Showing posts with label process. Show all posts
Showing posts with label process. Show all posts

Monday, October 17, 2022

The Guardian: "how ultra-processed meals are unhealthier than you think"

"As the UK is estimated to draw more than 50% of its calorie intake from UPF, this is no passing health scare but an issue that goes to the very heart of our culinary lifestyle. But before looking deeper into the issue there is an obvious question: what is a UPF?

NOVA (not an acronym) is a widely used food classification system that separates foods into four categories based upon their level of processing. Almost all foods, aside from fresh fruit and raw vegetables, undergo some degree of process. Cooking is a process, and it usually involves added ingredients such as oil and salt.

In NOVA’s first category, Group 1 is unprocessed or minimally processed foods (fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs, milk). Group 2 is made up of processed culinary ingredients such as sugars, oils and butter. Group 3 is processed foods (canned vegetables and fish, bread, jam). Group 4 is ultra-high processed foods, which are mostly low in protein and fibre, and high in salt, sugar and fat, and have undergone industrial interventions such as extrusion, moulding and milling."
Continue reading The Guardian article online (subscription may be required)
The Guardian: "how ultra-processed meals are unhealthier than you think"
The Guardian: "how ultra-processed meals are unhealthier than you think"

Sunday, September 18, 2022

The Economist reads | The hunt for votes

Earlier this month (Sep 4, 2022), The Economist published an article on the 5 best books about Presidential elections. The choices were recommended by their former Washington correspondent. Oddly, the identity of the correspondent is not revealed. The author of the article is not identified. Aside from that matter, the listing of the books chosen is well explained.

The books are:

  1. A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America’s First Presidential Campaign. By Edward Larson
  2. The Making of the President: 1960, by T.H. White
  3. Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail. By Hunter S. Thompson
  4. What It Takes. By Richard Ben Cramer
  5. Losers: The Road to Everyplace but the White House. By Michael Lewis

With the presidential election coming in 2024, this might be good preparation.

What book (or books) have you read on presidential elections, or elections in general, that you would recommend? Send me an email, or add your book via comment.

The Economist article can be found -> (subscription required, but it is free via email to the online version. You'll get notifications and offers to subscribe to the print version.)

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Town of Franklin voting machines pass processing test on Wednesday

"An election ritual in Franklin and other communities that use automated ballot tabulating machines, is bringing them "out of the closet" and testing them to make sure they process ballots properly.

That was the task in mind when Town Clerk Nancy Danello and a team of helpers set up the machines in the Council Chamber of the municipal building on Wednesday morning and commenced to run batches of Republican and Democrat primary ballots through them. The activity, open to the public, attracted a handful of spectators -- some with questions about the process and about voting security in general."
Continue reading the article at the Franklin Observer

In advance of the State Primary, Sep 6, 2022 (early voting opens Aug 27, 2022), I had two conversations with Town Clerk Nancy Danello to talk about the preparations for the Primary as well as the overall election process

Town of Franklin voting machines pass processing test on Wednesday
Town of Franklin voting machines pass processing test on Wednesday (Franklin Observer photo)

Monday, August 22, 2022

Inside the Town of Franklin Budget Cycle & Financial Terms (audio)

This shares my conversation with Town of Franklin Finance Director/Comptroller Chris Sandini and Treasurer/Collector Kerri Bertone. We had this conversation in the Franklin studio on Thursday, April 14, 2022.  

We cover the following key topics

A typical day for Finance Director/Comptroller

A typical day for Treasurer//Collector

The budget cycle, and fiscal year (July to June)

Three financial years; past, current, and future all in the mix

Our conversation runs about 62 minutes. Links to the documents referenced during this meeting are included in the show notes.  Let’s listen to this recording of my conversation with Kerri and Chris. 

Audio file ->

Note: the one change since we recorded this, the Town did achieve the AAA bond rating we talked of some day getting in this session. The Town was notified one month later.


