Pittsfield mayor encouraged by Baker efforts for cities and towns


PITTSFIELD >> Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi said he's encouraged by Gov. Charlie Baker's creation of a Community Compact Cabinet to work with leaders of Massachusetts cities and towns.

Baker announced last week that he wants "to elevate the administration's partnerships with cities and towns."

Chaired by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, he said the new Community Compact Cabinet "will allow the governor's office to work more closely with leaders" from Massachusetts communities.

"I think the lieutenant governor is going to be very active in this administration," Bianchi said.

Noting that both he and Polito have served in their towns as select board members, Baker said the initiative "gives cites and towns a real seat at the table in our administration."

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The governor also pledged "to protect local aid, funding for the homeless and the Department of Children and Families."

Bianchi, who met briefly with Polito during the annual Massachusetts Municipal Association meeting in Boston over the weekend, said he was pleased Baker seems determined "not to balance the [state] budget on the back of local aid" and "understands what we are up against."

Polito, in her role as liaison to communities and in leading the Community Compact Cabinet, is expected to begin a statewide tour to meet with local leaders.

Also included in the announcement, Baker said his executive order "empowers [Polito] to be a champion for municipal issues across state government;" restructures the Department of Revenue "to include a new senior commissioner for the Division of Local Services;" creates the Compact Cabinet that will "work to reduce red tape, promote best practices, and develop specific 'community compacts' with local governments," and create "clear, mutual standards, expectations and accountability for both the state and municipalities as we seek to create better government for our citizens."

Bianchi said he and other officials also met Saturday in Boston with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass., during a mayors' breakfast. He said Warren feels confident that, despite efforts from some conservatives in Congress to cut Community Development Block Grant funding to cities, the current level of allocation "won't be eroded" in the next federal budget.

Contact Jim Therrien at 413-496-6247.


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