Leadership coach Susan Retick (top left), Needham Human Resources Director Rachel Glisper (top right), and Cindy Joyce, CEO of Pillar Search & HR Consulting, speak during an April 9 webinar about supporting employees through the COVID-19 crisis. The webinar was a joint meeting of the Massachusetts Municipal Management Association and Massachusetts Municipal Human Resources.

The COVID-19 public health emergency has upended the typically busy spring schedule for MMA member group meetings, a vital and popular association service.

But the groups remain connected and active, while shifting to an array of remote meetings and webinars. In some cases, groups have joined forces to offer programming of interest to a broader audience.

The following is a summary of the many adjustments being made by MMA member groups to comply with the ban on gatherings and protect the health of members.

Mayors’ Association
The Massachusetts Mayors’ Association generally holds in-person meetings on the third or fourth Wednesday of the month in cities around the state, but the group has shifted to briefing conference calls beginning with its scheduled meeting on March 18.

On April 15, the mayors met virtually with Administration and Finance Secretary Michael Heffernan and Sean Cronin, senior deputy commissioner at the Division of Local Services.

Mayors will be notified directly of upcoming remote meetings as details are finalized.

Contact: MMA Communications and Membership Director Candace Pierce at cpierce@mma.org

Management Association
The Massachusetts Municipal Management Association’s March, April and July monthly meetings have been cancelled.

The April program was presented as a webinar jointly with Massachusetts Municipal Human Resources on its scheduled date of April 9, focusing on how to effectively manage and support employees during the ongoing crisis as well as the legal impacts of the COVID-19 emergency in the human resources arena.

On May 7, attorneys John Clifford and Jaime Kenney of Clifford & Kenney will give a remote presentation on collective bargaining, covering some of the basics of bargaining, as well as specific challenges that COVID-19 has brought to the negotiating table.

The next tentative in-person event is the “boot camp” for new managers on Oct. 2 at Pine Ridge Country Club in Oxford.

The group’s popular annual Spring Conference, a two-day event normally held during the week of Memorial Day, has been rescheduled as a Fall Conference, set for Nov. 18-20 in Chatham.

The Management Association continues to explore what types of online and virtual training to provide to its members during the period of social distancing.

Contact: MMA Senior Member Services Coordinator Denise Baker at dbaker@mma.org

Select Boards
The Massachusetts Select Board Association’s annual Leadership Conference, previously scheduled for June 6, will be restructured as a series of free webinars conducted over the spring and summer months.

The first of these webinars will be held on May 20 from 2 to 3 p.m., when KP Law President Lauren Goldberg will lead a discussion about common challenges faced by municipal government, including the open meeting and public records laws, social media, and conducting public hearings. This webinar is open to all MSA members, but the discussion will be targeted to a more experienced audience.

Programming and scheduling for additional webinars, including those specifically for newly elected select board members, are still in development. Additional information will be shared in the coming weeks.

The MSA’s next scheduled in-person event is a regional meeting on the morning of Sept. 11 at the Sharon Community Center.

The second annual Western Massachusetts Municipal Conference is currently scheduled to take place on Oct. 3 at The Log Cabin in Holyoke.

The MSA partnered with the Massachusetts Municipal Councillors’ Association for a COVID-19 briefing call on April 10 via Zoom, which featured MMA Executive Director Geoff Beckwith and Legislative Director John Robertson giving a range of updates and answering member questions.

The MMA will continue to host the MSA/MMCA briefing call on a monthly basis, with the next call scheduled for May 8 at noon.

Contact: MMA Member Services Coordinator Isabelle Nichols at inichols@mma.org

Councillors’ Association
The Massachusetts Municipal Councillors’ Association has pivoted to provide some of its scheduled training remotely via Zoom.

The group cancelled its Statewide Spring Dinner on March 11 and its May 2 regional meeting.

On April 10, the MMCA and Massachusetts Select Board Association hosted a COVID-19 briefing call via Zoom. MMA President and Agawam Councillor Cecilia Calabrese provided much-needed words of encouragement in her opening remarks, and MMA Executive Director Geoff Beckwith and Legislative Director John Robertson gave a range of updates and answered member questions.

The MMA will continue to host the MSA/MMCA briefing call on a monthly basis, with the next call scheduled for May 8 at noon.

The MMCA will host a webinar on city budgeting on May 13 at 3 p.m. featuring Framingham Chief Operating Officer Thatcher Kezer, a former mayor of Amesbury. Kezer will discuss the impacts of the COVID emergency on the city budget process. All members will receive an invitation to register.

The next tentatively scheduled event for the Councillors’ Association is a Fall Conference on Sept. 10 at the Delaney House in Holyoke, 4-7 p.m.

Contact: MMA Senior Member Services Coordinator Denise Baker at dbaker@mma.org

Finance Committees
The Association of Town Finance Committees’ first Spring Conference, on May 9, had to be canceled.

The group did hold a budgeting webinar on April 29, with MMA Legislative Director John Robertson and Hudson Town Administrator Tom Moses. ATFC President Brian Boyle facilitated the program, which tried to answer questions towns are facing as they rework their budgets for fiscal 2021.

ATFC members are encouraged to send online training suggestions to Denise Baker at the MMA (dbaker@mma.org).

The group’s next tentative meeting is its Annual Meeting on Oct. 24 in Marlborough.

Arlington Finance Committee Chair Al Tosti, the editor of the ATFC Finance Committee Handbook, is beginning his work on a new edition of the book, which is now easily downloaded in a digital format. Members will be able to download the new edition in October at the Annual Meeting.

Contact: MMA Senior Member Services Coordinator Denise Baker at dbaker@mma.org

Human Resources
Massachusetts Municipal Human Resources has rescheduled its HR 101 Boot Camp from May 14 to Sept. 17, tentatively in-person at Lake Pearl in Wrentham.

In place of the boot camp, MMHR will host a free Zoom webinar on May 14, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The program will kick off with a brief wellness exercise led by EAP provider Joe LaLiberte. MMA Senior Legislative Analyst Lisa Adams and attorney Melissa Murray of Norris, Murray & Peloquin will lead a discussion on current legislation and legal considerations related to the issues of furlough and unemployment.

MMHR’s Annual Meeting will be held on June 11, as scheduled, but will be conducted virtually. Additional details about the program and timing will be shared in the coming weeks. The meeting will be free of charge.

In recognition of the fiscal challenges that the COVID emergency has created for cities and towns, MMHR will convert its 2020 Fall Conference to a more cost-effective, virtual format. The conference will be made available as a series of webinars that can be purchased in a package. The first of these webinars is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 8 to continue the conversation from the March meeting on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Additional information about the webinar series, including how to register, will be available in the coming months.

On April 9, MMHR partnered with the Massachusetts Municipal Management Association to jointly present a webinar on how to effectively manage and support employees during the ongoing crisis, as well as the legal impacts of the COVID-19 emergency in the human resources arena.

Contact: MMA Member Services Coordinator Isabelle Nichols at inichols@mma.org

The MMA’s member groups will continue to follow all guidelines set out by the governor and will make further scheduling adjustments as needed.