Town of Franklin budget page -> 

Budget process flow chart -> 

MA Division of Local Services (DLS) Municipal Finance Glossary -> 


Town of Franklin budget cycle
Town of Franklin budget cycle

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Recap: Community Preservation Committee opens first hearing how CPA funds should be used (audio)

Quick Recap:
  • First of two public hearings opened Tuesday, Jan 4, 2022. Residents made several suggestions for use of the CPA money to be available later this year. The second hearing is scheduled for Jan 18.
  • This is the first time the Town of Franklin is doing this process but it seems will be great opportunity for residents to get into the discussion on prioritization of what money goes where for which items; open space (i.e. Maple Hill - done), recreation (more pickleball courts were top item at hearing), preservation (Museum or Red Brick School previously mentioned as possible), or housing (needs for more housing and more affordable previously raised).
  • Town Administrator Jamie Hellen cautioned that the projects will need to layout to allow for Town personnel to handle them, they all can't be done at once. Part of the prioritization will be which project to be set, in which area of Town, and for which need to ensure some equitable distribution. An example, don't add more pickleball courts to King St as that would be the only location, spread them out around Town.

As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter while I attended the meeting via the Zoom conference bridge. 
The Twitter hashtag #cpc0104 can be found online. The thread begins with 

  • Getting ready for the first of two public hearings to start development of the Community Preservation Committee project list, some of which could be funded when the CPA funds become available in 4Q 2022. #cpc0104 agenda doc ->
  • First hearing begins at 7 PM tonight, second same time on Jan 18. #cpc0104 audio recording of overview of committee work with three members here
  • Meeting broadcast available in multiple ways; 1- cable via local Comcast or Verizon govt channel, 2- Zoom (info in agenda doc) or 3- live stream via Franklin TV… #cpc0104
  • Chair Feeley opens meeting; TA Hellen provides overview of meeting tonight, format and background on process as this is the first time through the CPA timeline. #cpc0104
  • M Ryan resident proposing additional three pickleball courts, with lights, potentially at King St where others are already today. #cpc0104 allows for play across all age levels, all you need it court, ball and paddle. Fastest growing sport in America. 16 communities used …
  • CPA funds for courts thus far. Can't always get a spot in Franklin, waiting list for clinics and leagues here, lights enable expansion of playing hours. Randolph spent $51K in 2019 for three courts, may be a worthy estimate. #cpc0104
  • B Kelso, resident wants to support pickleball court idea. A Earls advocating for the federal lands along Mine Brook, between Pond St and i495; also abuts Maplegate. R Trahan, regarding the SNETT trail and improvements needed on Franklin side.#cpc0104
  • TA Hellen adds that lighting at King St is possible. Question would be where at King St. #cpc0104 Rec Director R Jette adds a reservation system is available. Costs have gone up, since this was done, other things are on the capital plan.
  • A caution on not all can be done at once, projects would need to be laid out so the staff could do them without contention, next meeting Jan 18; motion to adjourn, seconded, passes via aye vote (not roll call with 2 members on remote - oops) #cpc0104 
Listen to the meeting recording ->

Town of Franklin, MA: Community Preservation Committee - Jan 4, 2022
Town of Franklin, MA: Community Preservation Committee - Jan 4, 2022

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Finance Committee Meeting - Agenda - Dec 8, 2021

Finance Committee Meeting on December 8, 2021

1. Call to Order
2. Public Comments
3. Approval of Minutes:
a. October 13, 2021
b. November 10, 2021
4. 2022 Finance Committee Calendar
5. Community Preservation Act
a. Sample CPA Plans
b. Sample CPA Applications
6. Open Meeting Law discussion
7. Future Agenda Items
8. Adjourn

Please find the agenda and links for the upcoming Finance Committee meeting posted here:

Agenda doc (PDF) (including remote connection info) ->

Finance Committee Meeting - Agenda - Dec 8, 2021
Finance Committee Meeting - Agenda - Dec 8, 2021

