8/14/2019 0 Comments
The MBTA is one of the lifelines of our city; when it doesn’t work, our city doesn’t work. The recent derailments and technical difficulties served as a painful reminder of that. Our residents’ ability to go to work, school, doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, and to simply navigate their own neighborhoods relies on a functioning, efficient and reliable public transit network. These base standards have not been met by the MBTA, and this fare hike creates an additional access barrier for commuters.
Boston contributes $85.8 million to the local assessment revenues of the MBTA — more than half of the total local assessment revenues collected annually. Despite the city’s hefty financial investment in the MBTA, we have no vote on the MBTA budget and no representation on the Fiscal and Management Control Board.
Restoring Boston’s role in the decision-making processes of the MBTA is an essential step to fixing the issues that have plagued the system for decades. It is incumbent upon the MBTA to give Boston’s residents a voice in the ongoing conversation about how to fix our ailing public transportation system. Boston's residents and taxpayers deserve it.
With the City budget expected to pass at this week’s City Council meeting, Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn and Boston City Councilor At-Large Michael Flaherty are providing an update on the FY20 city budget on projects and investments that will impact South Boston. Over the past several months, the City Council and Mayor Walsh’s Administration have worked on crafting a budget that will allow the city to provide quality city services to our residents, as well as making significant investments that will enhance our streets, parks, environment, and overall quality of life. In South Boston, the budget will allow for investment in major community spaces and parks such as the Curley Community Center (L St Bathhouse), Moakley Park, Medal of Honor Park, Flaherty Park, Orton Field, and the South Boston Branch Library, as well as climate resiliency measures and public works projects in Fort Point.
Below is a list of capital projects for FY 2020-2024 in South Boston:
“I’d like to thank all of the residents, activists, and civic groups for their feedback in this year’s budget process,” said Councilor Flynn. “Thank you also to Mayor Walsh and his team for investing in the people of South Boston with significant funding for our parks, community centers, and our library, as well as climate resiliency measures and major public works projects. This funding will improve the quality of life for our residents, families, seniors, and persons with disabilities.”
“Every budget cycle allows the Boston City Council and our constituents to look back at how we invest in our services and resources for the City of Boston. Further, we also have another opportunity to look at where we can do better," said Flaherty. "This budget season is no exception - through funding our public resources, such as necessary improvements to our local library, infrastructure additions and installations to our neighborhood parks, Mayor Walsh and his administration continue to show commitment to the people of South Boston and its development through significant investments. Councilor Flynn and I will continue to work together to advocate for the betterment of the neighborhood.”
For more information, please contact Councilor Flynn’s office at 617-635-3203 or Ed.Flynn@boston.gov or Councilor Flaherty at 617-635-4205 or Michael.Flaherty@boston.gov.
6/14/2019 0 Comments
Boston City Councilor At-Large Michael F. Flaherty, Chair of the Committee on Government Operations, recommended passage on a proposed home rule petition which would establish a fire cadet training program to the Boston Fire Department. Sponsored by Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the proposed legislation would allow cadets to compose up to 33% of an upcoming fire recruit class. Existing civil service laws create a barrier for women and people of color who are seeking to join the Boston Fire Department.
This proposed legislation seeks to diversify future recruit classes. Testifying on behalf of the Administration were Danielson Tavares, Chief of Diversity Officer for the City of Boston; Juan Sanchez, Boston Fire Department Diversity Officer; and Vivian Leonard, Director of Human Resources for the City of Boston.
During a public hearing on the proposal, the Committee on Operations discussed with stakeholders on the intention of this program providing an alternate, structured pathway into the Fire Department for Boston residents. The Boston Fire Department recently partnered with Action for Boston Community Development to create the Future Protectors Initiative. This consists of a 6-8 week teen fire academy, which trains Boston Public School juniors and seniors between the ages 16-21 in civil service and other forms of public safety. According to Juan Sanchez, Diversity Officer for the Boston Fire Department, there is an ongoing effort to explore an afterschool program to help recruitment efforts of BPS students.
During the hearing, Officer Sanchez highlighted the efforts of community outreach throughout Boston Public Schools to not only raise the profile of women in the department, but also promotes recruitment of female candidates. An increase of both racial/ethnic and gender diversity throughout civil service will bring new role models to the youth of the city, encouraging them to enlist in the cadet program, or other forms of civil work, themselves.
