On January 4, the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) released a report that included recommendations to increase deductibles, raise prescription drug costs and change the design of healthcare plans for public employees.
The following week, MOSES joined with other public employee unions in pushing to delay the implementation of these recommendations until after the GIC holds a public hearing on the proposed changes. Despite our collective effort, as well as support from House and Senate leadership, on Thursday, January 19, the GIC voted to provide provisional approval for these recommendations. These changes may cost your family hundreds of dollars each year.
Attend the public hearing. Given the GIC's initial approval of these cost shifts, it is critical that MOSES members make their opposition heard at a public hearing on February 1 at 12:30 - 2:30 pm (Rabb Hall, Boston Public Library). We strongly urge everyone who can to attend this hearing to come and protest the unfair increases in medical costs for public employees.
Submit testimony. If you are unable to attend in person, submitting a short, written testimony for the record is helpful. This is an opportunity to tell your personal story or express your concerns about how increases in deductibles and co-pays will affect your families' budget! Here are some suggested talk/email points to include in your call/email.
Please let our Legislative Director, Liz Murphy, know if you can attend the hearing in person or if you are willing to submit written testimony (email@example.com) or call with questions (617.367.2727 ext. 318).
Share this image. The chart below shows clearly how cost "sharing" is really cost shifting. Beginning in 2009, public employees have steadily taken on a higher percent of their healthcare costs while the state has steadily decreased its share. In 2016, public employees paid the highest share to date - nearly 28% - of the costs, while the state paid their lowest - 72%. The proposed GIC changes would continue and accelerate these trend lines in the wrong directions.
MOSES MassDOT members (volunteers at the conference); Highway Administrator Tom Tinlin (with tie); MassDOT Secretary & CEO Stephanie Pollack (in red); and officials from the Federal Highway Administration are pictured below at the 2016 Annual Meeting held in Boston. Considered one of the industry’s most important events that brings together transportation, government and commercial organizations, the Annual Meeting offers industry professionals the opportunity to network and share the latest in policies and innovations.
Key topics addressed at this year’s meeting included intermodal transportation development and its direct impact on statewide economics; examination of user fee alternatives to the traditional fuel tax framework; and the viability of automated vehicle technologies as a great potential for improving safety, mobility and efficiency within the transportation system, to name a few.
MOSES President Joe Dorant shared, “It was quite an event. Great minds and great people joined together, sharing state-of-the-art ideas and information, all in the name of improving transportation."
MOSES MassDOT members were recently featured in multiple news stories on WBZ-TV4, WCVB-TV5 and FOX25, as well as in the Boston Globe.
During the underwater inspection of a bridge over the Neponset River, Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack and Highway Administrator Tom Tinlin took time to praise the Underwater Operations Section for its unseen work to keep state bridges safe for the public.
“It’s very crucial for the safety of the public,” MOSES member Randi Bonica, the Underwater Operations Engineer, shares. “They don’t know what’s going on underneath the water. The only way to determine if there are any issues is if we inspect it.”
Brian Clang, also a MOSES member, is the State Bridge Inspection Engineer and oversees the dive team. He explains, "Underwater bridge inspection is likely the least visible role of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, but perhaps one of the most critical. Our 22-member team of full- and part-time divers take on tough conditions to inspect - below the water - the state's approximate 1,000 bridges. Additionally, we supply the labor and underwater repairs at no charge, so the savings to cities and towns to keep bridges not owned by the state safe is substantial."
The dive team inspects approximately 400 bridges annually throughout the Commonwealth. They dive year-round, making inspections, as well as repairs, as needed. The current dive team consists of five full-time divers and an additional 17 part-time divers, each of whom work in various engineering positions within MassDOT. All divers make at least 20 dives a year and must complete an initial 100-hour in-house dive training course, an 80-hour National Highway Institute bridge inspection course, as well as other ongoing dive and engineering training.
Joe Dorant, president of MOSES, observes, "The commitment by each of our members to this important and much-needed service provided by MassDOT is staggering. Their work is not only strenuous, but can be hazardous, as well. Yet, since 1973, when the Underwater Operations Section was formed, there have been no diving injuries. This fact alone is a testament to the extensive and continuous training each member completes."
Kudos to Randi and all the MOSES members of MassDOT's dive team, including Gordon Broz, Bill Colleran (eastern area dive coordinator), Brian Fitzgerald and John Mankowsky (western area dive coordinator), all full-time divers, as well as the part-time dive team that includes Steve Ausevich, Mike Bastoni, Allen Bondeson, Barry Courville, Mike Dostal, Bryan Engstrom, Bill Ferry, Steve Finck, Zach Gikas, Mark Griffin, Ali Jalinous, Carrie Lavallee, Dan Mastrangelo, Tom Prendergast, Dennis Simkhovich,Roger Wykes and Joe Graham with the United Steel Workers.
