Message from the MMA President

(from Maine Townsman, December 2006)
By Ryan Pelletier, President of MMA

As the outgoing president of the MMA, I wanted to take a moment and thank all of you for giving me the opportunity to serve as your president. I have truly enjoyed my time spent on the MMA Executive Committee both as a board member and an officer. Over the past few years I have witnessed the Maine Municipal Association transform itself from " Augusta's best kept secret," as a former MMA president once put it, to a highly visible state municipal league. The MMA has always been and continues strongly to be, the backbone of local government.

In 2002, your Executive Committee voted to launch the Question 1A campaign, the "School Finance and Tax Reform Act" citizen's initiative. We did not know then that the Question 1A campaign to get the state to pay 55% of K-12 education costs would soon be followed by two more citizen initiatives. The Palesky tax cap and the TABOR proposal threatened the underpinnings of local government in Maine. Our Association faced these challenges and together we were on the winning side in each of the campaigns.

This past year, the MMA Executive Committee focused on relationship building. First, we re-established the quarterly meetings with the Governor and his key staff members. These important meetings allow the Executive Committee to communicate directly with the Governor on key issues facing Maine's municipalities and to share directly with the Governor how state policies and decision making affect our member towns and cities.

Secondly, the Executive Committee focused on strengthening MMA's relationship with its many affiliate group partners. Earlier this year the Executive Committee met with many of the Presidents and members of the affiliate groups to discuss issues and focus on open communication and legislative initiatives. I am pleased with the outcomes of that meeting and believe we have positioned ourselves for a stronger and more unified municipal community.

And finally, the Executive Committee realizes the importance of a strong business community in Maine and we support initiatives that spur economic growth. In June, Vice President Nick Mavodones, Executive Director Chris Lockwood and I met with the leadership of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. We discussed the importance of our two organizations working closely together on initiatives that invest in Maine's business community and at the same time protect local government interests. We have pledged to work together in the coming years and meet regularly to discuss legislation and other issues that impact municipal government and our business community.

In closing I wish all of you a very prosperous new year and look forward to the continued success of Maine's local governments and the Maine Municipal Association.