Mark Hawke, Ellen Allen to lead MMA

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​Gardner Mayor Mark Hawke and Norwell Selectman Ellen Allen will lead the MMA in 2018 as president and vice president, respectively, after their election by the MMA Board of Directors at the association’s Annual Business Meeting in Boston on Jan. 20.
 
Hawke has served as mayor of his hometown since 2008. Before his election, he served as the city’s grants administrator for more than six years.
 
He has been on the MMA Board of Directors since 2010 and a member of the MMA Policy Committee on Energy and the Environment since 2011.
 
Hawke said there are a “bevy” of issues facing cities and towns in the coming year, starting with fiscal concerns. He said the MMA and local officials have “a great opportunity to work with an administration that understands local government because they came from local government.”
 
He added that the Baker-Polito administration “has been nothing but impressive over the first three-plus years in office in working with local government on a wide range of topics.”
 
Hawke said working with the administration and the Legislature to  advance municipal priorities will be important in the coming year.
 
“All we’re going to continue to do is make sure that we focus on the key concerns of every city and town and work hand-in-hand with the administration so we can get things done,” he said. “There’s going to be some give and take on both sides and that’s really what we’re hoping to achieve.”
 
Allen has served on the Norwell Board of Selectmen since 2011 and served as its chair from 2013 to 2015. She also has served as the chair of the Plymouth County Advisory Board since 2012. She served on the Norwell Advisory Board for four years before her election to the Board of Selectmen.
 
Allen was president of the Massachusetts Selectmen’s Association in 2015 and 2016.
 
She said she’s looking forward to working with Hawke as the leaders of the MMA Board of Directors.
 
“My interest in this is because I really like to get even more closely involved with the work the MMA does up at the State House, get involved in attending more hearings, and working with the Legislature and the administration,” she said.
 
There are many issues of concern to Allen, such as zoning and land use legislation and two ballot questions going before voters this fall, one of which would reduce the sales tax from 6.25 percent to 5 percent, which would reduce state revenue by about $1.2 billion per year, and the second of which would place personal income tax surcharge of 4 percent on incomes of more than $1 million to help pay for public education and transportation.
 
“I’m a budget nerd, so I’m concerned about things like the cost of health insurance and OPEB [other post-employment benefits], which of course are related,” she said.
 
MMA Executive Director and CEO Geoff Beckwith said he looks forward to the coming year under the leadership of Hawke and Allen.
 
“Our staff and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Mark and Ellen over the years, and we’re excited  to follow the leadership of these two highly respected local officials,” Beckwith said. “2018 will be a critical year for local government, with a number of important issues facing cities and towns, and we know that having Mark and Ellen at the helm will benefit all municipalities in the Commonwealth.”