Watch the story by reporter Anna Meiler of WBZ-TV4 here: http://boston.cbslocal.com/2016/11/04/massdot-dive-team-bridge-safety/
The votes have been counted and the results are in. These results must be approved by the members present at the December 13, 2016 General Membership Meeting. Once the Election Committee report is accepted, the new Officers and Trustees will be sworn in for a new two year term. A total of 1,273 ballots were received (36% of membership).
For a complete election vote summary, please click here.
At-Large Contest results:
Joe Dorant (DEP)
1062 - Unopposed
Patrick Russell (MWRA)
742 - Elected
David Baker (MassDOT)
Allen Bondeson (MassDOT)
824 - Elected
Jennifer Marsh Baker (Military Div)
Jim Galvin (MassDOT)
948 - Unopposed
Trustees (3 Seats)
Mary Richards (Retiree)
849 - Uncontested
Paul DiPietro (Retiree)
820 - Uncontested
Vincent A Long (Retiree)
803 - Uncontested
For a complete election vote summary, please click here.
The Election Committee:
Louis Sciortino - Retiree MDC - Co-chair
Robert Danilecki - Retiree DHCD - Co-chair
Arne Carr - Retiree - DFW
Stephen Hawko - Reiree DEP
Norman Goldman - Retiree DOT
Paul Petrowski - EOL
Chuck Salemi -Retiree POL
As far as anglers are concerned, it is “reel” good news when 500,000 brook, brown, rainbow and tiger trout are stocked in rivers, streams, lakes and ponds throughout Massachusetts.
Each year, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife (MassWildlife) oversees the state’s trout stocking program, a coordinated effort to raise and release hundreds of thousands of fish into roughly 500 rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. The Bay State began stocking its waterways with fish in the 1870s.
Raised at one of five fish hatcheries in the state, stocking runs through the spring months. MOSES member Ken Simmons, Ph.D., chief of hatcheries for the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, explains, “Without the stockings, there would be fewer trout to catch. Natural trout reproduction just can’t keep up with angling demands. By stocking our waterways, we provide enhanced recreation for all who fish in Massachusetts.” The stocking program is funded by the sale of state sporting licenses and federal reimbursements from taxes paid on sporting tackle. Annually, more than 500,000 people fish the state’s waters and visit the hatcheries.
(Pictured above (left to right): Joe Dorant, president, Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers & Scientists, with fellow MOSES members from the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife: Steve Hurley, Southeast District Fisheries manager; Adam Davies, fish culturist and Sandwich Hatchery manager; and Ken Simmons, chief of hatcheries.)
The stocking total for spring 2016 was close to 500,000 fish: 89,580 brook trout; 265,050 rainbow trout; 129,630 brown trout; and 2,900 tiger trout. The fish vary in size from 9-18 inches, depending on their age. Simmons points out, “More than half of our stock average over 14 inches in length, with the majority at least 12 inches long.” Fall stocking season begins around the last week of September and is completed by the second week of October depending on water temperatures. Fall 2016 will see more than 60,000 rainbow trout that are 12 inches or longer stocked in Massachusetts water bodies. As was the case with the 2016 spring season, anglers will be able to view daily stocking reports and search by water body or town. The interactive stocking map can be found here: Mass.gov/Trout.
Thanks to MOSES members advocacy, vetoes from Governor Baker (which would have negatively impacted MOSES members) were defeated. These included an override of a health insurance premium increase and restoration of $7 million in cuts to both the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation & Recreation budgets.
MOSES, along with other unions, turned out in full force in opposition to Governor Baker’s recent proposal to cap sick leave accruals at 1,000 hours for Executive Branch employees. His bill, House Bill 4341, An Act to Reform Sick Time, was filed in response to multiple stories in the Boston Business Journal which highlighted high-level personnel at campuses across the public higher education system cashing out hundreds of thousands of dollars in unused sick time at the end of their careers. Under Baker’s proposal, Executive Branch employee’s sick time would be capped at 1,000 hours. Those with more than 1,000 hours at the time the bill is signed would be grandfathered into keeping their sick time, but could not accrue any more.
2016 MOSES Scholarship winners were drawn at September’s General Membership meeting in Raynham, Mass. A total of 24 scholarships (23-$750 scholarships and one $1,500 scholarship) were distributed to help defray educational expenses.
Joe Dorant, president of the Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers & Scientists, shared, “I am proud that our board voted to increase each award amount by 50%. Member families count on this support to help pay higher education expenses and the MOSES leadership gets that.”
The U.S. Board of Geographic Names has labeled a brook on the Harvard Forest property in Petersham, Mass., as ‘Arthur Brook’ in honor of former MOSES member and environmental champion, Arthur John Screpetis (1950-2009). The brook is a 1.1 mile tributary to the larger Bigelow Brook.
