Labor Secretary Suzanne Bump
"Labor Secretary Speaks to Jobs, Defends Casinos"
By Jen Thomas, -iBerkshires Staff-, March 25, 2008
HANCOCK - Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Suzanne Bump on Monday touted the Patrick administration's "multipronged" efforts to boost the state's economy
Speaking to the New England Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions at Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, Bump said Gov. Deval Patrick and his administration are primarily concerned with supporting businesses, not controlling them.
"The governor starts with one very simple premise, and that is his understanding that government does not create jobs. You create jobs. But it is the role of government to support you in that task and to ensure that the current prosperity that he wants to bring is shared across the commonwealth," Bump said to the small group of trade association members. "He also knows that there is no one simple right way to do this, so his efforts have been multipronged."
Defending Patrick's casino gambling proposal (which was defeated in the House of Representatives last week) and his life sciences initiative, Bump's speech outlined some of the administration's goals and priorities, especially for the travel, tourism and recreational sectors.
"There's a big distinction between slot machines at race tracks and a destination resort casino. What the governor wanted to do was build on the very successful leisure and tourism industry we already have in the commonwealth," she said, noting that in 2006, 21 million tourists visited the state and tourism brought in $14 million to the economy that year.
Bump said the tourism industry - along with the creative economy - is a sector of the economy that is of particular interest to the governor. A lack of skilled workers for the state's 90,000 job vacancies is a real concern, considering that 125,000 residents are unemployed.
"There's a skills mismatch," she said.
To counter that problem, Bump suggested that her department intends to keep working on solutions that include the promotion of the state's 37 regional career centers, hosting job fairs and supporting the H2B visa program for seasonal or temporary workers.
But it's the "inevitability of casino gaming in Massachusetts" that had Bump excited.
"It was a proposal that I don't think was well appreciated by a number of members of the Legislature who felt that, because they had voted on slots at the tracks, they had already considered what the destination resort casinos would be," she said. "The governor wanted to take all the possibilities that we have for tourism development and work that into a proposal for destination resort casinos. These were not going to be facilities that were going to put slot machines into a cinderblock building that you could throw up in a few weeks time."
"The governor had in mind a much grander vision of restaurants and entertainment venues and golf and other recreational facilities," she said.
During a question-and-answer session after her speech, Bump said the Legislature voted down the casino proposal because lawmakers felt the governor's numbers about projected revenue didn't add up and because they were concerned about "changing the cultural atmosphere of the state."
(Among those voting against the bill was Rep. Daniel E. Bosley, D-North Adams, a harsh critic of casino gambling and House chairman of the Joint Committee on Economic Development that recommended against the measure.)
"Since we're talking about destination resort casinos that we envisioned tying in with cultural attractions and creating a family atmosphere and encouraging more people to come to the state and limiting the number to three, the governor didn't feel this was going to have a deleterious effect on the culture of the commonwealth," she said.
While Bump did admit that some studies have shown that small businesses are negatively impacted by casinos, she said the public's desire for more leisure activities would help boost the economy overall.
Secretary of Labor, Suzanne Bump referred to the 125,000 unemployed in Massachusetts; and the quality of graduates from famous institutions like Harvard and MIT,that can't find the right kind of jobs. But many of the State's unemployed
lost their jobs in textile factory closings; and may not have the educational skills for Bio Science positions; but casino gaming does not even require a high school diploma, while providing a living wage, family health insurance and 401k plans.
The Governor's proposal was referring to 3 casinos with an average of 6,700 jobs each. Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun employ in excess of 20,000 for 2 properties. The top 3 Atlantic City casinos, in a very competitive market and with the closest major population an hour away; would have paid Massachusetts over $500 million in casino taxes, at the proposed tax rate of 27%. Patrick only projected $400 million, and these 3 locations would have effectively been monopolies.
Today casino in Atlantic City spend $1.5 billion at Atlantic County businesses, and the industry is responsible for over 60,000 jobs for residents of 6 South Jersey counties; that had seen their glass factories close (like the MA experience with the textile industry), and the resort city had seen its once famous Boardwalk hotels closed or converted to subsidized housing.
Certainly the Life Science industry will do a lot to keep college graduates from leaving the State. But the State is gambling $1 billion to attract this new industry, while gaming companies would probably bid over $1 billion to get the 3 casino licenses. This year, two race tracks in Indiana, just paid license fees of $500 million, for the right to add 2,000 slots to each of their tracks; and in addition, pay a tax rate on slot win, that escalates from 41% to 51%.
Doesn't Massachusetts need to attract an industry, like gaming, to give those under or un-employed Palmer and Holyoke textile workers, or New Bedford fishermen a new place to earn a living.
Doesn't Massachusetts need both Life Science and gaming? Any problems from gaming already exist in Massachusetts; with the most successful State Lottery, the 2 largest casinos in the US, within 2 hours of Boston and a recently expanded Rhode Island race track with slot machines. Why not bring most of that $1.1 billion back from CT and RI, while adding thousands of new jobs, billions in construction, millions in new taxes and a major new tourist attraction that will draw visitors from NY, CT, VT, NH and overseas. Massachusetts attracted 21 million visitors Statewide. Atlantic City a community of 40,000 attracted 34 million in2007.
from: Steve Norton, on: 03-26-2008.