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Community Preservation Committee Meeting - Agenda - Oct 5, 2021

Community Preservation Committee Meeting
Agenda & Meeting Packet
October 5, 2021 - 7:00 PM

Meeting will be held at the Municipal Building
2nd Floor, Council Chambers 355 East Central Street


1. Approval of Minutes for 9/21/21, 9/29/21 and 10/1/21.
2. Discussion on the following topics:
a. Schedule required public hearings
b. Development of the required Community Preservation Act Plan
c. Discussion on process, timeline and forms to solicit public input. 


cupola at the Franklin Historical Museum, a possible future project for CPC funds
cupola at the Franklin Historical Museum, a possible future project for CPC funds

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Franklin TV: Scope - This is huge!

by Pete Fasciano, Executive Director 03/14/2021

While recording a recent session of our weekly radio program ‘More Perfect Union’ I noted a reaction from our roundtable panelists to my somewhat casual comment. We were discussing the nettlesome issues around the vaccine rollout. I was not criticizing either Charlie Baker or Joe Biden.  I was addressing the unprecedented enormous challenges they are facing.

The key word to keep in mind: unprecedented.

The challenges of the pandemic are indeed unprecedented in scope.

When scrambling to address today’s emergency today, it’s almost impossible to fully anticipate the downstream emergent needs of tomorrow.  “Warp Speed” was a simplistic response – throw some money at the private sector and hope. The science came through, but it wasn’t backed with a forward plan for the follow-on logistics.


Administering the three vaccines will require ≈450MM (million) doses to ≈300MM willing Americans.  (Yes, I’m more than willing.)  At 5 minutes per, that’s ≈37.5MM person/hours or ≈4.7MM 8-hour days.  That means between now and mid-June we need at least ≈52 thousand trained personnel working 7 days/week. No slack time.

A best-case working assumption – 15 workers per site.  (Clearly not the case.)  This means that vaccines must be distributed timely as needed to ≈4K sites. Logistics. Considering small sites with 1 or more workers – it’s more like ≈20 thousand sites? That’s how Biden’s team estimated a need for 20K pharmacies and health centers. The President’s team clearly understands logistics, science and math.

Joe also recently arranged to stockpile vaccine for all Americans who want it by the  end-of  May.   Now  the  challenge  is  getting  that  vaccine  into  arms. They  are ramping up and organizing that Herculean effort as quickly as possible. The challenge? Create a temporary national organization having 50 thousand trained staff. All hands on deck who can vaccinate – from dentists to optometrists; from EMT’s to midwives; from veterans to veterinarians.

SoW – The Scope-of-Work: The pandemic – It’s big. It’s complex. It’s also unstable. We’re asking the Biden administration to work a miracle. He promised 100 million doses in arms in 100 days. A reasonable goal, It got done by day 60. Recall that when Joe took office, he asked us all to mask up for 100 days. A reasonable request. Are we all doing our part?

During our radio session I quipped –  Good,  Fast.  Cheap.  Pick two.

You want Good & Fast? It won’t be Cheap. 
You want Fast & Cheap? It won’t be Good. 
You want Good & Cheap? It won’t be Fast.

A corollary observation about shaping the scope of any endeavor. When it’s all over you’ll get to explain one thing:

High Expense Why it costs so much.
Poor Quality Why it works so bad.   (-and/or looks so ugly.) 
Late Timing Why it’s not done yet.

The first is often the easiest to explain. We are attempting to accelerate the pace, to literally buy time. In this case, time is not only money; it’s also lives. We are in an urgent fight to save lots of lives. We’re scrambling to save our national economy and personal livelihoods. Time is not on our side, yet we have no other choice but to fight the good fight. Time is a terrible taskmaster. We the electorate also can be terrible taskmasters, seeking affordable, instant perfection from political leaders.

The  total  $6,000,000,000,000.00  (trillion) government  bailout  cost  will  average $1,700.00 in annualized per capita cost for every single American over the next decade. That’s $7,000.00/year for a family of four. Scope.

