Dan Allie, Westfield City Councilor, WORKING FOR WESTFIELD

​​​​Westfield City Councilor Dan Allie talks name recognition and connecting with voters

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http://www.masslive.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/10/westfield_candidate_dan_allie.html

WESTFIELD EVENING NEWS– 4/18/2015

http://thewestfieldnews.com/council-seeks-state-reform-of-civil-service


WESTFIELD – The City Council, on the recommendation of the Public Health & Safety Committee, approved a resolution seeking statewide reform of the Civil Service program, seeking to make the state agency more responsive to the needs of communities in the Commonwealth participating in Civil Service.
PH&S Chairman Dan Allie, At-large councilor, composed a letter to Governor Charles Baker seeking a review and reform of the current procedures governing Civil Service.
“The goal should be to hire the best applicants available, who have a strong desire to work in selected municipalities, and to promote those individuals who best fit position,” Allie stated in the resolution letter to Baker.
“The system should not result in delays, obtaining lists and necessary information to make an informed decision,” Allie stated. “Areas of concern (with the current Civil Service system) include testing, providing approved lists and hiring in a timely manner, delays leading to unfilled positions, staffing shortages, overtime, lost funding, other expenses and issues.”
Allie suggested reforms that allow applicants for Civil Service controlled position to identify up to three specific communities and that the names of entry-level candidates should be removed from the Civil Service availability list when they are hired.
Allie also suggested the Civil Service testing should be regularly programmed and that test scores and hiring lists made available soon after the qualifying test is held. Furthermore Allie suggested that the test questions should reflect the needs of specific communities seeking employees.
The resolution letter has signature blocks for Mayor Daniel M. Knapik, Council President Brian Sullivan and Allie as chairman of the PH&S Committee.
Ward 2 Councilor Ralph Figy commended Allie for taking the initiative to seek a resolution for the city’s recent problem in making Civil Service appointments in the Fire Department and resolution of a termination in the Police Department which took the state agency two years to resolve, meaning that a replacement officer could not be hired during that appeal.
“I’s like to thank Councilor Allie for all of the work he has done on this issue,” Figy said.
Allie’s committee conducted an open meeting in March with other members of the City Council, the Law Department, Union officials and members of the public in attendance. That discussion indicated that the council has little authority, if any, to address the Civil Service issue directly.
“Civil service is bent, if not broken,” Allie said at the March meeting. “Parts of it don’t work at all. I’m trying to make suggestions to the state. Any action (through contract negotiations) has to be initiated by the Mayor, but there may be other avenues to address this through our local representatives in the Legislature.”
Allie had suggested that the City Council, through several committees now reviewing the civil service status, focus on change within the Police Department, Fire Department, Department of Public Works and the Westfield Gas & Electric Department.
Any change in job status under Civil Service regulation can only be done by the city’s executive branch through contract negotiation with the unions.
Law Department Supervisor Susan Phillips and Labor Counsel Jeff Krok presented two different avenues of addressing problems some departments have experienced with the civil service process of hiring and promoting individuals.
One avenue of removing positions and employees from civil service is through contract negotiations between the city’s executive branch (the mayor) and the unions representing those employees, Phillips said.
Any agreement between the mayor and the unions would then come to the City Council as a home rule petition to the state Legislature for its approval of changing the civil service status of those positions and employees. Phillips said that in the late 1990s under former City Solicitor Peter Martin that process was used to remove a number of department supervisors from civil service.
“There are really two issues being discussed here. One is removing portions or full departments from civil service,” Phillips said. “The second is changing civil service through the legislative process in Boston.”
Krok said the City Council members should be careful of discussing specifics and what the city would be willing to give the unions in exchange for removing personnel and positions from the civil service process.
“As elected city officials, anything said could be construed as an (contract) offer and if withdrawn, could result in an unfair labor complaint,” Krok said.
Thursday night Allie said the resolution letter to Baker would “avoid a lot of land mines. This is something we can do.”


WESTFIELD EVENING NEWS– 1/16/2015

The City Council approved a motion last night from At-large Councilor Dan Allie to send a letter thanking Governor Charlie Baker for increasing Chapter 90 funding to local communities. Allie said that one of the first acts Baker took after being sworn into office last week was to order the state Department of Transportation to release of an additional $100 million to cities and towns. Allie said that Westfield will receive an additional $660,000 in its Chapter 90 funding this fiscal year.

The funding was contained in a $12.5 billion transportation bond approved by the Legislature last March. That bond authorization included $300 million for local road maintenance. Allie said former Gov. Deval Patrick cut that funding to $200 million and that Westfield received $1.2 million in its Chapter 90 allocation. Baker’s order to the MassDOT released the remaining $100 million to communities.

“Funds for road maintenance and local aid are critical to providing services and balancing our city budget,” Allie said in his motion to send the letter recognizing Baker’s action benefiting Westfield. “We do not have enough money to maintain our roads, or tackle long-overdue projects such as Papermill Road (improvements) and cannot keep raising property taxes to make up for cuts in state funding.”

