Saturday - December 4, 2021
9:00 am – 3:00 pm

The Massachusetts Municipal Councillors’ Association will hold its third biennial training session for newly elected councillors on Saturday, Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The program will begin with a panel titled “You’ve Been Elected — Now What? Navigating Your Role as a Councillor.” Experienced councillors will share guidance on a variety of topics, from constituent services to working with department staff to all other aspects of their new role.

Sean Cronin, senior deputy commissioner at the Division of Local Services, will give a state budget and finance overview. Brendan Sweeney, assistant director for federal funds – municipal, at the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, will give an overview of the American Rescue Plan Act and discuss how some communities are using the funds.

Arlington Deputy Town Manager Sandy Pooler and Agawam Treasurer/Collector Melissa Zawadzki, a former councillor, will review the budget process and the role and impact of councillors on it. There will also be a dedicated networking session.

The meeting is targeted to newly elected officials, but all city and town councillors are invited. The free meeting will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott in Marlborough. Further details and registration are available online.

Walk-in registrations are welcome. The MMA is taking precautions to host a safe, in-person event. At registration, you will be asked to provide proof of vaccination status (card or picture on phone), and those claiming a medical exemption based on their physician’s advice or a religious exemption must document a negative result of a COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours. You will also be asked to attest that you have no COVID symptoms and must wear a mask except when eating or drinking.


8:30 a.m.
Registration, Networking, Breakfast

9 a.m.
Welcome and Introductions
Lisa Blackmer, MMCA President and North Adams Councillor

9:15 a.m.
You’ve Been Elected – Now What? Navigating Your Role as a Councillor
This veteran panel of councillors will address various aspects of the “job’ of councillor. They will cover topics including constituent relations and services, council rules and code of conduct, working with fellow councillors and committees. There will be ample time for questions.
Lisa Blackmer, North Adams
Jeovanny Rodriguez, Lawrence
John McLaughlin, Waltham
Eunice Zeigler, Methuen
Melanie Hamblen, Franklin
Facilitated by: Katrina Huff-Larmond, Town Councillor, Randolph

10:45 a.m.
State Finance 101, Including The American Rescue Plan (ARPA)
State finance can be an overwhelming topic, even before you add in the complexities of ARPA. Cronin and Sweeney will give a broad overview and address any questions.
Sean Cronin, Senior Deputy Director for Local Services
Brendan Sweeney, Assistant Director of Federal Funds, Executive Office of Administration and Finance

There will be a Networking session 30 minutes after lunch begins

1:15 p.m.
The City Budget
A look at the city budget process, from formulation to presentation and passage, focused on the councillor’s role.
Melissa Zawadzki, Treasurer/Collector, Agawam
Sandy Pooler, Deputy Town Manager and Finance Director, Arlington

2:15 p.m.

Courtyard Marriott, Marlborough

MMA Senior Member Services Coordinator Denise Baker
Massachusetts Municipal Councillors’ Association