ITEM PHOTO BY SPENSER HASAK
Marblehead Town Administrator John McGinn and other town officials listen as Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito speaks about the importance of a community compact before signing Marblehead’s on Tuesday.
By GAYLA CAWLEY
MARBLEHEAD — Town officials signed a community compact with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito on Tuesday, with a commitment to focus on improving information technology and climate change adaptation and resilience.
Marblehead became the 288th municipality to sign a community compact, out of the state’s 351 cities and towns.
The community compact is a voluntary, mutual agreement entered into by the Gov. Charlie Baker-Polito administration and individual cities and towns. In the compact, a community agrees to implement their selected best practices and the Commonwealth makes a commitment to help the municipality achieve their chosen best practices.
“We’re very happy to have Marblehead join the ranks of so many other Massachusetts communities in signing a community compact,” said Town Administrator John McGinn. “Today, we’re officially pledging to pursue three best practices.”
McGinn said the practices are to complete a cybersecurity assessment to improve performance, digitize the town’s paper records to improve efficiency, and pursue an inventory of existing resources and assess the town’s vulnerabilities to climate change adaptation. He said climate change is an issue that’s of major concern, particularly with coastal communities such as Marblehead.
Through the partnership, Marblehead has received a $17,000 grant to complete the vulnerability assessment for climate change adaptation and resilience, Polito said. The Commonwealth is providing a $15,000 grant so the town can hire a consultant to perform a cybersecurity assessment and develop a strategy document.
MassIT’s Office of Municipal and School Technology will provide consulting services to officials for their townwide archiving project. McGinn said the process to digitize paper records has already started.
“It is so critical that we have a strong relationship between state and local government and we view that as enabling us as an administration to better strengthen the whole Commonwealth, not for Beacon Hill, but through the grassroots,” Polito said. “If we can help every single community embed best practices and update policies to modernize the way municipalities deliver service, we will knit together a stronger Commonwealth through all 351 cities and towns.
“This is a two-way commitment,” Polito continued. “You’re signing up to do your best practices to strengthen your local government and we’re doing our part as state government by providing the resources, being a reliable partner, being a predictable partner in state government.”
Polito praised state Rep. Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead), who was in attendance, for her advocacy for her district and the community compact program.
“There’s something very special about the partnership that is forming,” Ehrlich said. “It’s focused on best practices. I think in so many ways, there are some best practices happening right here in Massachusetts and in our local communities and to bring it all together, it just feels important…The town is run beautifully. Obviously, there are some things we can work on and it’s nice to have your partnership as we pursue those things.”
Gayla Cawley can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.