Read the full text of the email sent to state employees by Governor Baker.
Good afternoon -
It’s been just about 30 days since the Baker / Polito team went to work with you on behalf of the people of this great state. Suffice it to say it’s been an eventful few weeks. Let me start by thanking the folks who’ve been involved in managing the Commonwealth’s recent record-breaking snowfall. While it hasn’t been perfect – and at times, it’s been deeply frustrating for many of us (including me) – Karyn and I have been immensely impressed by the creativity, teamwork, and sense of mission many of you brought to the public safety, snow removal and disposal, local communications, debris removal, transportation and power restoration issues laid on us all by the past couple of weeks of weather. While a weather event like this may stress our resources, it also provides an opportunity to demonstrate to our constituents the critical importance of the difficult work their state government does every day. And in this instance, we mostly put our best foot forward.
I’m also assuming we’ll have plenty of opportunities to get together around these issues again in the coming months. Thank-you Mother Nature.
We’ve also filed a proposal with the state legislature to deal with the $768 MM Fiscal Year 2015 deficit we inherited. Some of our proposals can be implemented on our own, and others require legislative approval. That said, we believe they represent the right combination of revenue moves and spending reductions, and will put the Commonwealth on much better financial footing as we begin to plan for FY 2016. If the legislature enacts our proposals, FY 2015 state spending will be 7.7% higher than it was in FY 2014. That kind of year over year increase in spending will be impossible to sustain going forward, even in a relatively healthy economy. To reduce the impact on the people we serve, many of these spending reductions focus on administrative expenses. With that in mind, we’ve chosen to lead by example and have reduced the Governor’s office budget by 10 percent.
We’ve also sworn in a new Cabinet, and will continue to build out our leadership team in the coming months. While our team represents a variety of points of view, to a person, they bring solid subject matter expertise, management experience, and a big dose of professional experiences in both the public and private sectors to their chosen tasks. I want to thank all of them for saying “yes” when Karyn and I asked them to join the team.
We will have many challenges in the weeks, months and years ahead. I know this because I’ve been here before. For those of you who are too young to remember, I spent 8 years serving the Cabinets of Governors Bill Weld and Paul Cellucci in the 1990s, and learned, among other things, that every day presented its own unique set of challenges. But I also learned that with those challenges came enormous opportunity – to think differently about how to get something done, or to pursue a better, smarter, more cost effective way to provide a service. I also learned that getting something right – really right – could make a big difference to a ton of people, which in many respects, drives my interest in and commitment to public service.
We have a lot of work to do. Some of it won’t be pretty – at least in the short term. But know this, with this team, you have a leadership group that is open to change, wants to do better, and believes that success is never final. There is always a better way.
We all look forward to working with you all to find that better way.