FY 2016-2017 Goals

A.  Continue to Improve the Town’s Fiscal Stability and Overall Financial Management and Administration:

1. Submission of the FY 2017 Budget Message and Budget Preparation using best practices. (TO BE COMPLETED BY MARCH 15, 2015)

Under the changes made in the new Town Charter, the Town Administrator shall request and receive from all town agencies, officers and multiple member bodies the estimated revenues for the preparation of the FY 2017 town budget (Charter: Section 6-4-a-d.).  After consultation with the Town Administrator and the Finance Committee, a policy statement on the upcoming budget shall be issued by the Board of Selectmen.  Subsequently, the Town Administrator shall submit a comprehensive budget and accompanying budget message to the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee.  Moreover, I will continue to follow the provisions of the Charter and the following budget principles and purposes:


a) Policy Planning: considering the alternative policy  choices and relative benefits and costs of these choices in relation to the financial resources available;
b) Resource Allocation:  making the decisions which allocate certain levels of funding to each public policy goal established in the policy planning process;
c) Management Control:  enhancing the efficient use of dollars by establishing, monitoring and enforcing productivity and performance goals;
d) Fiscal Control:  ensuring the legality of amounts and purposes of expenditures in relation to the budget by maintaining expenditure controls and financial reporting mechanisms.

This item has been completed. 

Date  Department/Board/Commission/Committee 
Wednesday, December 9th

Conservation Commission –  6:15 PM
Emergency Management – 6:30 PM
Board of Appeals – 6:45 PM
Building Dept. – 7:00 PM
Inspectors (Gas, Plumbing, Wire) – 7:10 PM
Sealer- Weights/Measure – 7:20 PM
Veterans—7:30 PM 
Town Clerk—7:40 PM 
Elections — 7:45 PM 
Registration — 7:50PM
Info Systems — 8:00 PM
Central Telecom—8:10 PM
Assessors — 8:15 PM

Thursday, December 10th

Police—6:15 PM
Fire—6:45 PM
Ambulance—7:15 PM
Forest Warden — 7:25 PM
Communications—7:30 PM
Library—8:00 PM
Council on Aging—8:15PM
Summer Playground— 8:30 PM
Community Center — 8:40PM 

Wednesday, December 16th

Accounting — 6:00 PM
Tax Title—6:30 PM
Postage—6:45 PM
General II—6:50 PM
General III— 6:55 PM
Belmont Springs— 7:05 PM
Short Term Interest —7:10 PM
Benefits— 7:15 PM
Town Hall— 7:20 PM
Selectmen—7:30 PM
Town Administrator—7:40 PM
Audit of Town Accounts – 7:45 PM
Legal—7:50 PM
Personnel Board—7:55 PM
 Constables—8:00 PM
Street Lights—8:05 PM
Memorial Day—8:15 PM
GIS — 8:20 PM
Animal Control—8:25 PM
General Insurance — 8:35 PM
Capital – 8:40 PM

Thursday, December 17th

North Middlesex Regional School — 6:15 PM
Board of Health – 6:45 PM 
Highway —  7:15 PM
Engineer — 7:30 PM
Traffic Safety — 7:45 PM
Tree Care — 8:00PM
Enterprise — 8:10 PM
Cemetery — 8:30 PM
Finance Committee — 8:40 PM

Thursday, January 14th 

Nashoba Valley Technical School—6:00PM

2. Continue to implement a “Zero Based Budgeting” program that continued from FY 2015 (e.g. this was a critical part of the FY 2016 budget planning process) and for the FY 2017 budget cycle.