Councilor Flaherty’s passage of the proposal came with significant recommendations. Considering his own experience taking the Civil Service Exam in the late 80s, the Boston City Council critiqued the increased cost needed to take the test today. “If you’re a resident of the City of Boston, you should be able to come in, sit for the Police, Fire and/or EMS exam which should be free of charge as a resident and a taxpayer,” stated Flaherty.
While acknowledging termination of the test fee would raise costs on the City, Councilor Flaherty suggested that the Fire Department hold physical aptitude tests in the beginning of the recruitment process. As currently constructed, the Fire Department places their prospective recruits through these tests at the end of their two year training. Shifting these tests to the start of the process rather than the end would ensure that the City Fire Department utilizes their resources exclusively on those physically capable for the job, eliminating wasteful spending.
With 14 cities across the country already operating their own fire cadet programs, the City of Boston should utilize data from these locales in order to create efficient strategies meant to ensure inclusion throughout the Fire Department.
“I have long stated that our civil service officers should reflect the diversity of Boston. This legislation seeks to provide an additional solution, addressing a need, for our Fire Department,” stated Councilor Flaherty. “I look forward to this legislation being implemented and providing an enriching opportunity for our residents seeking to enter civil service.”
The proposed matter now seeks approval from the State Legislature.
6/12/2019 0 Comments
Boston City Councilor At-Large Michael F. Flaherty, Chair of the City Council’s Committee on the Community Preservation Act, recommended passage for the appropriation of funds for the operating costs of the City of Boston Preservation Committee (CPC) and the allocation of CPA revenues to the CPC for the 2020 fiscal year. The appropriation recommendation took place after a public hearing convened by Councilor Flaherty, who was joined by Boston City Councilor for District 4 Andrea Campbell (Vice-Chair of the Committee) and City Councilor for District 2 Ed Flynn. Testifying on behalf of the administration were Emme Handy (Chief Financial Officer for the City of Boston) and Christine Poff (Community Preservation Director for the City of Boston).
The Community Preservation Act, which was implemented in Boston after a ballot measure passed in November 2016 by 74% of the vote in the city, allows for the municipal application of a 1% surcharge on property taxes to be placed into a fund dedicated to parks and open space, affordable housing, and historic preservation. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts also provides matching funds to the City of Boston via revenue generated through the collection of Registries of Deeds filing fees.
The recommendations include the appropriation of administrative funds for the 2020 fiscal year consisting of $1,202,337.00 and the reservation of $24,309,813.00 in revenues for the CPA for further appropriations. These funds would be an addition to the $42,961,755.00 total project funding authorized to date for community preservation projects. These actions and appropriations are part of the first steps to set up for the next award round.
Councilor Flaherty’s and the Committee on the Community Preservation Act’s support of these actions and appropriations are part of ongoing statewide efforts to ensure the sustainability of the CPA, including the recently passed Amendment Three to the Community Preservation Act. Amendment Three allocates an additional estimated $36 million in funding to the statewide CPA fund through an increase of Registries of Deeds filing fees, which raise the charge on the recording of a document with the Registries from $20 to $50, and the fee on the filing of a municipal lien from $10 to $25. This amendment was supported by the City Council as per Councilors Flaherty’s and Campbell’s Resolution: “An Act to Sustain Community Preservation”.
“I believe that as Boston continues to experience unprecedented growth and development, the projects funded by the Community Preservation Act are crucial for the stabilization and betterment of our neighborhoods,” stated Councilor Flaherty. “I look forward to working with the CPC to further preserve and improve every part of our city.”
The next round of applications for the City of Boston’s Community Preservation program is expected to take place by Fall.
4/10/2019 0 Comments
Boston, MA - Boston City Councilor At-Large Michael F. Flaherty, Chair of the Committee on Government Operations, has announced recommendation of a passage two proposed legislation that address population growth in our city and our need to assess resources as the 2020 Census in motion for next year with redistricting to follow on Federal, State, and Local levels. The recommendation for passage comes after Councilor Flaherty convened a thorough public hearing on Tuesday, April 2, 2019 during which the Committee on Government Operations heard from City of Boston Elections Department representatives, along with community stakeholders who review population and voter turnout data.
