Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Mayor, City Council President Jourdain Agree to Pursue Government Reforms

As the City of Holyoke prepares for a new legislative year, Mayor Morse and Council President Jourdain have agreed to pursue a series of reforms intended to modernize Holyoke’s government. Morse and Jourdain both believe that 2015 will be marked by a spirit of cooperation between their
respective branches, and by improved quality of life for citizens of Holyoke.

The mayor and the council president agree that some commonsense, modernizing reforms would help the government function more efficiently, transparently, and responsively to constituents’ concerns. Over the course of the coming year, the City Council will discuss and decide on a host of reforms.

“I’m looking forward to working closely with the mayor to modernize the government and make Holyoke a stronger, more vibrant place,” Jourdain said.

Among the proposals the Council will discuss are the creation of a Finance Department with a CFO; the combining of the treasurer and collector positions; the combining of the Water Department and the Sewer Department, and the establishment of a single commission to oversee both; and the placement of binding questions on the ballot this coming November to establish a smaller City Council, and to lengthen the mayor’s term from two years to four.

All of these steps, Morse and Jourdain agree, would improve the overall functioning of Holyoke’s city government. Taken together, these steps would save the city money, ensure greater responsiveness to constituents’ concerns, make the government more representative of the public, and would constitute one of the most comprehensive overhauls of Holyoke's government in modern times.

The mayor will work with the City Council to continue the honest budgeting practices put in place last year. Specifically, the mayor, the council president, and the city auditor will sit together to review budget requests and a shape a fair and accurate FY'16 budget. In previous years, the
Council would only see the budget after the mayor had made his final recommendations; this departure from past practice will allow the City to think strategically about saving tax dollars and to ensure the most efficient use of City resources. Further, the mayor will work the council to make progress on pending economic development projects, and to implement the the results of the city's compensation analysis, which will fairly compensate non-union employees who haven't received a raise in several years.

“With Councilor Jourdain bringing this agenda to the council and making the case for these reforms, I am confident that we will see a consensus emerge and action taken,” Morse said. “People are going to be pleased to see what can get done when our branches of government work together. 2015 will be a year people look back on as the year Holyoke equipped its government for
the 21st century.”

Mayor Morse will discuss these reforms in more detail in his February 17 State of the City address.

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