"Bump looks to address job losses in Berkshires"
By: Karen Honikel
(Capital News 9 out of Albany, NY covering the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts)
Governor Deval Patrick's new Executive Director of Workforce Development isn't wasting any time getting down to business.
Former State Representative Suzanne Bump is working to introduce herself to the local business communities and let them know she will make sure the Berkshires are not forgotten on Beacon Hill. She says a major concern right now is addressing the loss of jobs in the Berkshires.
Currently the Berkshires have the highest rate of job loss in Massachusetts. Bump says this can be changed with the right policies in place. She says she will be meeting with the Governor once a week to work on bringing skilled workers and higher paying jobs into the area.
Bump says a key part to local job growth and development will be finding a way to keep the younger workers in the Berkshires.
"Report: Pittsfield jobless rate up"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Friday, October 31, 2008
PITTSFIELD — The unemployment rate in the metropolitan Pittsfield area has increased almost a full percentage point over the last 12 months, according to the latest state figures.
The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development said the rate rose from 4 percent in September 2007 to 4.9 percent last month.
That growth included a jump of half a percentage point in just one month, skipping from 4.4 percent to 4.9 percent from August to September.
Gains 'here and there'
Linnea Walsh, the director of communications for the Department of Workforce Development, said the end of the tourist season in the Berkshires has contributed to the most recent figures, adding that there have been some modest employment gains "here and there."
Heather P. Boulger, executive director of the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board, said she is not surprised that the unemployment rate has gone up because companies are facing tough economic times.
Restructuring and reorganizing
"Many companies in Berkshire County have hiring freezes, which are causing an increase in people collecting unemployment insurance," she said. "A lot of companies are restructuring and reorganizing to make sure that they have their most critical workers to thrive. It's bad, but not as bad as it could be."
The unemployment rates in the North Adams and Great Barrington metropolitan areas have also increased over the past 12 months. In the North Adams area, which includes Adams, Clarksburg, Florida, Monroe, and Williamstown, the unemployment rate rose from 5.2 percent to 5.7 percent between September 2007 and last month.
In the Great Barrington area, which includes 13 South County towns, the unemployment rate increased from 3.2 percent to 3.8 percent in the 12 months that ended in September.
To cope with the ebbing economic tide, the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board has set up a "rapid response" strategy, offering free, confidential layoff aversion and tax incentive programs to help firms prevent layoffs and company closings.
The Pittsfield metropolitan area includes 14 communities located mostly in Central Berkshire. In Pittsfield, the unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in September, with 1,230 of the city's 22,844-member labor force out of work.
'Result of difficult times'
According to Boulger, the county's labor force also decreased slightly during the 12 months that ended in September.
"That's a result of the difficult economic times," she said. "Usually, the labor force is growing."
Pittsfield's unemployment rate is slightly higher than the state September average of 5.3 percent, but far below the national average, which was unchanged at 6.1 percent last month. Adams (6.6 percent), Hinsdale and North Adams ( both at 6.3 percent), have unemployment rates that are higher than the national average, according to the September statistics.
"North Adams traditionally has been higher than the state average," Boulger said. "I think it's due to the small concentration of companies in North Berkshire. You have the hospital and two colleges, but the other companies are smaller manufacturers or nonprofits involved with the creative economy. When funding begins to dwindle, their funding is impacted more than the other ones."
A loss of wealth
The state's 2008 unemployment rate has averaged 4.8 percent through September, higher than the 4.5 percent rate recorded for the same time period in 2007, reflecting the impact of the national economic slowdown.
Michael Supranowicz, the president and CEO of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, said the fall of the stock market has created a loss of wealth.
"The number of older people (in the Berkshires) is much higher than in the rest of the state, not just retired people, an older market," Supranowicz said. "When you tighten your belts, there's less money, and less of a marketplace."
'We're in the in-between mode'
According to Supranowicz, fewer county residents are employed in the travel and tourism industry.
"Part of that is because we're in the in-between mode between summer and winter," he said. "Jiminy Peak isn't open yet. So people who move from one tourism job to another are unemployed right now. But part of it is the tightening of the belt."
To reach Tony Dobrowolski: TDobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com (413) 496-6224.
Berkshire County Employment Outlook
Article Launched: 9/21/2006
“So where are all the jobs anyway?” We keep hearing that there are all these jobs in the Berkshires, but where are they? I was shocked when I learned that at any point there are over 2,000 job vacancies in the county. I was even more shocked to hear that by comparison, the job vacancy rate in the Berkshires is about twice the state average and that this has been the case for many years. I was further shocked to see that these were not all low level jobs, but in fact they are all over the map; from entry level to executive, from tourism to manufacturing, from sales to administrative, from IT to finance, and just about everything in between. I have lived in the Berkshires for most of my life and I simply did not know. The notion that there are no career opportunities is actually a myth and this publication has been created to make more visible what is a seemingly invisible job market in the Berkshires.
One year ago, the Berkshire Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) was formed to coordinate, lead and facilitate the many economic development activities in the Berkshires. Creating a plan to grow our economy, attracting investment and recruiting business has been a major focus of the BEDC. I found myself giving people the very data you will find in this edition of Berkshire Employment Outlook, only to see them as stunned as I was. As we assembled a team to take on the workforce challenge, it became increasingly obvious that we needed to get this information into the hands of our community so everyone could see the Berkshires from this new perspective.
