Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Senate Republican Caucus Seeks to Initiate Dialogue with Municipal Officials

Responding to issues brought to light by municipal officials concerning the Commonwealth's unemployment insurance benefits program, the Senate Republican Caucus has invited Geoffrey Beckwith of the Massachusetts Municipal Association and a coalition of municipal officials to the State House to assist in the exploration of whether a legislative package is needed to ensure the proper expenditure of precious taxpayer dollars to those who truly need it.

Lynnfield Town Administrator William Gustus and 23 other municipal officials recently sent a letter to Governor Patrick revealing several circumstances of exploitation of the unemployment insurance benefits program. I joined with Assistant Senate Minority Leader Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth), Senate Minority Whip Richard Ross (R-Wrentham) and Senator Michael Knapik (R-Westfield), the Ranking Republican on the Senate Ways and Means Committee in contacting both the municipal officials and Executive Director Beckwith in a letter sent to them on Friday to arrange a meeting, stating that "state government should act swiftly to address the concerns raised to expedite the prevention of the wasteful loss of taxpayers' dollars."

Compelled to take action, the caucus wrote, "Public dollars, especially during these fiscal times, need to be protected and allocated wisely with the utmost of prudence. Unfortunately, the approval of the particular cases presented to and approved by the Department of Unemployment Assistance Review Board do not demonstrate that prudence."

The Senate Republican Caucus plans to host meetings with municipal officials in an effort to close the loopholes that are costing municipalities precious public dollars. In the caucus letter, the Senate Republicans state they intend to "offer a comprehensive legislative package that will address these very concerns." Adding, "Restoring integrity into an unemployment benefits system that many so rightfully depend on is paramount."

Posted below is the letter sent by the Senate Republican Caucus to Lynnfield Town Administrator William Gustus.

Letter to Lynnfield Town Admin. Gustus 3.1