The first legislation is a home rule petition, sponsored by Mayor Walsh which will need State House approval, will allow the City of Boston to establish sub-precincts - and in some instances additional polling locations - in order to alleviate crowds and lines in specific sections of neighborhoods that have experienced significant growth. The impacted neighborhoods are as follows: Bay Village, Beacon Hill, Chinatown, Downtown, Financial District, South Boston, and the South End. This home rule petition is necessary so that the new sub-precincts and polling locations may be included in the Commonwealth’s Voter Registration Information System (VRIS). At the hearing, the Committee also discussed notification to impacted voters once these changes go into effect. On behalf of the Committee, Councilor Flaherty made note that this home rule petition provides greater efficiency at the polling places by decreasing voter wait times and alleviating over-crowding.
The second legislation is an ordinance, sponsored by Councilor Andrea Campbell and Councilor Michelle Wu, which calls upon the Boston City Council - in partnership with the City of Boston’s Election Department - to conduct a review of city precincts every five years beginning in the year following passage of this ordinance. The review will consist of information about population shifts, development in neighborhoods, and impact of precinct size on polling locations, staffing, and Election Day operations and other factors as necessary. On behalf of the Committee, Councilor Flaherty underscored that precincts are the building blocks for districts and need to be manageable in size - keeping in mind that taxpayers dollars are used to operate public resources.
“Both legislation call for the City of Boston to address data and resources when considering usage of public resources - whether it is Census & redistricting or Election Day operations,” stated Councilor Flaherty. “It is imperative that we implement solutions and practices across the board - and have the proper tools and information to do so - as Boston’s population continues to grow.”
3/13/2019 0 Comments
City Council Committee acknowledges the work of 56 projects totaling more than $34 million
Boston, MA - Boston City Councilor At-Large Michael F. Flaherty, Chair of the City Council’s Committee on the Community Preservation Act, has recommended passage for the second round of funding that has sought public funding for community preservation projects across the City of Boston. Chairman Flaherty has recommended approval of the funding requests after a productive hearing in which the Committee heard from a diverse range of community groups and individuals who represented the 56 projects seeking $34,926,700.00. The projects, which are categorized under the three aspects of the Community Preservation Act - historic, parks & open spaces, and affordable housing - were recommended by Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston’s Community Preservation Committee.
Chairman Flaherty and members of the Boston City Council held a hearing on Tuesday, March 5th that enabled the public to engage with various stakeholders on this round of funding, including members of the Walsh Administration. Throughout the hearing, funding applicants made note of how community preservation revenue will improve the quality of projects - a central aspect Chairman Flaherty made note of for each project.
“Whether it’s the affordable housing opportunities or the beautification of our parks, the projects presented to us today for this next round of community preservation projects will continue to benefit Boston,” stated Chairman Flaherty. I applaud the time, energy and efforts put in by the fifty-six applicants who presented to the City Council’s Committee on the Community Preservation Act, and look forward to their projects coming to realization.”
The broad range of recommended projects come from the following neighborhoods: Allston, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Boston Harbor, Brighton, Charlestown, Chinatown, Dorchester, Downtown, East Boston, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Kenmore/Fenway, Mattapan, Mission Hill, North End, Roslindale, Roxbury, South End, and West End. Chairman Flaherty and members of the City Council’s Committee on the Community Preservation Act look encourage those who are still seeking additional resources to stay tuned to the next round of projects. For more information on the hearing or on the Community Preservation Act, contact us via email (email@example.com) or phone (617-635-4205).
3/13/2019 0 Comments
The proposed ordinance seeks to support value based purchasing and procurement practices in the City that support local food industries, workers rights, healthy and humane care for farm animals, among other values.
BOSTON - Boston City Councilor At-Large Michael Flaherty, Chair of the Committee on Government Operations, has announced that he has recommended passage of an amended version of the proposed ordinance regarding Good Food Purchasing Standards in the City of Boston.The proposal, filed by City Councilor At-Large Michelle Wu, seeks to help the City of Boston leverage its purchasing and procurement power to support local economies, nutrition, a valued workforce, environmental sustainability, and animal welfare. The ordinance is modeled after the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) developed in 2012 by the Center for Good Food Purchasing.
