Saturday, May 19, 2007

Governor Patrick Announces New Members of the Springfield Finance Control Board

SPRINGFIELD– Saturday, May 19, 2007 – Governor Deval Patrick today named three new members to the Finance Control Board, seeking to build on the success the board has achieved in revitalizing the city and restoring its finances.

Patrick named Chris Gabrieli, founder of the non-profit Massachusetts 2020 and a businessman, as chair of the Finance Control Board. The Governor also tapped James Morton, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Springfield, and Robert Nunes, deputy commissioner for the Department of Revenue’s division of local services and former mayor of the city of Taunton.

The three new members will work with Mayor Charles Ryan and City Council President Kateri Walsh, who will continue to serve as ex-officio members of the board, which state lawmakers created in 2004.

“Chris, James and Bob bring a tremendous wealth of experience and knowledge to the board. They are each unique and talented leaders who will work to improve the overall quality of life in Springfield,” Governor Patrick said. “When their work is completed, it is my hope that Springfield will become a shining example of what can be achieved when the state and municipal governments, as well as business and community leaders, work together.”

The new members will replace Alan LeBovidge, Jake Jacobson, and Tom Gloster, who Patrick thanked for their hard work and dedication in stabilizing Springfield’s fiscal situation. The current members will serve on the board until they approve the fiscal 2008 budget next month. In the meantime, the incoming board members will use the transition period to engage with a variety of stakeholders in Springfield and across the state.

“I am excited by the opportunity to serve the Commonwealth and the City of Springfield, and I can’t wait to get started,” said Chris Gabrieli. “I appreciate the hard work of those who have come before me and the very important progress they have made. I look forward to taking on the challenges that lay ahead. Our goals are simple—long-term financial stability, economic growth, strong public schools, accountable government and a return to self-rule.”

The reconstituted board will provide a comprehensive review of the city’s governance structure. That will include implementing performance-based budgeting and management and the creation of a Governance Study Commission to examine the way Springfield is managed.

The board will also work to ensure that Springfield school children have access to the best educational opportunities available by beginning a top-to-bottom review of the school system.

Gabrieli brings to the board years of experience as a leader in education innovation, business and public service.

Following the success of GMIS, the healthcare software company he co-founded, Gabrieli joined Bessemer Venture Partners, where he has been active for the last 15 years. In 2000, he co-founded Massachusetts 2020, an educational nonprofit focused on expanding the economic and educational opportunities for children families across Massachusetts, and which is currently leading Massachusetts’ first-in-the-nation initiative to redesign and expand learning time at public schools. Gabrieli is also the founder and Chairman of Boston's After-School for All Partnership, a $25 million collaboration of the City of Boston and twelve foundations, universities and corporations aimed at expanding and improving after-school opportunities for children.

Morton is a well known leader in Springfield, serving as President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Springfield. Before joining the YMCA, Morton was a history teacher at the High School of Commerce, where he participated in the development of curriculum for the Law and Government Program, chaired the School Centered Decision Making Team, and served as a member of the Accreditation Steering Committee.

An attorney with his own practice from 1993 to 1999, Morton has also served as the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Career Development Institute, Inc. and of the Hampden County Employment and Training Consortium, managing the agency’s multi-million dollar budget and overseeing a staff of 22.

Currently, an adjunct professor at Springfield College in the School of Human Services, Morton has also taught at Elms College, Western New England School of Law, and Northeastern University School of Law.

“I am honored to have been selected by the Governor to serve on the Springfield Finance Control Board (FCB),” Morton said. “The previous FCB did a great job of managing the city’s finances and implementing policies and procedures designed to maximize the efficient operation of city government. I look forward to continuing in that vain and to moving toward the day when the FCB will be obsolete—to the day when our city can return to self-governance. This is an enormous responsibility, and I will endeavor to always serve the best interests of our City and its residents.”

As Director of Local Affairs for the Patrick/Murray administration, Nunes runs the Division of Local Services within the Department of Local Revenue and serves as the main contact point between cities and towns and state government.

Nunes brings to the job 25 years of local and state government experience and was the longest serving mayor in Taunton’s history. As mayor, he managed the city out of two fiscal crises in 1992 and 2004 and built four new schools in 10 years without debt exclusion.

Nunes is also a past President of the Massachusetts Mayors Association and a former member of the Local Government Advisory Council.

“As a former mayor I have a keen understanding of the challenges cities sometimes face,” said Nunes. “I look forward to using my experience in local government to help reinvigorate Springfield and make it a model of success for other cities.”

In addition to its responsibilities, the new board will aide in documenting the best practices that take hold in Springfield, and recommending them to enhance city management across Massachusetts.

“Springfield has come along way,” said Governor Patrick. “Today I believe that we have the right team, the right mission and the commitment from all parties to ensure the continued re-emergence of this great city.”

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