Administration and Regional Services
About Administration and Regional Services
FRCOG's Administration and Regional Services staff provides administrative services and program oversight of the FRCOG. The staff is funded through a combination of the voluntary assessment paid by FRCOG member towns and administrative fees paid by programs and grants. Administration and Regional Services staff also work on special projects that have been identified by our advisory boards, by staff, or by legislators. In general, the projects either do not have grant funding or have grant funding that requires a match that can be met by administrative staff involvement. Special projects are assessed to be important to the whole region or to a majority of member towns, either directly or indirectly.
Since 2008, the FRCOG, the Massachusetts Association of Regional Planning Agencies and the state Dept. of Revenue’s Division of Local Services have co-sponsored an annual regionalization conference. The event brings together municipal and state officials from across the Commonwealth to learn from regional shared services projects that have been implemented successfully.
The fourth Regionalization Toolkit Conference, held on September 10, 2012 a great success! The Conference was organized through the joint efforts of the Massachusetts Division of Local Services, the Massachusetts Association of Regional Planning Agencies, and the Franklin Regional Council of Governments. The Conference featured the announcement of a new round of Community Innovations Challenge (CIC) Grants by Lt. Governor Tim Murray. Invited speakers, representing communities and regional organizations throughout the Commonwealth, presented regionalization success stories and tools for success. Attendees represented large and small communities from throughout the Commonwealth.
This year there were approximately 200 total participants. Two mayors were in attendance, and attendees represented 69 Massachusetts municipalities. Officials from two other states, Vermont and Rhode Island, attended the conference, and speakers came from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. The Regionalization Conference Materials are available.
Further information on regionalization in Massachusetts can be found on the new Massachusetts Regionalization Website, which provides information about best practices in sharing of a wide variety of municipal services, and from the Regionalization Advisory Commission.
Select Board Essentials Series
Based on many requests from town officials throughout Franklin County, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments is hosting a 2013 Select Board Essentials Workshop Series. The Series includes six workshops held once a month, beginning in November. (There was no workshop scheduled for December). The purpose of the workshops is to provide new and veteran Select Board members and other town officials, trainings on the various job requirements of town officials.
The workshops are free but we request that you register ahead of time. Please see the What’s New Section for any updates. A flyer will be available before each workshop.
- Financial Management Essentials: Tuesday, November 27
- Legal Nuts and Bolts: Thursday, January 10
- Animal Control and Animal Inspection: Thursday, February 21
- Liability and Managing Risk: Thursday, March 14
- Liquor and Licensing: Thursday, April 4
- Open Meeting Law: Wednesday, May 15
Advocating for Important State and Federal Legislation
An important function of the FRCOG is to advocate for issues important to the Franklin County region and its communities and residents. Throughout the year, FRCOG staff testify at public hearings, provide input to pending legislation and policy that affect the Franklin County region, and bring important matters and issues to the FRCOG advisory council and member municipalities.
- Transfer of FRCOG to Massachusetts State Retirement System
- Increased transportation and transit funding
- FERC relicensing support
- MA Independent Contractor’s Law
- Veteran’s benefits
- Wind Siting
- Land Use reform
- Medical marijuana siting issues
- New Animal Control Officers legislation
- Franklin Regional Planning Board and FRCOG planning staff worked on the following policy issues/ legislation: Zoning Reform, Green Communities/Renewable Energy & FERC Relicensing of Northfield Mountain Pumped Storage Facility.
Regional Dog Officer and Adoption Program
The Franklin County Sheriff's Office Regional Dog Officer and Adoption Program began in November, 2012. The Kennel held an Open House on November 7th, at 11am. Special guests included Jay Gonzalez, Secretary of Administration and Finance, Rep. Steve Kulik, and Rep. Paul Mark. The program provides a professional regional dog officer, kennel, and adoption facilities to the towns of Franklin County.
Participating municipalities include the City of Greenfield and the towns of Bernardston, Buckland, Colrain, Conway, Deerfield, Erving, Gill, Heath, Montague, Warwick and Whately. Leslee Colucci is the Kennel Director.
For FY 2012, the FRCOG received a State Community Innovation Challenge (CIC) Grant for $19,900 to help fund implementation of the program.
The Kennel has been very active during its short existence. Achievements include:
- Receiving over $5,000 from donations and fees
- Receiving nearly $800 in gift cards from Greenfield Farmers, Home Depot and Staples, among other businesses.
- On the requests of various businesses, placing several donation boxes out in the community.
- Developing a strong volunteer corps, with over twenty people helping out in many capacities such as dog care, dog training, transportation, fund raising and promotion.
- Taking in almost 90 dogs and adopting out over 50
A copy of the Memorandum of Understanding between interested towns and the Sheriff’s Office is available. A list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and answers is available. Minutes from the planning meetings and Oversight Committee are available for Fiscal Year 2011 and Fiscal Year 2012.
The FRCOG worked with the communities of Deerfield, Sunderland and Whately to identify opportunities for strengthening emergency service through regional collaboration. Using its Local Technical Assistance funds, the FRCOG hired Bruce Baxter and Associates, an expert in emergency management services, to conduct a needs and feasibility assessment for EMS service. A copy of the initial study can be found here.
The three towns, along with Bruce and the FRCOG, began the planning phase of the project. Planning meetings occurred throughout the summer and fall to develop a plan for a shared EMS service. Bruce Baxter and Associates developed a comprehensive shared services plan for the three towns. The plan was presented and distributed to a joint Select Board meeting on Wednesday, November 14th. The final report is here. The three towns are planning to move forward with a shared EMS system.
An important function of the FRCOG is to advocate for issues important to the Franklin County region and its communities and residents. As part of this significant role, the FRCOG Regional Services staff sit on a wide variety of regional and statewide task forces to represent the region, rural issues, and our member municipalities.
Staff are currently active on the following committees, task forces, and working groups:
- Berkshire Pioneer Resource Conservation and Development Advisory Council
- Department of Public Health’s Local State Advisory Committee
- Baystate Franklin Medical Center Community Benefits Advisory Committee
- Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
- Massachusetts Broadband Institute Board of Directors
- Massachusetts Municipal Association Policy Committee on Municipal and Regional Administration
- Pioneer Valley Plan for Progress Board of Trustees
- Rural Development, Inc. Board of Directors
- Small Town Administrators of Massachusetts
- Western MA Connect Board of Directors
- Western MA Economic Development Council Infrastructure Committee
- WGBY Board of Tribunes
- Leadership Pioneer Valley Steering Committee
- Building Officials of Western Massachusetts
This page was last updated on 02/07/2013