The MMA today presented a comprehensive set of municipal priorities and recommendations to the state’s COVID-19 Reopening Advisory Board, the 17-member panel drafting the state plan that will be released on May 18.

The MMA is calling for:
• Timely notice to local government in advance of each reopening phase
• Strong and specific health and safety standards and directives from the state on how to protect the public and employees during each phase
• Delivery of resources to all communities to ensure equity and consistency in public services throughout the state
• Clear affirmation of local enforcement authority and high standards for industry to follow to ensure consistency across Massachusetts

Arlington Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine and MMA Executive Director Geoff Beckwith presented a detailed framework for action that was developed by a special MMA Reopening Advisory Committee of municipal officials from across the state.

The MMA emphasized the need for a careful and sustainable reopening process that is driven by public health needs above all, so that Massachusetts can avoid a second shutdown, which would devastate chances for economic recovery in the near term while lives are again at risk.

The MMA’s recommendations highlight local government’s unique role on the front lines fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering essential services that keep Massachusetts moving forward during the crisis, and ensuring compliance with public health and safety orders during the emergency. Because of this, the MMA pointed out, cities and towns must be seen as equal partners with the state during the reopening process.

While the communities of Massachusetts are diverse, with widely varying demographics and challenges, the MMA noted that the four main points of its plan reflect common needs that unite every city and town.

The MMA’s recommendation called for advance notice, clear standards, and operational guidance for the delivery of several categories of services, including public-facing events and programs, and customer-facing services that will transcend multiple phases of the reopening process.

Each phase must ensure that cities and towns have full access to the resources needed to reopen, including personal protective equipment (PPE), equipment, cleaning supplies, testing for all municipal employees and the public, technical expertise, and funding in every region.

Further, the report calls for an affirmation of local government’s enforcement authority, an allowance for stronger local regulation if needed, and full collaboration from state regulators.

Looking forward, the MMA is also calling for active planning for economic investment and recovery, including special attention for Main Street businesses and downtowns, assistance to support the hardest-hit regions, and state and federal aid to prevent a fiscal crisis that would undermine chances for economic growth.

The state’s Reopening Advisory Board, co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Michael Kennealy, includes representatives from business groups and state and local government.

Chapdelaine, as vice president of the MMA, is chair of the MMA’s Reopening Advisory Committee.

The other committee members are Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus, Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman, Scituate Town Administrator Jim Boudreau, Barnstable Town Manager Mark Ells, Needham Town Manager Kate Fitzpatrick, Andover Town Manager Andrew Flanagan, Woburn Mayor Scott Galvin (VP of the Mayors’ Association), Auburn Town Manager Julie Jacobson (president of the Management Association), Northfield Town Administrator Andrea Llamas (president of STAM), Acton Town Manager John Mangiaratti, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell (president of the Mayors’ Association), and Shrewsbury Town Manager Kevin Mizikar.

The MMA committee will continue to meet during all phases of the state’s reopening process, working with and receiving input from municipal leaders from every community and advising the MMA Board of Directors and policy committees on key issues and priorities to benefit cities and towns.

View the MMA’s presentation to the COVID-19 Reopening Advisory Board (12M PDF)