So here it is, the data, and for many a new perspective, and perhaps a new hope. It is not to say that we are not without our challenges. The Berkshires are experiencing a continued population loss, an aging workforce and too many young people leaving the area. Some may say that these trends and a large job vacancy rate are a problem, but we feel this is an opportunity. Hey - we've got jobs!
The Berkshires are on the edge of a new era. The investments being made in our community are substantial, too many to list here, perhaps in a future edition we will inventory them. But the momentum is building and there are tremendous opportunities for those who want to seek them out. Enjoy the little - or not so little - surprises you find in this premiere edition of Berkshire Employment Outlook.
President, Berkshire Economic Development Corp.
Susan Windham-Bannister, future life sciences/biotech CEO for the commonwealth’s “Massachusetts Life Sciences Center”, which is a new quasi-public agency that began in 2006. The state government is going to pay her $285,000 per year, not including benefits, to run the agency. Right now, she is a V.P. at Abt Bio-Pharma Solutions Inc. in Lexington, Mass. She works in the commercialization department.
Source: Boston Herald, late-May, 2008.
Worcester Business Journal
"Life Sciences Head To Market Commonwealth: Windham-Bannister brings little lab time, but a wealth of public policy experience, to new post"
By Eileen Kennedy, Worcester Business Journal Staff, Sunday, June 22, 2008
At first blush, Gov. Deval Patrick’s appointment of Susan Windham-Bannister to head the state’s Life Sciences Center might seem a little unusual.
After all, as head of the center she will be put in charge of the state’s recently passed $1 billion life sciences initiative. And although she’s worked within the biotechnology industry for years, she’s never been the one handling the test tubes and pipettes.
In other words, she’s not a scientist. She’s a marketer and an administrator.
Message In A Test Tube
But that doesn’t seem to concern local and state biotechnology officials. And perhaps, her role at the helm of the Life Sciences Center has more to do with marketing the state as the spot to be for biotech than it does actual science.
“I don’t know her personally, but I’m highly impressed with her credentials,” said Kevin O’Sullivan, president and CEO of Worcester’s Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives. “When you make an appointment like that it takes politics totally out of it because the decision was based on competence and experience.”
However, Windham-Bannister is not entirely without political connections — she was a member of Gov. Patrick’s transition team, according to her resume.
Officially, Windham-Bannister’s new job begins in mid-July, but she stepped onto an international stage last week when she attended the largest annual biotech convention in San Diego along with Gov. Deval Patrick and many other state officials.
Prior to leaving for the convention, Windham-Bannister said she sees the conference as a great way to showcase — and market — what the state already has in the works.
“We’re going to demonstrate that the state is really at the leading edge. We’re going to reaffirm our commitment to the industry and demonstrate the leadership the state is already showing,” she said.
Windham-Bannister’s experience includes her most recent stint at Abt Bio-Pharma Solutions Inc., a Cambridge-based consulting company that helps pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and diagnostics companies. She served as vice president of the company’s strategic business planning and marketing services, where she focused on competitive strategy for companies and nonprofits such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield. She plans to leave that post for her new job with the Life Sciences Center.
The center’s original leader, Aaron D’Elia, was a budget aide appointed by former Gov. Mitt Romney in the waning days of his administration. D’Elia did not have any science experience. He stepped down in June 2007 and the search began for a permanent head with a science background.
Windham-Bannister’s connections are a big factor in why she is the right pick, according to some in the industry.
“It was a vital position to fill and as someone who knows the industry and is well-connected, (Windham-Bannister) will be able to make a real impact,” said James M. Connolly, a partner in Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP’s health industries division. Connolly and another partner, Gerald J. McDougall, just published a report about the state’s biotech super cluster. The latest report points to the importance of state funding to grow the biotech industry here, because federal National Institutes of Health funding has been flat for several years now.
Windham-Bannister said she plans to reach out to many at biotech companies and in academia to find ways to collaborate in making the Bay State’s biotech industry stronger.
“We will be traveling all across the state to learn about the process from end-to-end and where there may be gaps or unmet needs,” she said, adding that Worcester area officials can expect her to spend time getting to know them and what exists in the area.
After all, the law provides $90 million to the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester toward an “advanced therapeutics cluster” that includes stem cell biology, RNAi therapeutics and gene therapies centers. The school itself will provide another $175 million for the academic cluster. The newly passed law also provides $8.2 million to establish a stem cell registry and bank at UMass Worcester, and another $12 million in matching grant funds for research.
Windham-Bannister holds a Ph.D. from Brandeis University’s Florence Heller School of advanced studies in public policy. She also earned a B.S. from Wellesley College.
"Governor Patrick Takes All Questions"
By Tammy Daniels -iBerkshires Staff- August 06, 2008
GREAT BARRINGTON — Gov. Deval Patrick called for a change in federal leadership that would be more involved with domestic policy, straightforwardly sidestepped a question on decriminalizing marijuana and applauded the interest of the area's youth in taking on civic responsibilities.
"We need a change at the federal level. We need federal leadership involved in domestic policy," said Patrick in response to a question by Barbara Dean of Great Barrington on whether the governors should band together to force an end to the Iraq War — and pour the millions being spent on it into domestic concerns. "This is not about being partisan. It's not about being a Republican. This is about being engaged in policy."
While not agreeing with her that it was up to the governors, he said, "as your governor ... this was the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time ... I'd think that even if we were flush on the domestic side."
