Saturday, October 16, 2021

Finance Committee hears update from Human Resources, and ARPA funds

Quick Recap:
  • Senior tax abatement (work off) program update coming to Town Council session (Oct 20, 2021). Veterans update also scheduled for an increase.
  • Human Resources Director Karen Bratt provided an update on the hiring, background checks, negotiations, etc. that her office participates in. Approx. one third of Town employees have been replaced since 2018 as the generational turnover take place. 
  • The audio of this segment of the meeting will become a "must" listen as there are so many details on the cost drivers for the Town and School budgets. There is a separate School HR function but there is coordination between the two on health plans and negotiations.
  • Town Administrator Jamie Hellen provided and update on the current ARPA or COVID related Federal funding to date with an outlook on what is expected. These funds are limited in use and are spread over several years. Some of the reimbursements from FEMA (in particular) can really take time to be received.


As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session
The Twitter hashtag can be found online  #fincom1013 
Agenda document -


  • Getting ready to live tweet the Finance Committee meeting beginning at 6:30 PM today. Agenda and remote connection info here  #fincom1013
  • Meeting host will let you in soon. #fincom1013
  • It is nice to be in the room where a meeting happens, it is very convenient to be in the Zoom where it happens #fincom1013
  • 6 yes, no notices, on motion to approve Dowd as chair, Conley as Vice chair, and Nicole as clerk via roll call some absent #fincom1013 Abatement programs to be expanded for Town Council, wage to minimum, and total increase of amount veterans/disabled amounts ...
  • Details on the program expansions contained on the agenda doc shared earlier and again here #fincom1013
  • Jamie explains the details behind the proposal, limited by statue at minimum wage and $1500/year, hence amount is within the statue. #fincom1013 limit on number of people to participate in work off (100), veteran status is required.
  • Motion to recommend motions first on senior citizen piece then on veterans piece, both pass via 6-0 via roll call votes #fincom1013
  • Presentation by Karen Bratt on Human Resources for Town, screen grabs shared here (didn't find doc) #fincom1013
  • So many photos/pages will create album to share. Presentation done, now in the Q&A segment, good background info on GIC plan option for town but not used #fincom1013 some collaborative strategies are more work than worth it long term.
  • Interesting discussion on turnover and reasons for, some due to demographics (aging work population) #fincom1013 not many if any leaving for another town, one that did had recently come back. Less interest in filling OT hours and shifts than prior, work life balance
  • "can't believe you are still using paper employee files" we will see it later, working to get a grant to help fund it. #fincom1013 Harvard Pilgrim did a 'rebate' but it wasn't much and took time to process. Talk of issues hiring, in some spots like those with CDL license
  • Did get confirmation that the pres doc will be posted to the HR page #fincom1013 policy procedures manual online as well as collective bargaining agreements
  • Next up an update from Jamie on ARPA funds overview (preview of what Town Council will see next week) Alicia has been the master tracking these details, coordination of reporting, etc. Kudos to her for this work! #fincom1013
  • Pres doc will be posted to this page #fincom1013
  • School funds separate from Town funds #fincom1013 multiple pages in this update also, also to be posted to budget page. These funds are separate from town ops and capital budgeting. They can help fulfill requirements that would be funded by ops or capital funds
  • Next up - future topics; contracts and grants can we get a view of these; MassWorks grant of $2.2m can distort analysis. What are you getting at? Maybe better to go at this by Dept. rather than overall. #fincom1013
  • Budget overview and CPC update schedule for the meeting 11/10 #fincom1013 meeting adjourns

Audio recording of meeting to be available in couple of days

Finance Committee hears update from Human Resources, and ARPA funds
Finance Committee hears update from Human Resources, and ARPA funds

014 - Frank Presents - Meghan Whitmore (audio)

In this episode, Frank Falvey sits down with Meghan Whitmore, candidate for the Franklin School Committee, to talk about her background, why she's running and the changes she'd like to see come to the Franklin schools.

Audio file ->


014 - Frank Presents - Meghan Whitmore (audio)
014 - Frank Presents - Meghan Whitmore (audio)

013 - Frank Presents - Camille Bernstein (audio)

In this episode, Frank Falvey sits down with Camille Bernstein, a candidate for Franklin School Committee, to discuss her background, why she's running,  and the changes she'd like to see come to the Franklin schools.

Audio file =>

013 - Frank Presents - Camille Bernstein (audio)
013 - Frank Presents - Camille Bernstein (audio)

Town Council Candidate Patrick Sheridan - 10/11/21 (audio)

FM #634 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 634 in the series. 

This session shares my conversation with candidate for Town Council Patrick Sheridan  

This is one of a series of conversations with candidates for the Franklin Election on Nov 2, 2021. I do this to provide Franklin, MA voters with accurate and timely information that they can use to cast an informed vote.  Publication of the answers or interview responses does not constitute an endorsement of this or any candidate.

We cover the candidate questions as previously developed in conjunction with the community and shared with the candidates in advance. Five of the questions are ‘general’ in nature, the sixth is specific to the role of the candidate. In this case, for the Town Council

Our conversation runs about 9 minutes, so let’s listen to my interview with Patrick Sheridan. 

** Audio file ->


Candidate questions -> 

Candidate page ->  

Election Collection 2021 -> 


We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio ( or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial. 

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.


How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors

  • If you don't like something here, please let me know

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.


