2017 is off to a busy start for Team Flaherty. As we continue to listen to constituent concerns and advocate for progress across our neighborhoods, I would like to share with you what we have been up to in January:
Community Preservation Committee: As a follow-up to the success of the Community Preservation Act ballot referendum last November, Councilor Campbell and I refiled the ordinance that would create the Community Preservation Committee (CPC). Should the ordinance pass and be implemented, the CPC would consist of 5 members appointed by the Mayor and 4 appointed by the City Council, serving 3 year terms. The Committee would be responsible for recommending expenditures from the Community Preservation Fund. The matter has been assigned to the Committee on Government Operations and a public hearing has been scheduled for Monday, February 13th.
Health Insurance Benefits for Surviving Spouses: I filed a home-rule petition that would grant access to health insurance for spouses of City of Boston employees – who died in the line of duty – who later remarried to receive City of Boston health insurance. For the past seventeen years, the state legislature has allowed for a surviving spouse to have access to pension benefits should he or she remarry. However, there has still been the issue of surviving spouses not having access to or the option of purchasing health insurance (should they choose not to remarry). This home rule petition would eliminate the “remarriage penalty”. The matter has been assigned to the Committee on Government Operations, and a public hearing will be scheduled.
Boston Police and Fire Residency Preference: I filed a home rule petition that sought to increase the existing Boston residency preference on the Civil Service Exam from 1 year to 3 years. I am a firm believer that our City’s police officers and firefighters do a better job when they are more familiar with our communities. The proposal gained support from the Firefighters Local 718, Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers (MAMLEO), Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association (BPPA), and the Boston Society of Vulcans. I had initially filed the matter as an ordinance in 2014, but was advised to refile as a home rule petition to avoid any legal complications. With no change in language with regards to its intent, the matter was voted upon unanimously by the Council. The home rule petition is now awaiting approval from Mayor Walsh so that it can make its way to the state legislature.
Human Trafficking Awareness Day: I introduced a Resolution to establish January 25, 2017 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the City of Boston so that it coincides with January being National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Since 2005, over 450 children from Boston have been identified as victims of human trafficking. As public servants, it is our responsibility to not only enforce punishment on those who lead in such illicit, horrendous activity; but also to support survivors who are in need of resources and guidance. The Resolution was voted upon unanimously by my colleagues.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if I can ever be of assistance to you or your family. Whether it is to discuss a constituent request or a policy issue, Team Flaherty is ready to help.
Michael F. Flaherty is one of your Boston City Councilors At-Large. His office can be reached by phone (617-635-4205) or email (Michael.Flaherty@Boston.gov).