It was all part of the governor's town meeting series, designed to help him discern his constituents' concerns and needs. This was the ninth of 10 town meetings and the only one in Berkshire County this summer. Among those in attendance were town officials, Pittsfield Mayor James Ruberto and Workforce Development Secretary Suzanne Bump.
Some 200 people ranged chairs and blankets around the gazebo's grassy lawn, seeking shade under the trees as the sun slowly slipped below the mountains. With jazzy music playing over the loudspeakers, it was more like a picnic.
But Patrick was only lightly grilled as people, some of whom traveled hours to the South Berkshire town to speak with him, lobbed questions about policies, platforms and the joys of being a governor.
"I wanted an unfiltered relationship with residents, with voters, to find out what you like, what you don't like," said Patrick. "And you need to hear directly from me what we are working on. ... I'm not interested in abstract reasons, I'm interested in how policy touches people."
Marie-France Chocot, visiting from Paris, was impressed that the governor really seemed to want to follow up on residents' questions and by the general lack of political partisanship at the meeting. (While Patrick stated as fact that he was "enthusiastically supporting" Barack Obama and commented on the Democratic primaries, he neither made nor encouraged any overt partisan comments.)
"Like in a good family, you put the question up and they try to find answers," she said through friend and translator Donald B. Easum.
Easum, of New York City, spent nearly 30 years in the U.S. Foreign Service, including as ambassador in the late 1970s to Nigeria, where he met a young Patrick. Their families have been friends since, said Easum.
The town hall meetings, during which citizens can ask unvetted questions about anything, was prompted by a press conference that failed to transmit a breakthrough in the movement of the much-vaunted life science bill.
"We called a press conference at Massachusetts General Hospital to dispel the notion of bickering between myself and the Speaker [Salvatore DiMasi]," said the governor. Legislative leaders and life science experts were on hand with "lots and lots" of television cameras and newspaper reporters. Yet, the governor's new haircut became the story — not the more significant and costly life science bill.
That sent Patrick on the road, in a way, to tell the state's citizens directly what's going on. A mission that would be easier, he noted, if "there weren't so many cameras here recording every mistake I make."
The governor was far from being ill at ease as he paced through the crowd, greeting people by name and joking with questioners.
"Awesome opportunity you've created for everyone and a lot different than what I've seen go on politically around here, which is longer than you might assume," said Jules Jenssen, youth operational board coordinator for the Railroad Street Youth Project. Jenssen urged the governor to explain his Statewide Youth Council, to which Patrick readily agreed.
Ari, of Great Barrington, was more interested in discovering the governor's views on pot, the subject of a petition to decriminalize it to some extent that will be on the November ballot. (The state's district attorneys oppose the initiative.)
"I don't actually have to have an opinion on everything," Patrick responded to laughter. "So I'm going to dodge your first question." He agreed with part of Ari's stance, that first-time nonviolent offenders shouldn't be languishing in jail.
His off-hand description of the petition as "a local grassroots movement" brought more laughter, which it took the governor a second to catch on to. "Sorry, I walked right into that," he grinned.
Editor's note: Information about the marijuana ballot initiative in this story contained errors and has been corrected.
"State council got lost in the shuffle: Governor's office intends to revive planning group"
By Todd Wallack, (Boston) Globe Staff, August 29, 2008
It just might be the sleepiest offshoot of state government: the Massachusetts Quasi-Public Corporation Planning Council.
No one can even remember when the 15-year-old planning council last met, despite a law requiring monthly meetings.
"It just died," said Robert Crowley, president of the Massachusetts Technology Development Corp., and one of the council's members. As best he can recall, the board hasn't met since 1996.
The planning council is supposed to ensure "regular communication and coordination" between an assortment of quasi-public agencies, corporations established and backed by the government.
In this case, they are all involved in economic development. For instance, the state set up the technology development corporation about 30 years ago to provide venture capital funding for young companies.
Lawmakers have also tried to use the council to keep tabs on its member agencies. Since 1998, council participants have been required to provide data to the state's economic development agency detailing their investments and other aid they provided to companies and individuals. The development agency, in turn, is supposed to compile the data in an annual report for the Legislature and the state's secretary of administration and finance.
But Kofi Jones, a spokeswoman for the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, which oversees the council, said she couldn't find any annual reports on file. And like Crowley, she wasn't sure when the board held its last meeting.
The lapse illustrates how state agencies can lose track of the sprawling list of committees and reports ordered by lawmakers and the governor. For example, Jones estimated the state's undersecretary of business development alone is required to sit on about 24 boards.
"I wouldn't be surprised if there are other committees or commissions that have not met or performed their statutory obligations," said Representative Michael Rodrigues, a Westport Democrat who cosponsored legislation two years ago updating the rules governing the council.
Indeed, some government watchdogs argue there are too many commissions, boards, task forces, and councils.
"We've gotten so prolific with boards and commissions that we're chasing process more than actual decisions," said Jim Stergios, executive director of the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research, a Boston research group. "We've got layer upon layer of process throughout our agencies. Then we layer upon those layers many quasi-public agencies. And then we layer, upon those, coordinating councils."
Regardless, the Patrick administration says it is working to get the quasi-public council back on track. Jones said it is now scheduled to meet Oct. 1, and will issue an annual report by year's end.
