Convention Focuses on Palesky Proposal

(from Maine Townsman, August/September 2004)
By Chris Lockwood, MMA Executive Director

        We strongly encourage municipal officials to attend this year’s MMA annual convention to be held at the Augusta Civic Center, October 6-8.  In particular, we want to draw attention to a special Wednesday evening program focusing on the Palesky Property Tax Cap initiative proposal that will be on the November 2 ballot.  This special Wednesday evening program is particularly geared to elected officials who might not be able to attend other convention sessions. 

        We hope to provide a program that helps the membership understand the proposal, analyze its impacts and explains how to communicate these impacts to the residents in your municipality. MMA staff is working on the final details of the program for October. The three-day convention offers municipal officials the opportunity to “network” with their peers, participate in workshops that provide information about current issues facing municipal officials and learn about the proposal Maine citizens will vote on this November 2nd.

        The theme of this year’s convention is “Meeting the Challenge,” that reflects the focus of this organization and its members to defeat the Palesky Proposal.  We are planning workshops that address more “traditional” topics for municipal officials such as affordable housing, managing human resources, holding effective meetings, and GASB 34. Additionally, MMA Affiliate Groups are developing programs that will address their issues and are a key part of the Convention. These Affiliate Groups will hold their business meetings and training sessions during the day Wednesday, and also on Thursday. We are very pleased that many of the MMA Affiliate Groups are taking an active role in the 2004 program.

        The convention kicks off Wednesday with a luncheon and a keynote address by a municipal official from the State of California who will talk about how Proposition 13 has impacted that state. When the Townsman went to press we were still working with the California League of Cities to confirm this speaker.

        The Wednesday evening program on the Palesky Proposal will start at 6 p.m. This is an informational meeting designed for elected and appointed officials to find out about the impacts of the Palesky Proposal.  The objective of the program is to outline what the Palesky Proposal means to elected officials, managers and municipal staff and the challenges of implementing the proposal.

        The meeting will provide a review of the impacts on ten communities in Maine and examine in detail one of these towns. Also an expert panel will discuss economic impacts, legal and administrative issues, education impacts and the resulting impacts of Prop 13 on California.

        This meeting is scheduled during the MMA Convention, but you do not have to register for the convention to attend. The meeting is open to all municipal officials and there is no cost to attend. Come participate in this important issue that will go to the voters in November.

        The program for Thursday will start with a “Health Walk” sponsored by the Maine Municipal Employees Health Trust on the University of Maine at Augusta fitness trails. There will be a continental breakfast available and a busy day is scheduled to start promptly at 9 a.m.

        The Annual MMA Banquet will feature a keynote address by author, Bill Butterworth. Bill is one of the most sought after speakers in the country. Many people consider him the #1 humorist/expert on life and work issues. Bill also taught at the college level for thirteen years and was a counselor for six years prior to finding his current passion for motivating men and women in the workplace. He was awarded the Hal Holbrook Award by the International Platform Association, whose past members include Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Elizabeth Dole and Bob Hope. Bill has written over a dozen books, both under his own name and as a ghostwriter. They range from psychology to self-help issues, to the autobiography of one of the Dallas Cowboys. Also on the agenda is the announcement and recognition of the 2004 Municipal Leadership Program participants, and the presentation of the 2004 Ethel Kelley Award.

        We will close out the program on Friday with a breakfast and Gary Crocker, a Maine humorist and educator, who knows that laughter is the key to a well-balanced life. Gary heard his first stories from his Grandfather Russell. The two of them walked the Maine woods together while Grandfather Russell told Maine tales. But the man who had the most impact on Crocker’s decision to be a Maine humorist was the legendary Marshall Dodge. Gary has performed in Maine and throughout the United States. His audiences have ranged from a captivated four people to 30,000 Boy Scouts attending a jamboree at the Brunswick Naval Air Station. Eventually Gary plans to retire from his current position as a lobbyist for the Maine Technical College System and become a full-time humorist. Come finish the Convention with a good laugh!

        We are excited about this year’s program and looking forward to a large turnout. This edition of the Townsman contains detailed information about the programs offered at the convention. As in the past, members will be able to register on-line through MMA’s website at www.memun.org.

        See you in October!