Consider these numbers as well:

Total Value of U.S. Homes: $130,000,000,000,000.00 
Annual U.S. Domestic Product: $21,000,000,000,000.00
The Federal Government runs on $3,360,000,000,000.00 (16% of GDP.)

The Feds spent almost 2X their annual budget trying to save us. That’s – um, a lot? More specifically, it raises the total projected Fed budget to 19% GDP for a decade. Now, to be perfectly unclear, if all the economists were laid out end-to-end, they wouldn’t reach a conclusion.  ( – unknown)  Economics is known as the dismal science, and I’m pretty dismal at it. Thus, I can’t opine as to how our national economy will absorb the cost and continue to grow. However, that too, is actually possible.

Hopefully, it will grant us all brighter days ahead.

But, for now – the cost of salvation is dear, non-negotiable, but absolutely necessary. 

And – as always –
Thank you for listening to wfpr●fm. 
And, thank you for watching.

Listen to "Toward A More Perfect Unionon Monday’s at 11 AM, 2 PM and 8 PM at or 102.9 on the local area dial.

Get this week's program guide for Franklin TV and Franklin Public Radio ( online

Coincidently, for confirmation on this line of thought, The Hill summarizes "The Five Things That Must Be Done to Get People Vaccinated"

Franklin TV:  Scope - This is huge!
Franklin TV:  Scope - This is huge!

FM #490 - Finance Committee Meeting - 03/10/21 - P3 of 3 - FY22 revenue estimates (audio)

FM #490 = Welcome. This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 490 in the series. 

This session shares part 3 of the Franklin, MA Finance Committee meeting held on Wednesday, Mar 10, 2021. 

The meeting was conducted in a hybrid format: the Finance Committee members, Town Administrator and key personnel, were in the Council Chambers; the remainder, along with the public, were remote via conference bridge, all to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

I’ve split the just almost three hour meeting into three logical segments:
  • First - covers the capital budget discussion and vote to approve (approx. 75 minutes)
  • Second covers the public safety presentations and discussion; the MECC, Fire Dept. and Police Dept. (approx. 67 mins)
  • *** Third *** and last but not least a look at the estimate for revenues for the FY 2022 budget. More to come on this as the budget cycle begins in earnest now meeting (approx. 30 minutes)

The show notes contain links to the meeting agenda and to my notes. 

Let’s listen to this segment of the Finance Committee meeting of Mar 10, 2021

Audio file =


Agenda doc

My notes from the meeting 

We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (

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 Administrator Jamie Hellen explaining the revenue estimates as we start the budget cycle for FY 22
Town Administrator Jamie Hellen explaining the revenue estimates as we start the budget cycle for FY 22

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Town of Franklin: Online Payments, Permits and Licensing Center

Town of Franklin Online Payments, Permits, and Licensing Center

The Town of Franklin website is a great resource for information and can save you time and a trip! Click on the "Payments & Permits" icon on our homepage to find links to our online payment portal, our online licensing center, forms, documents and more.

Or go directly ->

Town of Franklin: Online Payments, Permits and Licensing Center
Town of Franklin: Online Payments, Permits and Licensing Center

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Review of Town Council Procedures - Apr 18 - 6:00 PM

The Town Council subcommittee looking to update the procedures that govern a Town Council meeting are scheduled to meet Wednesday, April 18 at 6:00 PM

The current procedure document marked up with the proposed changes can be found online and copied here for convenience


Review of Town Council Procedures - Apr 18 - 6:00 PM
Review of Town Council Procedures - Apr 18 - 6:00 PM

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Attention Franklin Residents: Unclaimed Checks

The Treasurer/Collector has posted over 60 outstanding checks amounting to over $22,000 to the Town of Franklin webpage. If you are on the listing, you can contact the Treasurer/Collectors office to begin the process of obtaining the funds.

