June 29, 2009

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives:

Pursuant to Article LVI, as amended by Article XC, Section 3 of the Amendments to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I am returning to you for amendment Section 146 of House Bill No. 4129, "An Act Making Appropriations for the Fiscal Year 2010 for the Maintenance of the Departments, Boards, Commissions, Institutions and Certain Activities of the Commonwealth, for Interest, Sinking Fund and Serial Bond Requirements and for Certain Permanent Improvements."

Section 146 creates a study commission to consider the costs and effects of regionalizing all municipal services. In general, I support the goal of this section to explore opportunities for regional collaboration and shared services at the local government level.

However, given the current status of regionalization efforts in the Commonwealth, the need for devoting resources to a temporary study commission is less critical than the need for establishing an on-going advisory commission to play an active role in guidance, advice and technical assistance for both regionalization efforts at the local level and state policy on regionalization, including updating grant programs state-wide to reflect regionalization incentives. The membership of the commission outlined in Section 146 would make for a robust and timely Regionalization Advisory Committee which will more effectively complement other recent efforts by the Legislature and my Administration to encourage regional cooperation and efficiency.

For these reasons, I recommend that Section 146 be amended by striking out the text and inserting in place thereof the following text:-

SECTION 146. Chapter 3 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 62 the following section:-

Section 62A. There shall be a regionalization advisory committee to advise the executive and legislative departments about regionalizing the delivery of municipal services. The committee shall consist of the following members: the secretary of administration and finance, or her designee, who shall serve as chair of the committee; the secretary of health and human services or her designee; the secretary of energy and environmental affairs or his designee; the secretary of public safety or his designee; the secretary of the Massachusetts department of transportation or his designee; the secretary of elder affairs or his designee; the secretary of veterans' affairs or his designee; the secretary of labor and workforce development or her designee; the secretary of education or his designee; the secretary of housing and economic development or his designee; the president of the senate or her designee; the speaker of the house of representatives or his designee; a representative of the metropolitan area planning council; a representative of the Massachusetts Municipal Association; and 3 members to be appointed by the governor all of whom shall have knowledge and experience in 1 or more of the following areas: municipal government and services, municipal agreements, shared services or regionalization. Each member shall serve without compensation.

The committee shall propose policies and coordinate activities throughout state government that are designed to create opportunities for enhanced collaboration among local governments. Committee members individually and as a group shall serve as subject matter experts in an advisory capacity as requested by the executive office for administration and finance on behalf of local governments engaged in regionalization efforts or as requested by local governments.

Respectfully submitted,

Deval Patrick