Saturday - December 9, 2023
8:30 am – 2:15 pm

The Massachusetts Municipal Councillors’ Association will hold its third biennial training session for newly elected councillors on Saturday, Dec. 9.

The program will begin with “You’ve Been Elected — Now What? Navigating Your Role as a Councillor” — a panel discussion with councillors who will share guidance on topics ranging from constituent services to working with department staff to all other aspects of the role. Participants will include John McLaughlin of Waltham, Lisa Blackmer of North Adams, Claire Freda of Leominster, Lisa Feltner of Watertown, and Brendan Sweeney of Beverly.

Other sessions will cover budgeting and operating with a code of conduct. There will also be a dedicated networking session.

The meeting is targeted to newly elected officials, but all city and town councillors are invited. An invitation and registration information will be sent to all councillors and will be available on


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

9 a.m.
Welcome and Introductions
John McLaughlin, MMCA President and Waltham Councillor

9:30 a.m.
You’ve Been Elected – Now What? Navigating Your Role as a Councillor
This panel of veteran councillors will address various aspects of the “job” of councillor, covering topics including constituent relations and services, council rules, and working with fellow councillors, committees and department heads and other staff. There will be ample time for questions.
John McLaughlin, Waltham
Lisa Blackmer, North Adams
Brendan Sweeney, Beverly
Lisa Feltner, Watertown
Claire Freda, Leominster

10:45 a.m.
The City Budget and State Finance 101
State finance and municipal budgeting can be an overwhelming topic. Anna Freedman will review the elements of a city budget and highlight what to focus on in your first years on the council. Sean Cronin will discuss the outstanding job his team at the Division of Local Services does to make municipal finance easier to understand and to provide tools and resources to help you do your job more effectively.
Anna Freedman, Finance Director, Salem
Sean Cronin, Senior Deputy Commissioner of Local Services

12:15 p.m.
There will be a Networking session 30 minutes after lunch begins

1:30 p.m.
Council Rules and Code of Conduct
Every council is governed by its own “Council Rules.” Some communities include a Code of Conduct for their elected officials, which often extends to appointed officials, staff and members of the public when engaging with officials. This session will review Council Rules and the Codes of Conduct, and how they apply to you as a city or town Councillor.
Michael Ossing, City Council President, Marlborough
Attorney Robert Hillman, Partner, Valerio, Dominello & Hillman

2:30 p.m.

Devens Common Center, Devens

MMA Senior Member Services Coordinator Denise Baker,