“I believe that it is entirely appropriate for this City Council to send a letter to our new governor thanking him for his leadership in providing this funding and making road maintenance a high priority,” - Allie.

The council members endorsed Allie’s motion with an unanimous voice vote and requested Allie to submit a draft letter to Council President Brian Sullivan for his signature. Allie also thanked city voters who supported a non-binding local referendum question on the November ballot. Allie collected the required signatures to place the referendum questions on the ballot.One question called for release of the $100 million not released by Patrick and the other called for the restoration of local aid, in particular restoration of lottery, established in the ’70s with the express purpose of returning money to the Commonwealth’s municipalities. The state has diverted lottery funding to support state spending and cut local aid, requiring communities to rely heavily on property tax revenue to balance local budgets.

​“I want to thank the voters in Westfield for supporting these questions by a four to one margin in November.”

http://thewestfieldnews.com/author/dan/page/2


Allie submits 675 nomination signatures to run for State Representative.

Westfield, MA - Our efforts and message on issues such as Automatic Gas Tax hikes, the effect that cuts in local aid have on municipal budgets, property taxes; and on our crumbling roads are connecting with voters in this important election. 

While the results of the April 1st Special Election to fill Don Humason's old seat were not what we hoped for, I am very encouraged by what we are accomplishing and the response of voters. 

First, I received 47 percent of the vote in a low turnout special election during the winter.

We collected about 1000 signatures to put two questions on our local ballot. One question seeks to increase Local Aid funding to cities back to 2007 levels. Local Aid is the money cities are supposed to receive from the Massachusetts State Lottery for education. Massachusetts has taken 700 million dollars out of the Lottery Fund in the last five years. Westfield has lost a million dollars a year in local aid, for five years in row. This has put a strain on the city budget and local property taxes. There was no justification for the state taking money out of The Lottery Fund last year, when the state had a surplus of 900 hundred million dollars in revenues above projections.

A second question would increase funding to cities for road maintenance. In March 2014, the state passed a 12.5 billion dollar Transportation Bond bill, but only allocated 200 million dollars for regular road maintenance. For the entire state! This is not enough money. Neither question would raise taxes or cut spending. The state has a surplus, the money is already in The Lottery Fund and we have a significant transportation bond bill.

Many voters are not aware of last year's surplus in state revenues.This is a game changer as people realize there is no need for cuts in local aid, higher taxes and increased tolls by the majority party. This benefits all of our Republican candidates. 

Our message and ballot questions are having an impact on voters with issues that people really care about. It is an excellent opportunity to show our support for education, police, fire and maintaining roads, while demonstrating state government's lack of accountability and priorities, even with a surplus, and the effect mismanagement has on local aid and property taxes. 

                                                               
City Councilor Dan Allie works to put 3 questions on ballot

Westfield, MA — One City Councilor has spent 14 months knocking on doors, gathering thousands of signatures and distributing flyers to inform voters why property taxes have been increasing every year, and why roads are not being maintained.

City Councilor Dan Allie, also a candidate for State Representative in Westfield says people are very concerned about rising property taxes and the condition of roads. Allie says he discovered that Westfield has been losing nearly a million dollars a year in local aid for five years in a row, and that the budget to maintain roads is insufficient.

Last fall, Allie worked to gather thousands of signatures for the repeal Automatic Gas Tax hikes on the November statewide ballot as part of the first all-volunteer effort since 1991 to successfully put a question on the statewide ballot.

This spring Allie collected signatures to put two Public Policy Questions on the local ballot in Westfield.

The first question asks to increase local aid to FY 2007 levels. Local Aid is the money cities are supposed to receive from the Lottery. The Massachusetts State Lottery was created to provide revenue to cities for education. “It was supposed to lower our property taxes,” says Allie.

“In the last five years, the state has diverted over 700 million dollars from the Lottery Fund, including last year when the state had a 900 million dollar surplus in the general budget.

“Massachusetts does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. Last year, the state had a surplus of nine hundred million dollars, in revenue above projections.

The state could have left the Lottery funds alone. It did not. Instead the state raised taxes by half a billion and reinstated the tolls on the Pike” according to Allie. “There is no justification for taking money out of the Lottery. This is our money”, says Allie.
This puts a tremendous strain on our city budget, and is contributing to increasing property taxes,” says Allie.

A second question seeks to increase funding to cities and towns for road maintenance and repair.

In March, the state passed a 12.5 billion dollar transportation bond bill, but only allocated 200 million dollars, for the entire state for road maintenance,” says Allie. “This is not nearly enough to fix our roads.” The budget in Westfield to fix four hundred miles of roads is 1.3 million dollars. That will fix about two miles of roads. That would take about two hundred years. That is not a plan,” says Allie.

According to Allie, “Neither question would raise taxes or cut spending, but simply restore funding to local government from existing sources. The money is already in The Lottery Fund and transportation bond bill. “It is time government taxed and spent money on the intended purpose.”


http://blog.masslive.com/campaign_dispatches/2014/10/campaign_press_release_city_councilor_dan_allie_works_to_put_3_questions_on_ballot.html


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