Implement a comprehensive “Zero Based Budgeting” action plan that is inclusive with input from all Department Heads. Zero-based budgeting is an approach to planning and decision-making that reverses the working process of traditional budgeting. In traditional incremental budgeting (e.g. Our Established 8 Year Historic Budgeting Trend Analysis), departmental managers justify only variances versus past years, based on the assumption that the "baseline" is automatically approved.  By contrast, in zero-based budgeting, every line item of the budget must be approved, rather than only changes.  Zero-based budgeting requires the budget request be re-evaluated thoroughly, starting from the zero-base. This process is independent of whether the total budget or specific line items are increasing or decreasing and can, if used effectively, motivate a “trust factor” in the end.
This item has been completed.  THE RESULT: COMPLETED (1) As part of the FY 2017 budget development, a comprehensive and detailed analysis of all line item appropriations has been initiated.  This includes, “labor related costs, supplies and expenses, contracts and capital needs. This process was completed in a timely manner as the Board of Selectmen and Town Administration made a solid effort to begin a full month in advance of the previous year’s budget planning (DONE: TO BE COMPLETED BY MARCH 15, 2016)

3. Continue to conduct collective bargaining and negotiations of all contracts and collective bargaining agreements (Charter: Section 4-2-j).

On March 28, 2016 the Board of Selectmen voted to approve the collective bargaining agreement with the Pepperell Firefighters, Local 5018, International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) as presented by the Town Administrator and Labor Counsel.  This collective bargaining agreement is effective March 18, 2016 through March 18, 2019.  Said collective bargaining agreement shall be in effect for a three (3) year period.  In addition, the Board of Selectmen voted to authorize the Town Administrator and Labor Counsel, under the Town Charter, Section 4 – 2, and other applicable sections of the Charter and governing laws, to develop a letter of agreement for the express purpose to extend this collective bargaining agreement with the Pepperell Firefighters, Local 5018, International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), from March 18, 2019 through June 30, 2019.  I will continue to work to negotiate of all other contracts and collective bargaining agreements necessary to effectively and efficiently manage town resources coupled with maintaining solid labor practices (Charter: Section 4-2-j).  (DONE: TO BE COMPLETED BY MARCH 15, 2016)

4. Work to implement “Opportunities for the Future” that will maximize new revenues and bring efficiencies to various Town programs

The Town Administrator has designed and developed a series of new policies and creative programs aimed at increasing revenues and closely monitoring expenditures.  Aggressively seek out new grant funding opportunities that will take fiscal pressure off of the local tax base (Charter: Section 4-2-q).

5. Draft a “Request for Proposals” (RFP) for the “Bulk Tax Lien” program with the help of the Treasurer/Collector.

This item has been completed.  THE RESULT: COMPLETED (1) I have been working closely with Debbie Nutter, our Treasurer/Collector to develop a comprehensive plan for outstanding delinquent tax properties and we are drafting a “Request for Proposals” (RFP) for the “Bulk Tax Lien” program.  We have a template draft “Request for Proposals” (RFP) that was used by the Town of Methuen and we are tailoring it to meet our needs. (TO BE COMPLETED BY 12/16/16)

6. Pursue options available to the Town that maximize the reuse of buildings and property in the most strategic and financially advantageous manner (Charter: Section 4-2-g & i).

The Town Administration has worked to encourage the reuse of the Peter Fitzpatrick School.  This effort has centered upon the highest and best use in conjunction with the North Middlesex Regional School District Offices.  In addition, I have worked cooperatively with local realtors and developers to explore the reuse under existing zoning code.  Please be advised that I met with Mr. Ted Carmen, President of Concord Square Planning & Development, Inc. of Boston and Superintendent Joan Landers to review the Peter Fitzpatrick school buildings.  We met and completed a site tour of the buildings and facilities. This planning process was funded by Article 6 of the Fall Special Town Meeting that passed in October 2014.  This program includes the following parcels: the Peter Fitzpatrick School, 90 Park Street and Brookline Street properties.  A preliminary appraisal and assessment plan is being developed.  An interim report has been prepared by these professional planners and was presented to the Board of Selectmen on December 14, 2015. The disposal of certain town owned property (e.g. vacant parcels on Chase Avenue and Park Street only) is a proposed Article on our Annual Town Meeting Warrant set for May 2, 2016.  (DONE: TO BE COMPLETED BY MARCH 15, 2016)

7. Work to certify the Town’s Free Cash and make recommendations along with the Town Accountant to the Board of Selectmen for the use of these funds.

