From the Beacon, May 2024

More often than not, I dedicate this column to key legislative and policy issues facing local government. Though critically important, legislative advocacy, as most of you know, is just one part of the impactful work that the MMA does to assist municipalities across the Commonwealth. Another part of this work is performed by the Communications and Membership Division, and this month, I’d like to highlight their work in stewarding the growing list of webinars that have already been offered and those that will be offered in the coming months.

These webinars have been designed and developed with you, local officials, in mind. We know that you are facing many and varied issues on a daily basis and, often, you need quick access to resources, answers and advice in regard to solving some of the thorny challenges that you face. We also know that you are very busy and not always able to dedicate time to traveling to meetings or training on various topics. It’s for these reasons that we offer our webinars in a 60- or 75-minute format during the lunch hour.

These webinars are also recorded, and can be viewed when it’s convenient for you, via the MMA website or MMA On-Demand, which is a sortable and searchable library of archived webinars. With MMA On-Demand, members can save relevant training content for later viewing, browse “101” bundles, and purchase premium content.

Already in 2024, we’ve offered a robust lineup of webinars, all of which have been well-attended, covering a range of timely topics that are directly responsive to the challenges you’re facing in your communities.

Some of these offerings have focused on administration and finance-related topics such as Chapter 70: Understanding the Funding Formula for Education, Municipal Finance 101: Budgeting and Best Practices, and Perfecting Your Procurement Process: Best Practices and Lessons Learned.

Additional offerings range from Flag Flying Policies and Requests: What Municipalities Need to Know to Digitizing Municipal Records: Guidelines for Getting Started, to Parliamentary Procedure at Council Meetings: A Practitioner’s View.

We also offered a two-part series focused on navigating difficult conversations: Empathetic Dialogue in Volatile Times and Practical Tips for Productive Dialogue.

Additionally, we have embarked upon a series of climate-focused webinars, the “Inspiring Climate Action” series, which will continue for the rest of this calendar year. The first installment, A Fireside Chat with Climate Chief Melissa Hoffer, was held in late March, and the second and third installments, From Planning to Practice and Effective Community Engagement Strategies, were held in April.

Many more webinars are planned for the coming months, and details can always be found in the MMA Events Calendar and on the webinars page. Currently scheduled topics include Promoting Civil Discourse at Town Meeting, Municipal Law 101, Information on the Mass Cultural Council, and Municipal Branding.

The MMA website is continually updated as webinars are planned and added to the schedule. I strongly encourage all municipal officials to take advantage of these resources, and to feel free to let us know about topics that they would like to see addressed in future webinar programming.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t offer tremendous credit and thanks to the MMA staff that makes this all possible. Staff from across the organization assist with the development of webinar programming, but MMA Education and Training Coordinator Lily Rancatore, under the guidance and leadership of Communications and Membership Director Candace Pierce, are the backbone that make all of these webinars as excellent as they are. I offer my most sincere thanks to both of them for their great work on this resource.

Written by Adam Chapdelaine, MMA Executive Director & CEO