Fellow coworker and MOSES member Warren Kimball, retired, submitted the petition to name the brook after Arthur.
Screpetis, a 37-year employee of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and a MOSES member, began his career with the Commonwealth working for the Division of Water Pollution Control. In 1974 he was one of the primary authors of operational protocols for water quality monitoring in lakes. He participated in the research and development of, and the funding for, numerous cooperative projects with State and Federal agencies, including the Massachusetts Stream Classification Project. His work on the development and implementation of the Mass. Watershed Initiative and the Mass. Estuaries Program was especially impactful.
Throughout his career, Screpetis received numerous recognitions for his “outstanding service,” including the prestigious Manuel Carballo Award for Excellence, primarily due to his work on the Watershed Initiative. According to Joe Dorant, MOSES president, “Arthur is remembered for his many years of dedicated service to both DEP and the many rivers, streams and wetlands that his work saved. The work he completed on the development of the state stream and lake inventories is still in use today. Just as important as Art’s devotion to his work for the Commonwealth was his interests as a naturalist and wildlife biologist.”
Mr. Screpetis belonged to many associations and organizations, including MOSES, The Wildlife Society, the American Society of Mammalogists, the Association of Field Ornithologists, the Eastern Bird Banding Association, the American Ornithologists Union, the New England Botanical Club, the Society of Wetland Scientists, and the Northeastern Naturalist-Humboldt Field Research Institute, to name a few.
A native of Lowell, Mass., Art was an experienced astronomer, avid runner, professional nature photographer and baseball enthusiast. Pictured below is Arthur (right) and fellow MassDEP “Water Wrats” (and MOSES members) Dave Howland (left) and Warren Kimball (center).
DCR Engineer Honored by the Mass. Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health
(Pictured (left to right): Darryl Forgione, MOSES President Joe Dorant and Alex Brown, MassCOSH board member and representative of the North Shore Labor Council.)
The Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) named Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers & Scientists (MOSES) Board Member Darryl Forgione of Ipswich the 2015 Buddy Adams Award recipient.
The award, presented this year by the North Shore Labor Council, recognizes a resident who has demonstrated leadership and dedication to ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of workers in the Commonwealth. It is named in memory of Buddy Adams, a member of IUE-CWA local 201 who, fought for better health and safety conditions through activism at General Electric.
Forgione, an engineer with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), has been a longtime champion of occupational safety.
In his 20 years of advocacy, Forgione has built an effective labor-management health and safety committee. Together, they study injury data with an eye to reducing areas where accidents trend; work to get personal safety equipment and training for employees; regularly testify before the Massachusetts legislature in support of safety bills, including the recently passed bill extending OSHA protections to executive branch employees; and develop health and safety policies to keep fellow workers from harm, among other efforts.
“I am very vocal about safety,” Forgione explains. “If my efforts can help educate everyone to better understand everyday risks in the workplace and, in turn, mitigate these potential hazards, I’m happy to do it. Being safe on the job saves lives, money and heartache. I know that I, as well as my fellow workers, work hard to create a safe work environment, and this award is an honor for all of us.”
Joe Dorant, president of MOSES, observes, “An effective workplace safety program starts with a strong and visible commitment to safety and touches every level of the organization. Each and every day, Darryl leads by example by encouraging safe practices and procedures and exemplifying his commitment to ’safety first.' The Commonwealth is well served by MOSES members like Darryl, who recognize that workplace safety programs, with a focus on prevention, are key to ensuring dedicated public servants remain safe and protected on the job.”
DCR Acting Commissioner Daniel Sieger shares, “This recognition highlights the dedication and determination that employees like Darryl have made to create a safe work environment. We at DCR are especially proud to have one of our engineers receive this prestigious award.”
“Darryl truly embodies the passion and dedication to health and safety of the late Buddy Adams,” says Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, executive director, MassCOSH. “Darryl has devoted decades of his career to ensuring that his fellow workers can do their jobs protecting our state’s parks and return home safely to their families. We all owe a debt of gratitude to him.”
Representative Bradford Hill (R-Ipswich) says, “Darryl Forgione is an invaluable employee of the Department of Conservation and Recreation due to his commitment to safety in the workplace. The Commonwealth is lucky to have Darryl, and I am proud to call him a constituent."
Every day, throughout the Commonwealth, thousands of professional engineers and scientists dedicate themselves to serving the public interest. They provide protection from life threatening dangers; assure the quality of our air and water; design, build and preserve our roads and bridges; and ensure that our workplaces and homes are safe from toxins. These employees all have one thing in common – they are members of the Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers and Scientists (MOSES), a professional organization 3,200 members strong dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for Massachusetts’ residents through science and engineering.