THE PIONEER BLOG

Under Pending Bill, Punishment could Fit the Crime

In light of recent turmoil in the Department of State Police (DSP), Governor Baker has called for not only revoking the pensions of the troopers involved in the overtime scandal, but to be harder on the forfeiture of pensions. In recent months, troopers who are under investigation have rushed to retire to keep their pensions […]

National Park Service Attracts Cape Cod Summer Visitors

The Cape Cod National Seashore (CCNS), located in the towns of Chatham, Eastham, Orleans, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown, was created by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. The land encompasses over 43,000 acres and nearly 40 miles of seashore. The National Park Service (an agency of the Department of Interior) is responsible for maintaining the […]

A row of files with the city hall seal

Stonewalled at City Hall

Pioneer Institute interns often visit government offices to obtain or confirm information we may use in a blog.  In this capacity, we made a trip to Boston’s City Hall to determine which retirement group Commissioner William Evans would fall into. Public retirees in Massachusetts are broken into four groups that use different calculations to determine […]

Making Troopers Transparent: At What Cost?

In May 2018, The Boston Globe reported on its effort to gain access to information about troopers through a lawsuit aimed at the Massachusetts Department of State Police (DSP) as part of an overall effort to hold the DSP more accountable. In light of various scandals, increased transparency in the beleaguered agency is critical to […]

Got Milk? The Answer Might Soon Be No in Massachusetts

It’s not a good time to be a dairy farmer in Massachusetts, and it hasn’t been for years. As of 2016, 90 percent of the Commonwealth’s dairy farmers reported enrollment in federal aid programs. Their economic situation became especially critical in 2009, when the recession pushed milk prices to record lows, and farmers sold their […]

A Public Transit that Neglects Its Public

Two of a community’s most important hubs are its colleges and hospitals. Higher education keeps a population vibrant and upwardly mobile, while access to health care keeps them well. Pioneer Institute’s municipal website, MassAnalysis, classifies Lowell, Lawrence and New Bedford as peers based on population density and size.  For these cities, each with over 20 […]

Cape Cod’s Battle Against the Opioid Epidemic

In recent years, opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts have increased much faster than the national average. While steps are being taken to combat the problem, the crisis has challenged all the Commonwealth’s communities. Cape Cod has especially struggled. Of Massachusetts’ 14 counties, Barnstable had the fourth highest opioid overdose death rate of 31.39 per 100,000 people […]

Falsified Records & Shady Human Resources Policies: The Latest Scandal in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

The Office of the Medical Examiner for Massachusetts is a taxpayer-funded agency that employs 93 people and is responsible for investigating violent and unexplained deaths in Massachusetts. Last year, Dr. Mindy J. Hull was chosen to lead the agency as chief medical examiner, a position with a salary that was recently increased by nearly $100,000 […]

School Choice Booming on Cape Cod

Each year, millions of dollars flow from one school system to another thanks to a 1991 Massachusetts law that created inter-district school choice, which offers parents the option of enrolling their children in the public-school district of a community other than their hometown. While the law allows each district to decide whether to accept out-of-district […]

Top Methuen Police Officials Poised to Earn Far More than State Police (even including the State Police Overtime)

The city of Methuen is currently facing a budget crisis primarily due to school system debt and newly negotiated police contracts.   Top police officials are poised to be the highest-paid officers in the state. According to the Boston Globe, a new contract will result in five Methuen police captains making an average of $432,295 […]

Not signed, sealed, delivered

Even the casual observer has probably heard that Massachusetts is the only state without a signed annual budget. The start of July signals the beginning of a new fiscal year for all but four state governments. But now, more than halfway through the month, Massachusetts is operating on a stopgap budget to ensure that state […]

Should Boston want to be the home of Amazon’s second headquarters?

Amazon is the kind of company whose mere presence is enough to transform a city. Billions of dollars in investment, tens of thousands of high-paying jobs, and a major impact on transportation and land use have characterized Amazon’s relationship with its primary home of Seattle. As the company continues to grow, its process to determine […]

Is local government in Massachusetts too pervasive?

In a country as culturally and politically diverse as the United States, vastly different political systems have come to serve local populations in various states. Certain regions of the nation have far-reaching and invasive local government systems, while others have large swaths of the population that don’t have any sub-county government at all. A typical […]

Troop F Gets an A: State Auditor Overlooks DSP Corruption, Neglects Audits

The Office of the State Auditor’s (OSA’s) website describes our current auditor, Suzanne Bump, as “the chief accountability officer for state government in Massachusetts and its residents.” The OSA’s enabling statute requires the department to audit all 700 departments and organizations of the government at least once every three years. Yet in her seven years […]

Disappointing Decision Regarding High-Achieving Cape Cod Charter School

In 2004 the Barnstable County Horace Mann Charter School was founded to “Engage, educate, and challenge a diverse K-3 population to achieve the highest level of academic excellence.” The school has its own nine-member board of trustees, principal, and staff that under the Horace Mann format are given greater control over budgetary and teaching decisions […]