In Brief

By Phil Orlandella

Martinez Named HHS New Chief

Marty Martinez who has spent his life serving residents and their communities has been named by Boston Mayor Martin Walsh as the new Chief of the City’s Health and Human Services cabinet.

“Marty will take on a leading role in ensuring a thriving, equitable Boston for over all, and I look forward to having him on our team and accomplishing even more,” the Mayor said.

Councilor Pressley Honored by NAACP

Councilor Ayanna Pressley has received the NAACP Ida B. Wells-Barnett Award 2017 Freedom Fund Dinner.

The Councilor was the recipient of the NAACP Lifetime Achievement award. “To receive this award is full humbling and motivating,” she said.

Council Presley thanked the Boston Branch NAACP and its members for this honor.

Commonwealth Supports Freight Transportation System

Steps to increase investment in the State’s Freight System was recently supported by MassDOT and Massport that invites the public to provide feedback on the plan until Wednesday, December 6.

The plan includes a comprehensive list of freight transportation the Commonwealth may adopt in order to ensure that the $500 billion multimodal system remains safe, reliable, sustainable and economically productive.

The Baker-Polito Administration understands how important it is for the state to have a modern and efficient road and rail network for the transportation of freight and encourages input from the public.

Council Questions School Budget

The Boston Public School Transportation Department has been questioned by the Boston City Council for not living up to its promise fiscal year budget, cuts have not been accomplished.

The budget for 2017-18 school year was $104 million with a savings of $10 million for the transportation budget has reportedly risen to $116 million.

City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George is calling for a hearing with BPS to figure out the discrepancy.

Drew Smith to Lead Treasury

Drew Smith has been selected by Mayor Martin Walsh to lead Boston’s Treasury, following 10 years of experience in treasury roles with the state.

As the department head for the City’s Treasury, Smith will be responsible for the management of revenue and distribution, manage the city’s long-term debt and trust fund and oversee the implementation of all Treasury statutory and regulations requirements.

“I have confidence that Drew will put in the hard work to ensure the city remains in great standing,” Mayor Walsh said.

All Electronic Tolling Update

An update regarding the successful transition to All Electronic Tolling following the ending of manual toll collections approximately one year ago was provided by MassDOT to the Department of Transportation Board of Directors.

Since 2016, the AET system has approximately processed half a billion tolling transactions with approximately 80% of the trips occurring with customers using an E-ZPassMA transponder and receiving a total discount in doing so.

Esplanade Association Names New Executive Director

Attorney Michael Nichols of Boston has been named Executive Director for the non-profit of the Esplanade Association by the Board of Directors.

Nichols and experience public servant and non-profit professional will start on Wednesday, November 29.

Governor Baker Files Drug Measures

In a move to combat the opioid crisis, Governor Charlie Baker is pushing for new measures, including an overdose halting drug available over-the-counter, in a move to address what he labeled “big gaps and problems” in the state’s addiction legislation.

A bill filed by Governor Baker, calls for the medical work is to get addicts into treatment, development standards for treatment programs and recovery coaches, compile data on what treatments work, increase access to the overdose reversing drug naloxine, commonly known as Narcan and invest $2 million in an educational trust fund for intervention programs.

Current Pot Tax Will Not Cover City’s Costs

Boston City Councilors are being encouraged by Mayor Martin Walsh to tax legal weed to the max for every pot shop in the city when the business officially starts in July.

Apparently, a three percent option tax is seen by the Mayor’s Office as not enough to police the new industry.

            Adopting a three percent local state tax to contribute toward the city’s funding will cover the annual cost of regulating, enforcement and education.