This certification is in accordance with the provisions of G. L. Chapter 59, §23, as amended.(TO BE COMPLETED BY 12/16/16)

8. Improve the Independent Audit Processes and Audit Cycle to Gain Stronger Management of the Town’s Financial Management Systems and Resources.

This goal was established by the Town Administrator in conjunction with the Town Accountant during the review of the FY 2014 audit processes.  Upon the scheduling of the FY 2015 audit, the Town Administrator requested a change in “audit schedule” to provide for a more logical audit cycle.  This new cycle is as follows:

  • Step # 1.  Close of Fiscal Year: June 30th 
  • Step # 2.  Close of Fiscal Year Accounts Payable Period: July 15th
  • Step # 3.  Field Auditors on Site: Early Fall
  • Step # 4.  Field Auditors Complete Audit Work: Fall
  • Step # 5.  Auditors File Draft Financial Audit & Management Letter: Mid-Fall
  • Step # 6.  Auditors Complete Financial Audit & Management Letter: Late-Fall
This improvement was brought to light by the Town Administrator upon review of the current contract with the independent auditing firm of Giusti, Hingston and Company. In essence, the realignment of the independent audit cycle will allow for a more efficient and effective review of the Town’s financial statements and management letter. 

THE RESULT: COMPLETED The Independent Audit Processes and Audit Cycle has been adjusted for FY 2016.  (TO BE COMPLETED BY MARCH 15, 2015)

9. Improve our grant writing capabilities and overall capacity to maximize short, intermediate and long term recurring revenues sources.

Goals and Objectives:  Continue to build upon the prior year’s grant writing and technical assistance programs.  Please see the “Executive Summary of the Year’s Grants and Planned Savings Log below:

FY 2015 - 2016 (Completed to Date)

Grant Opportunity
 Estimated Amount
 State Grants (8 total)  Completed   
 Federal Grants (1 total)
 FEMA – MIIA Library Restoration
 State Green Communities (1 total)
 Completed – Pending Award
 Completed – Pending Award
 Completed – Pending Award

FY 2016-2017
Grant Opportunity
 Estimated Amount
North  Middlesex Cares (NM Cares) to Greater Lowell Community Foundation
North  Middlesex Cares (NM Cares) to the Pepperell Business Association
Massachusetts Department of Public Health-Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative Creation of the Northern Middlesex Public Health Coalition.
Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety (car seats for residents) Completed   
Massachusetts State 911 Communications

Doyle Community Grant Committee to the Senior Center
Completed $1,165
Board of Health- Healthy Community
Completed $6,540
Sub Total:
As of the date of this Report


A. Continue to take advantage of our plan to maximize “Opportunities for the Future” that will increase revenues and bring efficiencies to various Town programs.  The Town Administrator has designed and developed a series of new policies, innovative initiatives and creative programs aimed at increasing revenues.  Key components selected are as follows:


1. Stimulate local economic development by redeveloping empty commercial and industrial space.  Please be advised that on Monday December 21, 2015 the Lexvest Chapel Group, a Limited Liability Corporation purchased the mill complex located at 5 Chapel Place.  The sale price was $500,000 with major improvements planned for the mill complex.  I have been working closely with Eric D. Shapiro, President of the Lexvest Group and Michael Blackham, his Chief Financial Officer.  As of this report, three major leases have been put in place at the new Pepperell Business Center. This economic development initiative has significant potential to increase the town’s commercial tax base. (TO BE COMPLETED BY MARCH 15, 2015)


2. Efficiently and effectively administer our “Green Communities” grant funding.  This is a major undertaking.  I have made recommendations for the use of these grant funds to the Board of Selectmen and they have been approved.  On December 22, 2015 we received an initial grant of $150,910.  On Monday March 28, 2016 all of the contracts pertaining to this grant were processed and the Board of Selectmen formally accepted the grant award from Kelly Brown, Central Regional Director for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Green Community Program.  Project work is expected to begin this summer of 2016.  (ONGOING – ONE YEAR GOALS ABOVE) (TO BE COMPLETED BY DECEMBER 16, 2016)

