SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1436        FILED ON: 1/20/2017

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1762


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



Michael F. Rush


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act establishing a commission on government accountability, economy, and efficiency.







Michael F. Rush

Norfolk and Suffolk


Paul McMurtry

11th Norfolk


SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1436        FILED ON: 1/20/2017

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1762

By Mr. Rush, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 1762) of Michael F. Rush and Paul McMurtry for legislation to establish a commission on government accountability, economy, and efficiency.  State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.


SEE SENATE, NO. 1714 OF 2015-2016.]


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the One Hundred and Ninetieth General Court



An Act establishing a commission on government accountability, economy, and efficiency.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. There is hereby established a special commission to investigate and study methods of improving the accountability, economy and efficiency of the government of the commonwealth and the operation of its agencies, departments, instrumentalities, and political subdivisions, hereinafter referred to as “the commission”.

SECTION 2. The purpose of the commission shall be to make recommendations to the governor and the general court to promote economy, efficiency, and improved service in the transaction of the  public business in the various departments, agencies, instrumentalities and political subdivisions in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state and local government, and in making the operation of all state departments, agencies, and instrumentalities, and local government and all expenditures of public funds, more directly responsive to the needs of the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions, by any or all of the following means:

(a) By adopting methods and procedures for reducing expenditures to the lowest amount consistent with the efficient performance of essential services, activities and functions.

(b) By eliminating duplication and overlapping services, activities, and functions, and time- consuming or wasteful practices.

(c) By consolidating services, activities, and functions of a similar nature.

(d) By abolishing services, activities, and functions not necessary to the efficient conduct of state or local government.

(e) By the elimination of unnecessary departments and agencies, the creation of necessary new departments and agencies, the reorganization of existing departments and agencies, and the transfer of functions and responsibilities among departments and agencies. 

(f) By defining or redefining duties and responsibilities of state or local officers. 

(g) By revising present provisions for continuing or permanent appropriations of state funds or bond authorizations, for whatever purpose, by eliminating any such existing provisions and by adopting new provisions.

(h) By establishing means for performance measurement and methods of reporting such measurement.

(i) Reorganizing all aspects of career public service including, but not limited to, methods of  recruitment and retention of public employees; training and re-training of public employees; job classification, salaries and benefits of public employees; discipline and termination of public employees, clarifying the state responsibilities and functions that are best served by regular public employees and those best served by contract employees; and encouraging and facilitating  opportunities for private sector and non-profit sector employees to work in state or local government for limited periods of time.

(j) By analyzing and evaluating all state and local contracts with private vendors for the purpose of confirming that all contracted approaches to the delivery of goods and services are accountable,  economical, and efficient.

(k) To review state requirements for contracting for goods and services and for the retention of  professional services to determine the most effective means of determining the most qualified vendor, including but not limited to, a review of the method by which state and local agencies, state authorities,  boards and commissions retain legal counsel, accounting, architectural and engineering services.

SECTION 3. The commission shall be comprised of the following members, each of whom shall serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority:

(a) Seven members appointed by the governor.  Not more than four of such members shall be registered voters in the same political party, and none shall hold public office in the executive branch of the state government.   Two of the seven shall have expertise in the management of municipal government and one shall have expertise in managing a major not for profit agency.  Appointments shall include, but not be limited to, residents of the commonwealth in the fields of business and government management, accounting, labor relations, finance, human relations or academic fields including, but not limited to, deans of schools of business or public administration.

(b) Three members of the senate who shall be the chair of the senate committee on ways and means, the chair of the senate committee on post audit and oversight,  and one member designated by the senate minority leader. 

(c) Three members of the house of representatives, who shall be the chair of the house committee on ways and means, the chair of the house committee on post audit and oversight, and one member designated by the house minority leader. 

(d) The governor, the president of the senate, and the speaker of the house, who shall jointly designate the chair or co-chairs of the special commission, shall each serve on the task force, ex- officio.  

(e) The auditor of the commonwealth and the inspector general of the commonwealth, ex-officio.

SECTION 4. The commission shall meet not less than quarterly and shall have the authority, subject to the approval of the secretary of administration and finance, to request staff support and research from state agencies to carry out its responsibilities. The commission may seek assistance from other organizations or individuals on a pro bono basis. The commission shall file annual reports with the clerk of the senate and the clerk of the house of representatives and shall make a final report not later than June 30, 2014 unless revived and continued for a longer period of time by the general court. The commission may make interim reports as appropriate in order to address the serious fiscal problems facing the commonwealth in the next few years.

In particular, the commission shall examine the feasibility of developing one or more pilot projects for the development and use of the Baldrige National Quality Program criteria by selected agencies to improve their capabilities and results, as well as to increase their sustainability.  The objective of each said pilot project is to help the participating agency to learn about and implement a framework of robust systems and processes that will enable them to withstand harsh budget conditions and continue to offer essential public services in a cost-effective manner.  A pilot project shall demonstrate the business case for improved results in service delivery using the Baldrige Criteria as set forth by the National Institute of Standards  and Technology, including alignment of agency goals with key systems and processes such as strategic planning, training of managers and staff in the principles of the criteria, attention to stakeholder satisfaction, complaint management and resolution, process management, succession planning, learning and development, and evaluation of programs.