Treasurer/Collector webpage

Outstanding Funds Process  (also copied below)

Did you know there are six ways to pay bills?
Did you know there are six ways to pay bills?

You can also find the listing on the Town of Franklin webpage

MASS GENERAL LAW CHAPTER 200A SECTION 5: Subject to the provision of section one A, all intangible personal property not otherwise presumed to have been abandoned under any other section of this chapter, including but not limited to all certificates of ownership, dividends, stocks, bonds, money, drafts and claims for money and credit …. shall be presumed abandoned unless claimed by the beneficiary or person entitled thereto within three years after the date prescribed for payment or delivery.

CHAPTER 200A SECTION 9A: On or before November first of each year the treasurer of any city or town holding checks issued by said city or town which have not been cashed and which are deemed abandoned under section five may issue a written determination that it is in the best interest of said city or town to follow the procedures set out in this section.

Checks issued by the Town of Franklin that remain un-cashed are subject to the following actions:

  1. Letters are sent to payee's of un-cashed checks along with an acknowledgement form for claiming the funds.
  2. For checks over $100.00 an advertisement is placed in the local newspaper.
  3. An un-claimed check list is posted on the web-site. 


1. What if my name appears on the list, how do I claim my money?
Please contact the Treasurer’s Office

2. What happens if no one claims a check?
Checks that remain unclaimed after all the necessary steps have been taken are returned to the town's general fund.

3. I received notice of an un-cashed check, what is it for?
Checks issued from the Town of Franklin could be refunds of overpayments of taxes, payment of an invoice or payroll checks. You should contact the Treasurer’s office at 508-520-4950 for more information.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The new Town Council packet to study

At the beginning of each new term for the Town Council, Town Administrator Jeff Nutting provides the councilors with a packet of information. You can read along too!

Town Council getting sworn in by Town Clerk Debbie Pellegri
Town Council getting sworn in by Town Clerk Debbie Pellegri

1 - Town of Franklin - Home Rule Charter

The preamble to the Charter:
"We, the people of the Town of Franklin, Massachusetts, in order to form a more perfect community, reaffirm the customary and traditional liberties of the people with respect to the conduct of our local government and take fullest advantage of the Home Rule Amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth, do ordain and adopt this Home Rule Charter for our Town."

2 - Role of the Town Council

The first section reads as follows:
1. A member of the Council, in relation to his/her community should:
A. Realize that his/her basic function is to make policy, with administration delegated to the Administrator.
B. Realize that he/she is one of a team and should abide by, and carry out, all Council decisions once they are made.
C. Be well-informed concerning the duties of a Council member on both local and state levels.
D. Remember that he/she represents the entire community at all times.
E. Accept the office as a means of unselfish service, not benefit personally or politically from his/her Council activities.
F. In all appointments, avoid political patronage by judging all candidates on merit, experience, and qualifications only.
G. Abide by the ethics established by the State and not use the position to obtain inside information on matters which may benefit someone personally.

3 - Fiscal Policies

Note: the fiscal policy document handed out on Wednesday is a proposed update to the document currently approved by the Town Council and linked to above.

4 - Fiscal 2016 Budget

The Fiscal budget is really a set of documents with the Budget Letter by Town Administrator Jeff Nutting summarizing the revenue and expense driving factors.

Additional information on the Town Council can be found on the Franklin website here

Monday, August 2, 2010

Franklin, MA: Town Council - procedures manual

Continuing to find some interesting summer reading, let's get into the Town Council procedures manual. It is posted on the Town website here (PDF):

and can be viewed here:


Sunday, June 13, 2010

What small change can be made

What small change be made such that is has a great impact?

(Aside from getting folks to deal with accurate information rather than hearsay and misinformation.)

Interesting perspective posed here in this TED Talk from London:

I have advertised myself as Community Information Director, maybe I should consider shifting to Chief Detail Officer? This is a volunteer position in either case, unfortunately Franklin's budget problems couldn't support the role.

What do you propose?

