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MOSES Member Featured on FOX-25 News Segment

MOSES Member, Dave Wattles, a biologist with the Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, was featured in a FOX25-TV segment on the increase of wildlife showing up in the suburbs. Speaking with the morning show’s anchor, Gene Lavanchy, Wattles offered some great insight for the uptick. Watch the segment here or read it below.

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(Courtesy image: FOX25-TV)

Most people go to the zoo when they want to experience wildlife, but increasingly in local suburbs, they can see a wide array of animals in their neighborhoods and backyards.

Here in Massachusetts, nature is on a roll.

All kinds of species are returning to places they haven’t been in years and that’s making many people nervous.

Stacey Leighton and her family recently had a coyote come right up to their front door.

"My heart was racing," said Leighton.

Leighton has a first-grade son and a small Pomeranian named Addie and she is concerned for their safety.  

"A lot times I feel like we are in the Wild Kingdom right now, in the middle of Medfield!" said Leighton.

This is a common scenario across Massachusetts as wild turkeys are taking over streets in Brookline and bears are coming right onto porches looking for snacks.  

A woman hiking in the Saugus woods with her dog ended up climbing a tree and calling 911 when she encountered a coyote.

Dave Wattles, MOSES member and a biologist with the Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife says many species have come back in big numbers.

One reason for this surge is that the state has more forests today because farms have closed and something known as “Re-Forestization” has taken place.

"There is a lot of forest and habitat,” said Wattles. “But there is a lot of places where we have punched development into those blocks of forest.  So now you have housing developments that finger into those forest blocks that are natural habitat for wildlife, so there is an immediate association between the neighborhoods.”

This is particularly true when those animals are hungry and are looking for easy sources of food.

“The main driver of all the issues in these suburban areas is people who are providing food to the wildlife both intentionally and unintentionally,” said Wattles.  “The reason the animals are there is the food rewards they get.”

Another contributing factor has been the push in many communities to preserve open space or create parks. It turns out the animals like them just as much as we do.

In general, these animals aren’t harmful if people give them space.  

“Coyotes in reality are only about 40 lbs. in Massachusetts so they don't pose a great threat to people. We have coyotes in every single town in Massachusetts, including downtown Boston.  We've only ever had 10 incidents where coyotes have bitten people,” explained Wattles.

While there is an upside to seeing nature flourish, it’s still a little unsettling for some people to have it happening on their front steps.  

“The coyotes, the foxes, the hawks,” said Leighton. “I’m shocked that they’re really so close to my home.”

The state has put together a tip sheet for residents on how to deal with wildlife.

https://www.fox25boston.com/news/why-more-wildlife-is-showing-up-in-suburbs/767248154

 

MOSES SIGNS SUCESSOR AGREEMENT WITH COMMONWEALTH

Ratification Vote set for Wednesday June 6, 2018 (Contract vote was 843 accept; 33 reject; 3 challenge ballots)
This does not include members from MassDOT and MWRA!

On Tuesday evening, May 22, 2018, your MOSES Collective Bargaining Committee reached a tentative Agreement with the Commonwealth, which covers the period from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020. This proposed agreement is subject to ratification by Commonwealth Unit 9 employees and the funding is then subject to approval of the Massachusetts Legislature.

MOSES DEP Members Lend Expertise to Hurricane Relief Efforts

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Widespread natural disasters, including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, as well as torrential rainfall throughout the Northwest and wild fires in California, elevated the need for trained emergency response volunteers across the country. Without skipping a beat, MOSES members from MassDEP stepped up to help victims of these devastating disasters.
                     
Joe Dorant, president, Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers & Scientists, shares, “MassDEP plays a key role during emergencies in our own state, but providing our skilled scientists and engineers to deal with immediate and long-term impacts of natural disasters like hurricanes or wild fires occurring in other states is new to the agency. It doesn’t surprise me that our members stepped right up to help.”
 