Representative Daniel Bosley, who cochairs the Legislature's Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, said it didn't surprise him that the council had fallen through the cracks. Bosley, a North Adams Democrat and an advisory member to the council, said the state economic development agency is "stretched very thin" and has a lot of responsibilities. "I don't think the coordinating council has been a priority," said Bosley.
In its original iteration, the council consisted of 10 quasi-governmental agencies, including the Massachusetts Centers of Excellence and the Massachusetts Microelectronics Center. But the law has been periodically updated over the years, as different quasi-public agencies are started or eliminated.
In its latest form, the board is supposed to consist of representatives from 18 quasi-public corporations and government agencies, including the Commonwealth Corp. and the Massachusetts Community Development Finance Corp.
The board members are not paid extra money to serve on the council, Jones said.
"I think it's a good idea," said Rodrigues, who guessed that quasi-public agencies spend hundreds of millions of dollars in state money a year. "We have so many of these quasi-publics out there that we want to ensure that they are doing what we are envisioning them to do."
Rodrigues said he is pleased the Patrick administration plans to make sure the council starts meeting again.
Even without the council, however, Crowley said he was already informally meeting with some other quasi-public groups that focus on economic development.
"I think the administration has done a decent job of getting people to talk," Crowley said.
Todd Wallack can be reached at email@example.com.
Governor Deval Patrick thanked Eli Broad yesterday after he announced a $400 million gift to the Broad Institute. (Erik Jacobs for the Boston Globe) 9/4/2008.
"Brigades again go to Granite State"
The Berkshire Eagle - Letters
Monday, September 15, 2008
Four years ago, a few Berkshire residents banded together and formed Berkshire Brigades, the countywide Democratic organization. At the time we coordinated efforts with Kerry headquarters to make a real contribution to his campaign. And we did!
This year we're doing the same for Obama, and because Obama will win Massachusetts, once again we are devoting our time and resources to campaign outside the state, mostly in nearby Keene, New Hampshire.
We can always use more volunteers. So, if you want to turn this country around, now is the time to help. Or if you are retired or have extra time, weekdays are good, too. We have less than two months to change the world. Call Marge Cohan at (413) 822-6218 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up today.
Berkshire Brigades is hosting a Big Berkshire Democratic Victory Rally at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Pittsfield on Sunday, Oct. 5, from 5 to 7 p. m. Labor Secretary Suzanne Bump and others will speak. Join us there and in New Hampshire. Help us help Obama turn this country around.
The writer is chairman of Berkshire Brigades and member of the Democratic State Committee.
"Census help wanted in Berkshires"
By Benning W. De La Mater, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Friday, January 09, 2009
PITTSFIELD — The federal government is looking for hundreds of good workers to help take a head count.
Timothy J. Goggins, a representative with the U.S. Census Bureau, announced Thursday that the agency will be hiring "a few hundred locals" in the coming months to help complete Census 2010.
The jobs will include roughly 20 full-time, managerial slots and hundreds of part-time positions. Work is scheduled to begin in March and will run through late fall of 2010. Salaries have yet to be determined, but should be competitive with average office salaries.
Goggins said there are civil service-like tests being held across the county currently and in the coming weeks. Competence and accuracy are the only prerequisites.
"This info and its uses are astounding for its importance to the growth and future of our country," he said. "Our governmental structure is based on this data."
Those interested in the jobs should call (866) 861-2010 to find out dates and locations for the tests, which require four hours of time.
The Census, a decennial population count mandated by the U.S. Constitution, is due to the president by Dec. 31, 2010.
Its results determine the number of representatives in Congress, electoral votes and government funding for municipalities. Goggins said businesses also use Census numbers to determine areas for growth.
Regional Census offices are currently being set up in Pittsfield, Springfield and Worcester. Goggins said a Pittsfield location is currently being scouted.
The announcement of new jobs, although temporary, is welcomed as the county braces for a jump in the 5.3 percent unemployment rate as a result of December layoffs at Sabic and KB Toys.
Goggins said Census jobs, some of which will last 20 months, benefit a resume.
"HR administrators love to see the Census on a resume because we're about accuracy," he said. "We focus on details."
The first wave of work will be cross-checking current addresses with the Census database to make sure new development is accounted for and structures that no longer exist are erased.
Census questionnaires will then be sent out. After that, workers will be physically dispatched to locations around the county to help take the head count.
Goggins said for the first time in history, Census employees in the field will be given handheld computers that will input information directly into the main database, making it easier to formulate the tally.
"We can't do this work without people," he said. "We still have to do the face-to-face stuff to get accurate numbers. The quality of the people who work these jobs is related to the quality of the Census."
To reach Benning W. De La Mater: email@example.com, or (413) 496-6243.
"Berkshire unemployment rises"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Wednesday, January 28, 2009
PITTSFIELD — Berkshire County's unemployment rate rose from 5.2 percent in November to 6.7 percent in December, and is now higher than the state rate of 6.5 percent, according to figures released today by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.
The leisure and hospitality sector was among the heaviest hit in the Berkshires, the report said, while manufacturing, informational services, and professional services remained unchanged from 12 months ago. Financial and educational/health sectors saw slight increases.
"Berkshire County unemployment rate soars"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Wednesday, January 28, 2009
PITTSFIELD — Berkshire County's unemployment rate reached its highest level in 13 years in December, jumping to 6.7 percent from 5.2 percent in one month.