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters to view the video

Franklin, MA

Friday, March 19, 2010

Charter revisions - lessons learned

We seem to be close enough to finding out what the final charter revisions will look like to reflect on what we can and should learn from this process to improve it for next time. I won't get into the nature of the changes themselves but stick to the process as observed over the past couple of years.

1 - Situation: Not everyone knows of the two methods to change the charter.

One method is with a elected Charter Commission and one is with a citizens committee appointed by the Town Council. 

Both groups effectively do a study, solicit opinions, do some fact finding, and make a recommendation on what should be changed.
The prior charter changes were performed under the elected Charter Commission process. Hence, a number of folks remember this as "the way it was done last time."
The current charter revisions were made under the appointed citizens committee process and complicated by the Town Council using a subcommittee of members to fine tune the results. 

In both cases, the voters of Franklin have the final say.
Is either process better than the other? There are pros and cons to each.
The major similarities are a group does a study, makes some recommendations, and bottom line the voters still have to accept the changes by voting in a general election.

Lesson Learned: In the beginning, the Town Administrator/Town Council should make a clear explanation of the process chosen and why, and provide periodic reminders on what is being done and why. Or at least ensure that the committee (or committees) involved have a detailed communication plan as part of their objectives.

2 - Situation: Different level of understanding of what was done and being done in the committee and subcommittee work process.

Given the length of time taken by the first committee and lack of periodic updates back to the Town Council to ensure that all were kept abreast of what was going on. The folks coming recently to the issue were unaware of all that had gone before. There was a stack of documents, meeting notes, research, etc. produced or obtained by the Citizens committee. The final report of recommendations from the citizens committee could have done more to bring the level of effort to the table.

The second subcommittee also could have done better with their report. Given that the first had produced such output, they chose not to go that route and should have more clearly stated their rationale for doing so in their recommendation drafts.
Lesson Learned: The detailed communication plan (referenced above) should address this.

3 - Situation: The level of detail in the report needs to be understandable by the average citizen. 

For example, the technical changes need to be spelled out why they are "technical" so that the common folk can understand. Those heavily involved in the day to day operations already know, as this is what they are dealing with, while the rest of us have no clue. It does come down to determining whose line of argument we agree with. One where we can see and fully understand the logic or one where the money line sounds great but in reality means nothing. Emotions need to be kept of out business discussions. They only create problems by clouding or distracting from the issue at hand. 

Lesson Learned:  The detailed communication plan (referenced above) should address this in two ways; one by making periodic updates and two by addressing the level of detail in the final report itself.

4 - Situation: The Citizens Committee and the Council subcommittee addressed different items. 

The citizens committee did acknowledge that technical changes were needed to be made but left that work for someone else to do. The subcommittee did get into those details. The recommendations on the Town Clerk and Treasurer/Collector were heavily debated within the Citizens committee and also within the subcommittee. The subcommittee added the Board of Assessors, Board of Health and constables into the mix where the prior committee left them alone. There should have been a better explanation of what each did and why.

Lesson Learned:  The scope and objectives of the committee should be clear to the committee and to everyone else as to what they should be addressing and why. If there are changes to the scope, the change should be acknowledged in one of the periodic reviews and either approved as an accepted change or not.

5 - Situation:
 The final report discussion ended up being this convoluted mess, with emotions and sides drawn, arguments made by tossing about sound bites without substance. It becomes really hard to make sense of the issue because of the claim that 'voters are being left out'. Wrong! As mentioned above, when all is said and done, whatever the recommendations turn out to be, the voters will get their say at the ballot box.

Lesson Learned: With a better starting point, a clear explanation of the process chosen and why, periodic updates on what is being done and why, scope changes reviewed and approved or denied before the final report, the final report should have a better reception enabling a fair and open discussion on its details. 

Franklin, MA

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

live update - superintendent review process

Cafasso - like last year's overall process, just would like them sooner

Ogden - would also like them sooner than January as last year.

consensus to proceed