The Committee recommendations were made after a public hearing and a public working session, both convened by Councilor Flaherty. During both meetings, the Committee engaged with wide range of stakeholders including Laura Benavidez, Executive Director of Food and Nutrition Services for Boston Public Schools, Jim Carvalho of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Suzanne Adely of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Stephanie Shapiro Berkson of the Boston Citywide Parent Council, Brett Tolley of the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, and Sherina McKinley of the CommonWealth Kitchen. The Committee discussed costs, logistics, transparency and confidentiality regarding the procurement process, and heard feedback on how the Good Food Purchasing Standards program works in the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is the first school district to adopt the program. In addition to public testimony received throughout the Committee process, the Committee on Government Operations received additional testimony from constituents e-mailing and calling in favor of the ordinance.
Throughout the Committee process, Councilor Flaherty highlighted that the amended proposal will afford Boston Public School and other agencies or departments the flexibility to tailor their standards to meet the specific needs of the relative agency or department. “This ordinance allows our departments and agencies to take incremental steps towards more value-based purchasing and procurement practices while the transparency and reporting requirements ensure that agencies/departments are accountable to their goals and the public,” stated Chairman Flaherty.
3/12/2019 0 Comments
Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn and Boston City Councilor At-Large Michael Flaherty called for a hearing regarding city services and public facilities on the South Boston Waterfront. They called attention to equal access to basic city services for taxpaying residents and the lack of public facilities - such as a library, community center or civic space, police and fire stations – despite the unprecedented development and growth that has taken place in the neighborhood.
"To me, this is all about public safety and equal access to basic city services for all of our residents,” said Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn. “I have spoken to many constituents in the South Boston Waterfront and Fort Point neighborhoods that are very concerned about response time and what would happen if an emergency took place during rush hour traffic. Residents also talk about civic space and a library for their families. I believe this conversation is important because we need to do all we can to make sure our residents have equal access city services.”
City Councilor At Large Michael Flaherty noted that, “As we continue to welcome new businesses, restaurants and developments, we need to ensure we’re including public spaces, such as libraries, schools and other municipal buildings that are often anchor institutions in other neighborhoods. These spaces allow neighbors to gather and host meetings, events and celebrations that truly allow residents to form a sense of community.”
For more information, please contact Councilor Flynn’s office at 617-635-3203 & Ed.Flynn@Boston.Gov or Councilor Flaherty’s office at 617-635-4205 & Michael.Flaherty@boston.gov.
3/4/2019 0 Comments
Year-long intensive program should be looked at as a means to close the achievement gap
Boston City Councilor At-Large Michael F. Flaherty has filed a hearing order regarding the feasibility of implementing Year 13 programming in the Boston Public Schools System. Year 13 programming could be utilized as an additional resource to close the achievement gap for our students.
The hearing order comes in response to feedback from residents and other stakeholders in support of the concept of an intensive, year-long focused program that provides additional support to students who may opt into the program before leaving high school. Year 13 provides students with an extra year of high school that allows for students get on track for entrance to four-year colleges, vocational-technical school and/or community college as well. If implemented, Boston would be joining the ranks of many other schools across the country that are building student-centered curriculums and supports that provides all students with opportunities to flourish. Some schools across the country have even partnered with their local colleges for student transition.
“The Boston Public School system is home to over 16,000 high school aged students across, on minimum, twenty high schools throughout the City of Boston,” noted Councilor Flaherty. “Further, as we know, we live in a competitive global economy that requires our students to have equally competitive skills to access and fully participate in this economy. As a result, we need to advocate for innovative solutions to close the achievement gap in our education system. Boston is home to some of the best colleges and universities in the country and there are incredible companies that call and are looking to call Boston home. Our students deserve to access the opportunities waiting for them in their own backyards, and yet, we’re finding that they’re not.”
The hearing order has been assigned to the City Council’s Committee on Education. Boston City Councilor At-Large Michael F. Flaherty is looking forward to a robust, collaborative discussion about Year 13 as a tool to provide all students with opportunities to succeed in whatever path they decide to pursue. For further information, please call Councilor Flaherty’s office at 617-635-4205.