They call it Pioneer Valley for a reason, 1

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One of the standout winners at the 2007 Better Government Competition was the Municipal Leadership Award given to the City of Springfield (Mayor Charles Ryan) and the Finance Control Board. And, guys, the award was a no-brainer. Springfield went from

  • a deficit of $41 million in FY05 to a surplus in FY06 (and 07)
  • a free cash position of minus $41 million in FY04 to plus $10 million in FY06. Oops, but I am understating their progress, aren’t I? In the Springfield Republican of today, there is an article noting that the FC position is actually plus $17 million.

And how was all this accomplished? Hmm. Perhaps it was the usual bellyaching about the need for a huge new cash infusion into municipalities? Nope. Was it reforms put forward by the Mass. Municipal Association? Nope. Uh, golly, please tell me how they did it?

  • Putting the locally managed pension system into the state PRIT system (Go here)
  • Being the first city in the state to join the Group Insurance Commission (2006 BGC, media work)
  • Managed competition (Too many studies to list!)
  • Negotiating long-term, predictable and affordable contracts with municipal unions (Need I say more!)

Ever heard of those ideas before?

The Finance Control Board met yesterday and, with the Mayor’s vote in favor, its tenure was extended for two more years.