Meet MOSES member Tom Mahin, an environmental engineer with MassDEP’s Northeast Regional Office Drinking Water division. He has long volunteered and provided skilled advice for organizations such as Americares, the international collaborative non-profit delivering, among many things, emergency programs and services in times of disaster. Mahin, who also volunteered in Puerto Rico last year, was recently in Texas – six months after Hurricane Harvey touched down – meeting and evaluating plans with local emergency workers as they follow-up with collecting samples from the area’s 1,800 flooded home wells. He explains, “The rural towns between Houston and the Gulf were hard hit. Many bayous and rivers flooded, including local parts of the 800-mile-long Brazos River, spreading contamination throughout the area.” Using his MassDEP skills and knowledge, Mahin is a perfect example of the long-term recovery efforts Americares provides to disaster devastated communities. 
 
Upon Governor Baker’s speedy authorization to send emergency workers to assist with response and recovery in all disaster areas, two assistance mechanisms kicked in: the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Surge.
 
EMAC is a program between states to share resources during a crisis as part of that state’s emergency management agency (EMA). When a state EMA is in the midst of an emergency and has exhausted their own resources (people, equipment, etc.), they put out a request for the type of help they need to other state emergency management agencies.
 
As part of the EMAC program, MOSES members Amy Finch, from MassDEP’s Central Regional Office Water Supply group, and Ray Reimold, of MassDEP’s Southeast Regional Office Emergency Response team, went down for a 15-day deployment to support the Florida Emergency Management Agency. 
 
Both were deployed to the Florida State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Tallahassee. Reimold explains, “I served as the Deputy Infrastructure Branch Director. Working the overnight between 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., we were tasked with coordinating emergency infrastructure support functions for communications (i.e., cell phones, 2-way emergency radios and telephones for police and fire); transportation (roads, highways and ships/ports); energy (getting gasoline and diesel supplies to gas stations, as wells as setting up temporary fuel stations for emergency personnel); and electricity (including all necessary logistics to maintain generators to keep traffic lights on, hospitals open and pumps to wastewater systems operational).”
 
Finch, also deployed to the Florida SEOC in the same capacity as Reimold, shares, “It was such a rewarding experience to be able to help the people of Florida. Ray and I shared similar titles, but my duties focused on tasking and prioritizing mission requests from impacted counties; solving issues with missions that may arise; fielding questions from the Emergency Support Functions personnel; writing required daily reports; coordinating generator requests; and updating the Incident Action Plan.” 
 
Nationally, FEMA uses a tiered process to request support from other states during a disaster. Tier 1 sees FEMA reaching out to its own FEMA region for assistance. Tier 2 reaches out to all FEMA for help. Tier 3 is FEMA asking Dept. of Homeland Security (parent agency) for additional support. Tier 4 is FEMA asking all sister federal agencies for aid. And Tier 5 is FEMA asking state, tribal and locals for reinforcement. The three serious hurricanes, plus the California fires, on top of a busy emergency year, resulted in FEMA elevating its status to Tier 5.
 
MOSES member Nick Child, MassDEP’s chief emergency planning and preparedness officer, along with volunteers from MEMA, MassDPH and the Marion Fire Department were selected to deploy as Tier 5 FEMA support from Massachusetts. 
 
Child landed on the western coast of Puerto Rico, working in the communities of Mayaguez and Aguadilla after Hurricane Maria ripped the US territory to shreds. Tasks performed included doing damage assessments to roads, bridges and critical infrastructure; helping to get generators to public drinking water supply stations; tracking and targeting emergency food and bottled water shipments to isolated communities; coordinating resource requests from the Puerto Rican Emergency Management Agency (PREMA); and trouble-shooting problems as they arose. Child observes, “Although there was terrible destruction and stories of tragedy, I was continuously impressed with the warmth and perseverance of the Puerto Rican people. In their own words, ‘Puerto Rico se levanta (Puerto Rico will rise again).’”
 
The Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers & Scientists is a group of 3,300 science and engineering professionals. Their work each day keeps the Commonwealth’s citizens, their air, water & food supplies, the energy that they depend on, the environment that they live and recreate in and the infrastructure that they travel on, safe. For more information, visit www.MOSES-MA.org.
 
(MassDEP contributed to this story.)

GIC Restores Popular Health Providers

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On February 1, 2018, the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) voted to reverse the elimination of Harvard Pilgrim, Tufts and Fallon as providers for GIC members. As a result, three popular providers for GIC members have been restored.
 
Congratulations! This is a direct result of MOSES member advocacy!
 
GIC Executive Director Dr. Roberta Herman and multiple commissioners acknowledged that their decisions today were made based on your feedback--they heard it loud and clear! At the legislature's oversight hearing yesterday, Dr. Herman stated, "Though unintended, I now understand full well the concern, confusion and havoc that have ensued."
 
The action taken by the GIC was only possible because of you. A very special thank you to everyone who showed up to the public hearings, prepared and wrote testimony, called the Governor, wrote their legislators and rallied with our partner unions. You all made this victory possible!
 
"When our members speak out and engage the legislature, the administration is forced to listen!" said MOSES Legislative Director Liz Murphy.
 
Our work isn't done. The GIC will be releasing plan and pricing structures in the coming weeks. MOSES will keep you posted as this information becomes available, and we ask that you continue to stay engaged and speak out as the process moves forward!
 

Mass. House of Reps. Unanimously Approve Bill to Provide All Public Employees Safety Protections on the Job

IB ImageBill would extend OSHA standards to 310 MWRA MOSES members
 
Just three weeks after the Massachusetts Senate voted to provide all state and municipal employees with the same workplace protections as their private sector peers, the House approved a similar measure, H.3952. Representatives Jim O'Day and Paul Brodeur were instrumental in quickly moving this important legislation through the House.
 
The bill, filed on the Senate side by Senator Marc Pacheco, “requires all public employees in Massachusetts be covered under the same occupational safety standards as the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).” 
 
OSHA, passed in 1970, created standards to “assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women.” Twenty-six states extended these federally mandated measures to all public employees, but not Massachusetts.
 
OSHA-level protections were afforded to Massachusetts’ executive branch employees in 2014, but other public employees, including 310 MOSES members from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, were excluded.
 
Joe Dorant, president of MOSES, explains, “MOSES has long championed a consistent standard of safety in the workplace for all public employees. To name just a few, including our MassDOT engineers working in high speed lanes to our scientists at the MWRA, DEP and DPH who encounter hazardous elements, everyone should be protected on the job. I am proud of our legislature for coming together to keep all safe."
 
The Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers & Scientists (MOSES) will be working in the coming days with our friends in the House and Senate to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions for final enactment.

2017 MOSES Scholarship Winners

IB ImageThe 37th Annual MOSES Memorial Scholarship Awards were drawn at the September 12, 2017 General Membership meeting. There are (25) twenty five scholarships worth $750 each in memory of deceased members of the MOSES Board of Directors and (1) one $1,500 scholarship in the name of our deceased former President, Charles P. Wilson.

Since its inception, over $275,000 has been awarded to support the advanced education of our members and their immediate family. Click here or on the image at right to see the complete list. Congratulations to all the recipients.

Tag, You're It! State Reps. Experience Real Life Shark Tank

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Massachusetts' leading shark expert, MOSES member Dr. Greg Skomal, recently took State Representatives Sean Garballey and Dylan Fernandes on quite a boat ride! 

Skomal, a scientist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, and members from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy took the men on a tagging expedition off Cape Cod's Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge.

Rep. Fernandes observed, "The Cape has become a destination for Great Whites and we talked about how improved science and tracking of Great Whites can inform public safety and sensible public policy."

Click on the picture at left (courtesy of Rep. Garballey) to watch video from Rep. Fernandes.

