- Consolidate duplicate municipal and school departments.
We have two Building Maintenance Depts, two IT depts,
two HR departments, two financial departments, etc.
It is time we put an end to this ridiculous turf war.
Corporate mergers require the consolidation of different
corporate cultures all the time - there is no reason why
Framingham can not do the same. If we consider another
bailout for the schools there should be a written agreement
between both the municipal and school sides that may
actually do something regarding this.
- Consider "regional" school choice. If we still need
school choice for the racial balancing act, why not at
least regionalize sections of the town? Say you assign
3 schools to a certain area of the town, this would still
allow for rebalancing but increases the possibility of
children attending schools near their homes as well as
the added benefit of reduced busing.
- Require reasonable Return on Investment on projects whenever
possible. For instance, this year the DPW has proposed
an almost 2.5 million dollar automated water meter reading
system capital project, however there are no plans to take
the meter readers off the payroll. You should advise
your Town Meeting Members to vote this down unless the DPW
comes up with a decent ROI model.
- Get the negotiation of the health benefits back into
the regular employee negotiations. At this point,
it is probably safe to say that both the town and the
employees have both profited at one time from the
arrangement. But now it is clearly lopsided.
If the situation was reversed and the employees were really
taking a beating then they could just quit, unfortunately
the town doesn't have such an easy solution.
If the unions will not come back to the table and allow for
a reasonable negotiation of all benefits together, then
Town Meeting needs to push the issue once and for all and
no longer fund any raises. Does your employer allow you
two bites at the apple in terms of salaries and benefits?
If Town Meeting can muster the brass to do this - it will
need the support of the town.
- Reevaluate unfilled positions. When a position doesn't
get filled, departments have to become more creative at
getting the work done. Some things get reprioritized,
others get dropped on the floor. You may find that
you really needed only some percentage of that position and
you can decide if we are better off eliminating the position
entirely or upgrading certain positions to handle specific
tasks of the eliminated position.
- Look at increase funding to the IT department.
The IT department is probably the one department that has
the ability to decrease costs and improve efficiency across
the board using technology. The BOS/administration
should be making it a mandatory policy that all departments
look at ways at using technology to decrease costs.
- Implement some type of "reward" system which rewards
departments for not spending down all of their accounts
prior to the end of the fiscal year. If its not
their money, what incentive do employees have to save
it? Give them a cut of what is saved and now it
becomes "their" money. Obviously requires controls
to prohibit gaming the system, but now gives employees
real incentives to think outside the box and save.
- Make recycling mandatory. If you have more than
one barrel of trash out - it won't be picked up unless
a recycling receptacle is also with it.
- Continue chasing down whether Natick sewer customers
(and possibly Southboro?) owe us millions in
unbilled/underbilled accounts. These monies could
possibly be returned to the General Fund.
- Determine if there are other ways to more accurately
appraise autos for excise tax. It seems ridiculous
that a 5 year old car that has a book value of twice that
of a 10 year old car can pay less excise tax.
- Do not allow departments to use the salaries from unfilled
positions to pay for other department items. If
the position was unfilled, then the salaries go back into
the pot for priority disbursement.
- Deputize (or whatever mechanism is required) more vehicle
violation ticketers. There is a small fortune to be
made just from the fire lane of the Old Conn Path
Stop & Shop!
- Install remote cameras to capture and help prosecute illegal
dumping around town. The gate at the compost dump
would be an example of a place to keep an eye on.
- Start looking under every rock for money. For example,
it is still unknown whether Framingham was paid for
inspecting Natick's vehicles. Are there other things
the Town has done that we may not have been paid for?
- Implement or increase usage of (if it already exists)
neighborhood watch groups. Crime continues to be
a black mark on our town's reputation which is probably
having an impact on the town attracting new business.
Getting extra sets of eyes out driving around town reporting
in suspicious/illegal activity could increase police
- Is it really necessary for the fire department to be
rolling out probably our most expensive vehicles every time
there is an ambulance call? I understand for
cases where it is an unknown situation and so its necessary
to go out loaded for bear. But surely there must
be times when it is a controlled situation and an
ambulance is all that is required.
- At one point I thought it was mentioned at a BOS meeting
that the Town waited for up to 2 years before taking serious
action (more than just charging interest) against someone
not paying their taxes. If this practice is still
in place, why so long a wait?
- We need to demand more accountability for expenditures.
For example, there have been supposedly 4 studies done on
the Memorial Building/Town Hall. Although I have not
read them, some have been summarized as Taj Mahal style
studies versus what is a cost efficient and reasonable
way to house our administrative offices. Who was
responsible for letting these studies (I'm assuming all
paid for) go off track?
- Determine if a self service copy machine is cost efficient in
the Clerk's office. Having an employee photocopying
pages for documents that a person already has manual
access to seems like a waste of the employee's time.
- Push for more PILOT money - but instead of just asking
for money back - back it up with data. For example,
if the police department is frequenting a particular address
figure out how many police man-hours are being spent
at that location and show them "the bill".