STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

PATRICK PUSHES OPEB REFORM AT MASS MUNI ASSOC

Public employee retirement health care "is the biggest fiscal overhang in just about every community in the Commonwealth," Gov. Deval Patrick told local officials, asking the Massachusetts Municipal Association to change its position on the subject during an unscheduled visit to its annual meeting in Boston Friday. He said the representative of the MMA was the only member on a commission studying other post-employment benefit reform, such as retiree health benefits, that did not sign onto the panel's recommendations. "That's contributing to its stalling politically on Beacon Hill, so I want to ask you to reconsider. The estimated savings are $12 billion," Patrick said in the middle of a panel that included Secretary of Administration and Finance Glen Shor, according to a recording of his remarks. The governor asked the organization of city and town governments to reconsider and get the issue "back on the agenda" before the Legislature ends its formal sessions for the year. Patrick also touted increases in local aid and capital expenditures during his tenure, and said that he had not been planning to attend because he had been visiting with Boston Marathon bombing survivors planning for the "huge" anniversary in April. Patrick's fiscal 2015 budget proposal was criticized by MMA Executive Director Geoff Beckwith this week for level funding unrestricted local aid, but the governor's budget plan did boost Chapter 70 aid for schools by $100 million. Patrick said in the evening he is going to sit shiva, the Jewish tradition for mourning the recently deceased, with a friend. The Committee on Public Service plans to meet on Tuesday for an oversight hearing on municipal efforts to pay for pension and other post-employment benefits. - A. Metzger/SHNS

COGLIANO GIVES UP GOP POST AMID RUN FOR CONGRESS

Plymouth County GOP Chairman Vincent Cogliano Jr. of Pembroke, one of three Republicans running for the Congressional seat held by Rep. William Keating, stepped down from his post earlier this week, effective immediately, with Mark Townsend taking over the job. In an email on Friday, Cogliano wrote, "The reason voters of Plymouth County elect so many Republicans is because we have great candidates and once they get elected they earn the respect of people on both sides of the aisle through their dedication and commitment to the highest level of constituent services. I am proud to be associated with them. Although I will be leaving the Plymouth County GOP I will remain active politically. Watch for a major announcement soon." Cogliano thanked the area's elected Republicans, including Sen. Robert Hedlund, Reps. Vinny deMacedo, Susan Williams Gifford, Geoff Diehl, Angelo D'Emilia, Keiko Orrall, and Randy Hunt, as well as District Attorney Tim Cruz and Sheriff Joseph McDonald Jr. Republican candidate for lieutenant governor Karyn Polito plans to hold a meet and greet Saturday at 5 p.m. in Plymouth. - M. Norton.SHNS