B. Review the organizational effectiveness of Town operations and the use of resources and make administrative adjustments that improve the delivery of services to our residents and to explore cost effective regional initiatives


1. Expand the Army Community Covenant with new Cost Effective Initiatives 

Please be advised that the Army Community Covenant helped to sponsor a “Fatigue Awareness Training Session at Devens Commons on December 17, 2017.  This was the direct result of our efforts to muster regional training for our towns and Devens and to save .5% off of our FY 2016 insurance renewal premium for Workers Compensation.  Our Massachusetts Municipal Associations (MIIA) sponsored the training session at no cost to the Town of Pepperell or any of the other towns.  We had thirteen Pepperell employees from our Water, Sewer and our Department of Public Works participate in this important training session, especially with winter season upon us.  Over eighty workers attended from six towns across Middlesex County.  Paul Connolly, led this workshop on fatigue awareness which addressed such topics as: back pain, hydration and maximizing energy.  This was a fun presentation in which attendees will participated in some basic stretching techniques as well as come away with tips for applying what they learn to improve the quality of their life both at home and at work.  (TO BE COMPLETED BY MARCH 15, 2015)

2. New Regional Town Administrator’s Council Leadership Elected 

Please be advised that on March 15, 2016, I was duly nominated and elected as the Vice Chairman of the new Regional Town Administrator’s Council.  As you know, this is a group of sixteen (16) communities in the region that have organized to review public policies and programs that impact us locally.  This group includes area Town Administrators and Town Managers from the following municipalities: Ayer, Berlin, Bolton, Boylston, Clinton, Devens, Groton, Harvard, Lancaster, Littleton, Pepperell, Shirley, Sterling, Townsend, West Boylston and Westford.  This new non-partisan working group was formed to work closely with our Boards of Selectmen to help shape public policies and programs in the region.  Also, this working group is trying to improve regional economic development and the quality of life in the area towns.   I was grateful to be elected to this leadership position and I look forward to working with Chairman Thatcher Kezer, Vice President of MassDevelopment in charge of Devens (non-military).  I will keep you posted.  (TO BE COMPLETED BY MARCH 15, 2015)

3. Continue to work closely with our Regional School Districts to Create Efficiencies and Streamline the Budgetary Process

The FY 2017 budgetary process was implemented jointly with our regional partners in an efficient manner and produced the results needed to balance the Town’s FY 2017 budget. Additional reports will follow.  (TO BE COMPLETED BY MARCH 15, 2015)

4. Planning Research Continues for the Potential Regional Emergency Communications Center

On Monday December 21, 2015, I convened a meeting of David Scott, Police Chief, Toby Tyler, Fire Chief, David Stairs, and Communications Director at the Essex County Regional Communications Center in Middleton, Massachusetts.  Frank Cousins, Sheriff of Essex County and the main architect of this state of the art facility hosted the meeting and site tour.  Also, we met with Shad Ahmed, Executive Director of the Essex County Regional Communications Center and his staff to gain a solid perspective on their staffing levels, emergency protocols, application of new technologies and overall operations.  Using the Essex County Regional Communications Center or the “Middleton Fiscal Model”, we could potentially save 35% of our operational costs.  In addition, please note that we have completed a site tour at the Nashoba Valley Regional Dispatch located at Devens this past fall.  We will continue our research and keep you posted.  (ONGOING – ONE YEAR GOALS ABOVE) (TO BE COMPLETED BY DECEMBER 16, 2016)