The county is now outpacing the state, whose jobless rate was 6.5 percent last month, according to data released on Tuesday by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. The state's seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate was 5.5 percent in November.
Last month's unemployment rate is the county's highest since it hit 6.3 percent in 1995, said Heather P. Boulger, executive director of the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board.
Rate is significant
Boulger referred to the increase in the county's December unemployment rate as significant, but said it wasn't unexpected considering the current economic climate.
"We're not immune to what's happening in the nation," she said.
Nor is the rest of Massachusetts.
The unemployment rates were higher in 21 of the state's 22 metropolitan areas, including Pittsfield, in December. Only Amherst experienced a slight drop.
Unemployment in the Pittsfield metropolitan area jumped from 5.1 percent in November to 6.6 percent last month. In the North Adams area, it rose from 6.4 percent to 8 percent. In Great Barrington, the jobless rate increased from 4.3 percent to 5.9 percent.
The numbers represent a sharp spike from a year earlier, when the jobless rate was 3.8 percent in Pittsfield, 5.3 percent in North Adams and 3.2 percent in Great Barrington.
Losses in leisure
In the leisure and hospitality industry, the number of employed in the Pittsfield metropolitan area dropped half a percentage point, from 4.8 percent to 4.3 percent from November to December as people appeared to cut back on social activities.
"People are tightening their belts," Boulger said. "They're not going out as much as they used to, or they're not visiting friends."
In the goods producing sector — which includes all non-manufactured items — the number of employed dropped from 5 percent in November to 4.9 percent in December. Sector-by-sector numbers for the North Adams and Great Barrington areas were not available.
Boulger said the goods producing sector was affected by the layoffs at KB Toys, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December with the intention of liquidating the entire 86-year-old toy company, which maintains its corporate headquarters in Pittsfield.
"That's going to continue to go up unless local companies hire more people," Boulger said.
As of last week, slightly less than 100 of the 225 full-time employees at KB's headquarters were still on the job. KB is expected to have 90 employees remaining at its headquarters at the beginning of February, 30 by the start of March, and just 12 by April.
The number of employed in Pittsfield's manufacturing sector was 3.4 percent in December, which is the same level it has been since September. According to Boulger, employment manufacturing levels are down in most regions of the state.
"There's a steady flow of products underway," Boulger said, referring to the steadiness in the Berkshire manufacturing figures.
"They've also invested in training," she said. "Other than that, I don't know (why). I'm surprised to see that it wasn't down."
To reach Tony Dobrowolski: TDobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com (413) 496-6224
Berkshire County, Massachusetts
"Berkshire unemployment rate hits 8.3%"
By Tony Dobrowolski, Berkshire Eagle Staff, Wednesday, March 11, 2009
PITTSFIELD — Berkshire County's unemployment rate soared in January, jumping to 8.3 percent, the highest level since 1993.
The county's unemployment rate jumped 1.6 percentage points from December, when it was 6.7 percent, according to figures released on Tuesday by the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. December's unemployment rate had increased 1.5 percent from November, when it was 5.2 percent. January's numbers are not seasonally adjusted.
Heather P. Boulger, executive director of the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board, said the new number is reminiscent of General Electric's departure from Pittsfield in the early 1990s, when thousands were thrown out of work. Unemployment rose to more than 10 percent before settling back to 8.6 percent in 1993.
January's increase marked the second straight month that the county's unemployment rate is higher than the state's, which jumped from 6.5 percent in December to 8.1 percent in January, while the national unemployment rate jumped from 7.2 percent to 7.6 percent.
In January 2008, the state unemployment rate was 4.6 percent versus 4.9 percent nationally. The number of county workers who were unemployed jumped from 3,884 to 6,035 in 12 months.
Unemployment in the Berkshires reached 10.7 percent in 1991 when GE completed the five-year shutdown of its transformer plant, and 10.9 percent in 1992 when the industrial giant sold its aerospace division to Martin Marietta. The rate was 8.6 percent in 1993.
Although the economic recession is the main culprit in the current spike in the county's unemployment rate, Boulger said she didn't know how much higher the rate can go.
"I wish I did, but I don't have that crystal ball," she said. "I'm hoping that with the manufacturing industry actually adding jobs in January, it will stop the spiral trend."
"But it's a guessing game," she added. "I'm optimistic that we're going through the toughest part. I hope it won't go as low as it did in the early 1990s."
David M. Rooney, the president of the Berkshire Economic Development Corporation, had not seen the latest numbers on Tuesday but said he believes the increase in the county's unemployment rate reflects the full impact of Pittsfield-based KB Toys' decision to close its operations. KB filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last December with the intent of liquidating the company.
The county's labor force increased over the last 12 months, from 71,857 workers in January 2008 to 72,338 in January 2009.
"Maybe fewer people are retiring, that's one of my guesses," Boulger said. "They're staying in the workforce longer."
The number of county residents employed in the manufacturing sector rose slightly from 3.2 percent to 3.3 percent between December and January.
The number of county residents in the service producing and private services sectors also dropped almost a percentage point, according to Boulger. She believes that KB Toys is included in the private services sector.
Among the county's metropolitan and labor market areas, unemployment is highest in North Adams, where it jumped from 7.8 percent in December to 9.6 percent. The unemployment rate in the North Adams area, which also includes part of Vermont, was 6.7 percent in January 2008.
