this expletive device out of here” and so forth. I think you get the gist of how it was going. I let him vent and then chimed in with my best voice to try and resolve this problem. He would have none of it.

“Son”, he said, “How long you been there?”I was honest and admitted that I had just started.

“Son”, he said, “Let me give you some advice. Quit!”

Well, I did not quit. I did take away from customer service that you are as good as your last phone call. You always have to be on. It was interesting to listen to the reaction in the callers voice as I greeted them. If the customer did not like what had happened previously in our conversation, I could hear the disappointment in their voice as they recognized, “Oh, Steve.”

I quickly learned to answer the phone every time with my best voice. Then the customer would say, “Oh, Steve!” and we would get down to business with a good conversation.

The call to action.

Franklin parents, you have no doubt heard about the impasse between the School Committee and the teachers union. If by chance, you haven't heard of the details, you can visit the links in the blog post that accompanies this podcast to watch the School Committee's YouTube videos and to read my analysis of the discussion. The teachers are preparing their response. Once that is available, I'll post the link to that so you'll have their side of the story.

Updated: The teachers response has been posted here

You now have a few opportunities to let the School Committee know where you stand.
  • The Finance Committee will hear the school departments initial budget presentation Tuesday, May 5th. I say initial budget as clearly the teachers issue has not yet been resolved nor has the School Committee formally voted to accept a budget for FY 2010.
  • The Town Council has a meeting Wednesday May 6th. There is a citizen's comment portion of the meeting so you can step up to take 3 minutes and state your point of view.
  • The School Committee will meet on Tuesday May 12th and again on Tuesday May 26th. The meeting on the 26th is currently scheduled to be the formal vote on the FY 2010 budget.
Parents, please take one or more of these opportunities to step up and state your point of view.
The School Committee needs to know where you stand. Your point of view will potentially break the current impasse between the 7 School Committee members and the over 500 members of the teachers union (FEA).

There is no time like the present to stand up and state your case. This will determine the future of your children's education. This will determine Franklin's future.

When you step up to state your point of view, be positive! Take the high road.

Links referenced:
School Committee YouTube videos

Back story and my analysis

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This podcast has been a public service provided to my fellow citizens of Franklin, MA

For additional information, please visit

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The musical intro and closing is from the Podsafe Music Network
Jon Schmidt - Powerful Exhilarating Piano Music

"It's not going to go on YouTube"

Milford Daily News
Posted May 05, 2009 @ 12:16 AM
Last update May 05, 2009 @ 12:37 AM


Using two video clips on YouTube, the School Committee directly appealed to the teachers union for wage concessions that will save 16 teachers' jobs.

Addressing the entire Franklin Education Association in a 9-minute video, and again in a 4-minute video, Chairman Jeffrey Roy said the district only has a few weeks left to "put aside emotions and work together for what's in the best interest of students, parents and guardians in this community."

He beseeched the union, and its new leadership, headed by President Bob McLaughlin, a Franklin High School gym teacher, to join the School Committee as partners to help close the budget gap.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

"no one made a motion"

Posted May 04, 2009 @ 11:36 PM


School officials shouldn't expect any changes from the teachers union's new leadership, which took the reins May 1, said new union President Bob McLaughlin.

In the past several months, communication seems to have broken down between the Franklin Education Association and the School Committee, and negotiations for wage concessions to save teachers' jobs appear stalled.

At last week's union meeting, then-union President Chandler Creedon, a psychologist at Horace Mann Middle School, projected a "terse" e-mail from School Committee Chairman Jeffrey Roy onto a big screen in the auditorium, which further angered union members, McLaughlin said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Finance Committee - 5/5/09 - Budget Hearing

No agenda has been posted on the Town website for this meeting. The last agenda posted was for the 2/3/09 meeting (posted on 2/4/09).

No minutes for the current series of budget hearings have posted. The most recent minutes were for the meeting of 4/14/09 (updated on 4/30/09).

Tonight's agenda per the last meeting is reported to be

Information Technology

Tri-Country Regional Vocational Technical High School

School Department

Note: the order of the agenda is subject to change

Town Council - 5/6/09 - Agenda

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – April 1, 2009




  • Cultural Council
  • Council on Aging
  • Charles River Pollution Control District


G. LICENSE TRANSACTIONS – Request for Approval of Change of Manager – 99 Restaurant

H. Presentations/DISCUSSION
  • Zoning Bylaw, Chapter 185-39. Uses accessory to dwellings.


  1. Resolution 09-26: Acknowledgment of Invalidity of Order of Taking Directed to Land of United States of America
  2. Resolution 09-27: Appropriation – DelCarte Open Space Dam Repair/Removal
  3. Resolution 09-28: Appropriation – Veterans’ Benefits
  4. Resolution 09-29: Appropriation – Snow & Ice





O. EXECUTIVE SESSION – Negotiations, Litigation, Real Property, as May Be Required


The documents for this agenda can be found on the Town website

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.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Alternative Link for Message to FEA

From Ed Cafasso via email

For those of you having difficulty viewing the YouTube video on the School Committee’s recent statement regarding wage freeze discussions with members of the teacher’s union, you also can view the text at:

rethinking learning

“…teachers need to learn the way other professionals do—continually, collaboratively, and on the job.”
The challenge is, of course, that “continual, collaborative, on the job” learning isn’t very convenient for professional developers or for teachers in classrooms. It means re-thinking what learning looks like, and that’s a scary place still for most in education.
Read the full posting by Wil Richardson on his blog weblogg-ed

PS22 Chorus - "Eye of the Tiger"

Musical education is inspirational. I think you'll enjoy this less than 2 minute clip of a group from New York City.

Now I'll have the "Eye of the Tiger" running through my head all day!

Visit the PS22 Chorus blog here to read more about them.

Horace Mann, birthday - May 4, 1796

This day (May 4) is Horace Mann's birthday. Given the current discussion around education in his home town, it is appropriate to look at what Horace is known for. The wikipedia entry says:
Mann targeted the public school and its problems. The six main problems he targeted were: (1) the public should no longer remain ignorant and free, (2) that such education should be paid for, controlled, and sustained by an interested public; (3) that this education will be best provided in schools that embrace children of all diversities; (4) that this education must be non-sectarian; (5) that this education must be taught by the spirit, methods, and discipline of a free society; and (6) that education should be provided by well-trained, professional teachers. To sum it all up, Horace Mann worked effectively for more and better equipped school houses, longer school years (until 16 years old), higher pay for teachers, and a wider curriculum.
For the remainder of the entry on Horace Mann, born in Franklin, MA on May 4, in 1796 check out his wikipedia entry here.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dean College commencement set for May 9, street closings planned


Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:


via Wicked Local Franklin News RSS by GateHouse Media, Inc. on 5/3/09

Dean College's 143rd commencement exercises will take place Saturday, May 9, 11 a.m., at Grant Field, School Street. More than 300 graduates are Associate's degree and Bachelor's degree candidates.

Walter J. Handelsman, Class of 1977, delivers the Commencement Address. Handelsman is a Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist based at Newsday in Long Island.

During the  commencement procession from the Campus Center to Grant Field, the section of Main Street between School and Emmons Street will be closed to traffic from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. and 1:30 to 1:50 p.m.

In addition, School Street to Hillside Avenue will be closed from 10:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Emergency vehicles will be allowed access at all times.


Things you can do from here:


School Committee message to FEA

Jeff Roy, School Committee Chairman, addresses the FEA membership via this 2-part video message.

Part 1

Part 2:

My notes and analysis of the two sides in this discussion can be found here.