Pepperell Joins State “Commbuys Program” and Gains Access to Grant Opportunities 
The Town has adopted “COMMBUYS”, and has joined the State’s new procurement program.  We have received training from Jennifer Forsey and Renee O’Rourke, Staff to the Operational Services Division of the State Purchasing Agent.  “COMMBUYS”, is a new public procurement program that is designed to coordinate operational and capital purchases with the Office of the State Comptroller.  The Operational Services Division (OSD) is actively planning Phase II of the COMMBUYS rollout that includes interfaces with MMARS, the Massachusetts Management Accounting and Reporting System.  Additional planned enhancements include ad hoc and preformatted reporting capabilities that will provide important departmental purchasing detail and offer valuable spend data analytics to the Commonwealth.  Progressive municipalities are using this new procurement program to save purchasing time, gain efficiencies and cost savings while utilize state-of-the-art systems at no cost to us.  In addition, Organization Administrators are able to manage the procurement process for an organization, including its Departments, Locations, users and approval paths. Procurement managers have the role of Organization Administrator and this consistent with “Best Practices” in the world of public procurement and contracting for services.  Last, the State has organized a number of grant opportunities under the new “COMMBUYS” system.  On March 10, 2016, we applied for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s $316,666 grant to fight opioid abuse in the “COMMBUYS” system.  The Town was well prepared to apply for this grant due to our participation in the “COMMBUYS” system.  (TO BE COMPLETED BY MARCH 15, 2015)


Continue to promote and tape the new cable TV program entitled “Your Town Administrators Report” which was launched in early January 2015.  This report is aimed at bringing key policy and program issues directly to the residents of Pepperell.  As of the publishing of this report, a total of nine (9) cable programs (an average of one show per month) have been produced and are streaming on our website.  A link is provided below: 

Your Town Administrator’s Report – Cable TV Program 


1. Set reasonable and measurable goals and objectives with Department Heads and perform an annual employee performance review.

The annual employee performance review is estimated to be completed by the end of October 2015 (Charter: Section 4-2-c). In addition, I began goal setting meetings with Staff under this new provision of the Charter in June of 2015.  This process is complete.  (ONGOING ONE YEAR GOAL) (TO BE COMPLETED BY DECEMBER 15, 2015) 

2. Develop and produce regular financial and administrative updates to the Board of Selectmen that will culminate in an “Annual State of the Town” report to the Board of Selectmen that illustrates attainment of Town Administrator’s goals.

This report will be made available to the general public (Charter: Section 4-2-e.).  
This item has been completed.  THE RESULT: COMPLETED (1) The Town Administrator’s report is posted on the Town’s website; and (2) a cable TV program entitled “The Town Administrator’s Report” that showcases key policies and programs authorized by the Board of Selectmen is under development.  Additionally, this new program is on the Leadership Team agenda for our meeting scheduled for Tuesday January 13, 2015.  The first taping of the “The Town Administrator’s Report was completed on Friday January 16, 2015. This series is ongoing as of the publication of this report.   (A THREE MONTH REPORT TO BE COMPLETED BY MARCH 15, 2015) 

3. Work with the Chief of Police to assess the next steps and to begin planning for pursuing full Police Department accreditation from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission.  


4. Monitor closely all employee fringe benefits, especially health care costs and develop a plan to conduct a “Health Care Audit”.

Under the new health care law in Massachusetts, it is required that all municipal employees be audited for accuracy of records on at least a two (2) year basis.  (ONGOING ONE YEAR GOAL) (TO BE COMPLETED BY DECEMBER 15, 2015

5. Continue to review and monitor all utilities for the potential for savings (Charter: Section 4-2-a.).  


6. Vigorously pursue extra insurance credits through the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MIIA) (Charter: Section 4-2-a.).


7. Attain re-certification as a Massachusetts Certified Public Procurement Officer.  I was certified in 2003 in State Contracting and will endeavor to be re-certified (Charter: Section 4-2-k).

I have specific knowledge and understanding of this certification and I am working on an update.  (ONGOING ONE YEAR GOAL THAT IS IN PROCESS)

8. Work closely with the Board of Selectmen and the Northeast Municipal Gas Pipeline Coalition to seek out alternative routing of the pipeline and/or other options.

I was proud to represent the Coalition with Stephen Themelis, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen at the public hearing held by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the town of Dracut on August 11, 2015.  The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved a Resolution to be an Intervenor in this federal process on August 10, 2015.  Subsequently, the Board authorized the Town as an Intervenor on December 14, 2015.  (ONGOING ONE YEAR GOAL THAT IS IN PROCESS)