In the Pittsfield area, the unemployment rate increased from 6.5 percent to 8.2 percent between December and January, while it rose from 5.8 percent to 7.6 percent in the Great Barrington area. The unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in the Pittsfield area and 4.8 percent in Great Barrington in January 2008, respectively.
In the city of Pittsfield, the unemployment rate rose from 6.7 percent to 8.5 percent between December and January, while it jumped from 9.0 percent to 10.7 percent in the city of North Adams.
The national unemployment rate is 8.1 percent.
To reach Tony Dobrowolski: firstname.lastname@example.org, or (413) 496-6224.
Here's a look at Berkshire County's unemployment rates in the early 1990s, when General Electric was shutting down, and the latest monthly statistic from January:
1991: 10.7 percent.
1992: 10.9 percent
1993: 8.6 percent
January: 8.3 percent
Photo by Angela Rowlings
NEW IDEAS: Massachusetts Biotechnology Council President Robert Coughlin has a new strategic plan that focuses on promoting innovation over manufacturing.
"Massachusetts biotech chief: Forget luring plants"
Change in drug plans
By Christine McConville, Tuesday, April 14, 2009, - www.bostonherald.com - Local Politics
Let’s forget about luring biotechnology manufacturers to Massachusetts and celebrate our culture of innovation instead, Massachusetts Biotechnology Council President Robert Coughlin will tell council members today at the group’s annual meeting.
“People aren’t coming here to open manufacturing plants,” Coughlin told the Herald yesterday. “They’re coming here from around the world to meet up with thought leaders.”
At a time of epic economic upheaval, Coughlin’s 2015 strategic plan calls on the state’s 400 biotechnology companies to promote what Massachusetts is - and not what it could become - as the industry plots its next seven years.
It’s a markedly different message from 2003, when the council released its last strategic plan. Back then, the council urged the state to make regulatory changes to help the industry grow.
Now, instead of championing water and sewer line improvements, the council is calling for a dose of reality and greater access to capital, despite the state’s recent billion-dollar initiative to promote the industry.
There are some 40,000 people working in biotechnology in Massachusetts and many of them are working at companies with shaky financial underpinnings, the MBC’s 2015 report says.
Nearly 50 percent of the public biotech companies in Massachusetts are operating with less than a year’s worth of cash, according to the report.
And some 40 private Massachusetts biotechs haven’t received any financing in more than three years, the report adds.
Even though Bay State biotechs face a cash crunch, there’s still increasing national and international competition for their jobs and future growth potential.
While the report identifies Boston, San Diego and San Francisco as leading world biotechnology clusters, it places Philadelphia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom in a not-so-distant second tier.
The report identifies North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, Ireland, Washington, D.C., and Canada as specialty areas for manufacturing and clinical trials. And it lists China, India and Singapore as emerging international competitors.
"Biotech notes steady growth in Massachusetts: But early forecasts unlikely to be met"
By Todd Wallack, Boston Globe Staff, April 15, 2009
The state's biotechnology industry has grown significantly in recent years, though somewhat slower than hoped, according to a study released yesterday by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council.
Massachusetts has more than 40,000 biotech jobs, according to the council's 2015 Strategic Plan, up from about 30,000 in 2002. Another council report seven years ago predicted the industry could employ 60,000 by 2010 under the right conditions. But that is unlikely now, given the lagging economy.
"We've not had the right conditions," said Terry Hisey, vice chairman and US life sciences leader for Deloitte LLP, the New York auditing and consulting powerhouse that helped prepare the latest study. Hisey said the global credit crunch has made it difficult for many firms to raise money from venture capitalists and other investors.
Nevertheless, Hisey said, Massachusetts has maintained its spot as having one of the world's top biotech clusters, and the industry is helping to fuel economic growth. The number of biotech companies in the state has increased from about 280 seven years ago to 400, he said.
"Massachusetts is creating jobs, importing jobs, growing talent - important talent - all the things that are necessary for the viral growth of the industry," Hisey said. "People should be encouraged by the growth and the increase in numbers."
To continue expanding the industry, the report recommends the state continue to promote collaboration and innovation, improve access to capital, provide services to help companies become more efficient, assist companies in attracting, developing, and retaining workers, and step up biotech's public marketing and advocacy work. The report comes less than a year after Governor Deval L. Patrick signed a $1 billion life sciences initiative to help create jobs in the life sciences, including biotechnology.
The council released the report, coauthored by LEK Consulting in Boston, at its annual meeting yesterday. The report is available online at www.massbio.org.
Todd Wallack can be reached at email@example.com.
"Investing dropoff hurting biotechs: Dwindling cash puts jobs at risk"
By Scott Kirsner, Boston Globe Correspondent, May 9, 2009
Three years after Altus Pharmaceuticals Inc. went public and raised $105 million in a single day, the Cambridge biotechnology company is running out of money, and its stock, which once traded for more than $25 a share, closed at 40 cents yesterday.
With the economy lagging, investors have become wary of the risks associated with innovative but small drugmakers like Altus, which can spend a decade or more working on experimental treatments that often don't make it to market. That's left some biotechs starving for cash.
In an effort to survive, Altus in January shed 75 percent of its workforce - 107 employees - and narrowed its focus to a single drug, an injectable human growth hormone.