MOSES Led Toll Plaza Demo Project Earns Two National Awards

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Short film produced by MOSES tells the story of this ambitious and successful venture.

MassDOT was honored at the Northeast Association of Transportation Officials Annual Meeting as the winner of "Best Use of Technology & Innovation, Medium Project" category of America's Transportation Awards, a joint project by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The ambitious toll booth demolition and all electronic tolling (AET) effort earned the honors as an example of a project that is "making communities stronger, our economy more efficient and our quality of life better.”

Additionally, the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) announced that the electronic toll project will get an International Toll Excellence award for “revolutionizing mobility for drivers” at the group's 85th Annual Meeting in September. The AET project is an example of how MassDOT is "implementing solutions to complex, global transportation challenges."

“And the Tolls Came Tumbling Down” is a short film produced by the Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers & Scientists (MOSES) that tells the story of how MassDOT engineers seamlessly implemented electronic tolling on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Countless MOSES members worked around the clock overseeing the simultaneous dismantling of 23 toll plazas spanning 139 miles. When completed, this project will reduce congestion, decrease emissions and increase safety.

MOSES members featured (in order of appearance) included District 3 “Super Engineer” JP Telemaque, along with fellow lead engineers Erin Cooper (District 1), Anna Nadler (District 2), Suzanne Wilber and Chris Lee (District 3) and Eric Mistretta and Eric Feeley (District 6).

From all the MOSES members at MassDOT, we hope you enjoy the film.

2014 Scholarship Winners

John Bardzik and Kathy Flannery of the Goodwill Committee, conducted the 34th annual scholarship drawing at the September 9, 2014 General Membership meeting @ Wachusett Mountain. Click here for a list.

MassDOT: Agreement Reached on Classification Study

IB ImageMOSES is pleased to announce that MassDOT and the Coalition of MassDOT Unions for Unit E have reached an agreement on the implementation of the Classification Study conducted by Segal and Associates.  

At the outset we want to congratulate the Unit E joint labor subcommittee and acknowledge all of the thoughtful and hard work that they did reviewing employees’ Job Analysis Questionnaires and Form 30s. And although everyone would have liked the process completed sooner, we believe that this Agreement provides a fair resolution to a complex process and avoids further lengthy delays in litigation. We also believe that this process has demonstrated once again that when labor and management work together, challenging problems can be resolved in a way that benefits the interests of all parties. 

The purpose of the Classification Study was to identify instances where employees were improperly classified and get them into their proper classification. This required taking a comprehensive look at the actual functions people were performing and comparing them to both their own job specifications and the job specifications of employees in other titles performing similar functions. While the review found that a majority of employees were properly classified, there were many instances where employees were either working above or below their classifications. In other instances we found that existing job titles didn’t accurately capture the work that was being performed and we agreed that new job series should be created. 

Implementation of the Classification Study agreement will see more than 150 Unit E employees reclassified into new titles which reflect their job duties and responsibilities and which in some instances will address wage parity issues. The agreement also calls for the creation of several new job classifications (Bridge Inspector; Construction Coordinator, MassDOT Industrial Health and Safety Inspector) and the expansion of existing job series (Mechanical Engineer V). We believe that these modifications will provide new career growth opportunities for Unit E employees and help MassDOT attract and retain a highly-qualified workforce. 

Over the next few weeks, notification letters will be sent to individuals who will be upgraded or reclassified into new positions. Pursuant to the agreement, employees who participated in the study, but were not recommended for an upgrade will be advised of their appeal rights which will be sent to employees work email. It is important that everybody that participated in the study watch for and open their email from MOSES on this issue. The appeal form and instructions will be included in the notice which must be filed with MOSES by June 30, 2017. If you have questions, after receiving your email, you may contact one of your MOSES MassDOT Board Members (listed below) or wait for a series of “Brown Bags” that will be held in each District office during the first few weeks of June.
 
Again, thank you for your patience throughout this long and arduous process.  

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