For additional information, please visit  or 

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

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!


You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"


Town Council Candidate Patrick Sheridan
Town Council Candidate Patrick Sheridan

Franklin Public School District: Newsletter for October 2021

Franklin Public Schools
District Newsletter
October 2021
Back to School
Welcome back! We are excited to have our students engaged in full-time and in-person instruction. Additionally, our teachers have continued to engage in their professional development opportunities and are enjoying connecting with their students. Our Back to School Health and Safety Plan has been essential in ensuring our faculty and staff are able to prioritize student safety and learning.

Franklin Middle Schools Announces Virtual Visiting Author Aisha Saeed
Aisha Saeed is a New York Times Best selling author. Her heritage and experience as a second grade teacher help inform her approach to writing. Growing up, Aisha hardly encountered literature that represented different cultures. As an author, Aisha utilizes our human connection to take her readers on an informative and culturally diverse journey. Ms. Saeed's work also allows a window into experiences our students may not otherwise encounter.

"As a child, I never saw books featuring children who looked like me as the heroes of their own stories, and it is a moving experience now to have the opportunity to give children the opportunity to see themselves in print." - Aisha Saeed

Pick up one of Aisha's books and start prepping for her visit today!
Oct. 29 - Stop Drop and Read Day
Oct. 29-30 - Book Fair at Barnes and Noble Bellingham
Virtual Visits
Nov.16 - HMMS Visit
Nov.17 ASMS Visit & Evening Family Event
Nov.18 RMS Visit
Food Services and Supply Chain Acknowledgement
Due to disruptions in the supply chain, Franklin's school nutrition program, like many programs across the state and the nation, are struggling to secure all food and supply items. This is due to product shortages, discontinued items, price increases, distributor cancellations, delayed or cancelled deliveries, and staffing shortages.

Our Food Services Department is working very hard to ensure healthy, nutritious, and appealing free school meals are served every school day and they are making adjustments as needed. We appreciate everyone's flexibility and understanding.
The Franklin High School Theatre Company presents
Friday, November 12th @ 7pm
Saturday, November 13th @ 2pm and 7pm

$10 for Student/Staff of FPS (shown with valid FPS ID)
$15 for Adults
When Worlds Collide: Panther Football Coach recognized by New England Patriots
Congratulations to FHS Football Coach Bain on being named New England Patriots High School Coach of the Week. Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett met with the team and presented a $1,000 donation from the Patriots Foundation to use towards their football program. Check out their segment on Patriots All Access!

We're looking forward to a great school year with our FPS Families, Faculty, Staff and the entire Franklin Community!
Franklin Public Schools

Franklin Public Schools | 355 East Central Street, Franklin, MA 02038

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Franklin Food Pantry: Time for a nibble!

Meet Marsha
We are excited to welcome Marsha Tait as our new Fund Development Director! Marsha comes to us with extensive fund development experience including most recently serving as Executive Director of LITERACYCNY, a community-based adult literacy organization in Central New York that provides instructional services to adults with limited English proficiency and literacy skills. Marsha has over 26 years of experience as a nonprofit executive in staff and Board positions with local, state and national organizations. In 2018, the CNY Business Journal News Network named her the Nonprofit Executive of the Year.

We sat down with Marsha to get to know her better and learn more about her plans for The Pantry!

Why did you join the Franklin Food Pantry?
When I moved to Franklin in November 2020, it was during the height of the Pandemic. I spent a lot of time sitting in a chair and looking out the window and wondering what was next for me. In February, I started to do some networking and Greg Safford of Safford Insurance suggested I talk to the Downtown Partnership and Tina Powderly (Executive Director of the Franklin Food Pantry.) Tina asked me to join the Food Pantry's Fund Development Committee. I also volunteer for the Franklin Nonprofit Network and found my way to the steering committee. When the Food Pantry's Fund Development Director position became available, Tina reached out to me to see if I was interested. I was!

For me raising funds to help fight food insecurity is a good evolution from my work in adult literacy. Before someone can learn to read, they need to have their basic needs covered... stable food, clothing, and a place to live.  It's interesting to learn about such an important human service field while using the skills I developed in my previous positions. 

What do you hope to accomplish?
I hope to lend my skills and experiences to help the Food Pantry during this period of growth and transition. I'm very excited about the capital campaign and about the process of selecting a new building: managing the campaign, and raising the money for the next chapter. Why, that's just fun!!  

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I moved to Franklin to be closer to my family. We are enjoying all the fall activities like apple picking and decorating with pumpkins. I love spending time with my two-year old grand-daughter and I have discovered a latent talent for toddler arts and crafts!  I also have a Cavachon named Lily Bean who was my constant companion during the pandemic and we all enjoy spending time with her. When I'm not with my family, I am an avid reader of fiction.  I LOVE Halloween and favorite past costumes include literary characters like Professor McGonagall and Cruella Deville.

What do you like about Franklin so far?
I enjoyed going to the Farmers Market this summer and the Harvest Fair. Every person I have met or encountered as been very warm and friendly!
Photos: Charlie Marie with Lily Bean
Courtney Shimer, Marsha, Charlie and Todd Shanks at the Big Apple
Want to help support the Pantry? Please don't hesitate to reach out to Marsha!
Franklin Food Pantry | 43 WEST CENTRAL STREET, Franklin, MA 02038

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