"We thought that was our best shot," said chief executive Georges Gemayel.
The dropoff in biotech investing could hit Massachusetts particularly hard. Governor Deval Patrick, who championed a $1 billion life sciences initiative approved by the Legislature last year, has made the industry a key part of his economic development plans. By most rankings, the state's cluster of biotechnology companies is second in size only to the San Diego area.
"Biotech is the antithesis of what the global market is looking for," said Steve Holtzman, chief executive of Infinity Pharmaceuticals Inc., another Cambridge biotech. "The market is looking for safe, secure, liquid assets."
Holtzman knows firsthand how fickle investors are these days - Infinity's stock recently lost almost one-third of its value after it abruptly halted a test of a key cancer drug it was working on when researchers found a higher-than-expected death rate among patients.
A recent report from the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council found the number of biotechs in the state increased to about 400 over the past seven years, and the number of employees increased from 30,000 to 40,000. But the report also warned that half of the state's publicly traded biotechs are in danger of running out of cash before the end of the year, and that one-third to one-half will probably be forced to raise more money in 2009 so they can continue to operate.
"We were in a very permissive financial environment with cheap money and easy credit, and we're now in a very stringent financial environment that makes biotech companies extremely difficult to finance," said Rich Aldrich, a Boston biotech investor who was involved with one of the industry's biggest recent scores - the IPO and eventual sale in 2008 of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals Inc., based in Cambridge, to GlaxoSmithKline plc, headquartered in the United Kingdom, for $720 million.
But lately, the venture capitalists who often bankroll private companies have been holding on to their money. Investments in New England biotechs during the first quarter of 2009 were down about $92 million from the same period last year, from $241 million to $149 million, according to Thomson Reuters. One reason is that some of Boston's biggest biotech venture capital firms have been having their own financing problems. For instance, Waltham-based Atlas Venture earlier this year collected a smaller pool of money than it had hoped for, and Oxford BioScience Partners of Boston recently suspended efforts to raise a new investment fund because of a dearth of investors. Oxford managing partner Jonathan Fleming said it's an "absolutely horrible" time for venture capitalists to raise money from pension funds, wealthy individuals, and university endowments.
Also, the large pharmaceutical companies that fund smaller biotech firms, buy them outright, or collaborate on sales and marketing are consumed by a wave of consolidation. For instance, Merck & Co. and Schering-Plough Corp. are planning to merge, as are Pfizer Inc. and Wyeth.
Big drug companies are "our customers," said Michael Gilman, chief executive of Stromedix Inc., a Cambridge biotech developing drugs to combat organ failure. "And to the extent that there are fewer customers, that's going to make things hard."
Because of its volatile nature, the biotech industry has traditionally been roiled by booms and busts. "In 1999 and 2000, you had the genomics bubble, when huge amounts of money were going into biotech," said Gilman. "The fundamentals of the business were no different then, but today, no one wants to put in a nickel. People were just jazzed about it then, and they're pessimistic about it now."
About the only good news biotech executives can point to are two governmental funding initiatives that could benefit Massachusetts over the long term. As part of this year's economic stimulus package, the federal government will increase funding to the National Institutes of Health by $10 billion. Boston academic institutions and hospitals tend to receive a disproportionate chunk of NIH research funding.
"That could counter some of the current mopeyness," said Gilman. "But that funding will be felt first in the academic sector - they'll get a boost pretty quickly. It'll take years for it to start to trickle into the start-up community."
In addition, the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center - which is charged with overseeing the state's life sciences initiative - has doled out about $42 million to research facilities, scientists, and private companies. Late last month, it announced a new batch of loans to seven early-stage companies, totaling $3.4 million.
And even in stressful economic times, some entrepreneurs and investors hope to find bargains amidst the products cast off by companies trying to stay afloat.
When Altus was in the midst of its layoffs earlier this year, it essentially abandoned an experimental drug called Trizytek, intended to treat enzyme deficiencies that often plague people with cystic fibrosis or chronic pancreatitis. A new Cambridge startup founded by Alex Margolin, formerly chief scientific officer at Altus, acquired Trizytek without making any up-front cash payments. That company, Alnara Pharmaceuticals Inc., had earlier raised $20 million from investors, and hired several people who lost their jobs at Altus.
Margolin estimated Altus had invested about $150 million in the drug, which he anticipates will win FDA approval. "The ending hasn't been written yet," he said. "But we hope it will be a Hollywood ending."
Scott Kirsner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Labor secretary speaking in Taunton"
By Gerry Tuoti, Staff Writer, Taunton Daily Gazette - tauntongazette.com - GateHouse News Service, May 14, 2009
Taunton, Massachusetts — Suzanne Bump, secretary of labor and workforce development, will moderate a community forum Monday on choices and priorities facing Massachusetts in the current economic climate.
The forum will be held at 6 p.m. Monday (5/18/2009) at East Taunton Elementary School, 58 Stevens St.
Gov. Deval Patrick launched the statewide series of 36 public meetings to give people an opportunity to discuss the budget decisions, reform proposals and revenue packages being debated on Beacon Hill.
Dates, times, locations and administration hosts for other forums can be found at www.mass.gov/governor/forum. Summaries of the forums, along with videos and questions, will be posted there as well.
"Report: Massachusetts loses thousands of industrial jobs"
The Associated Press - September 14, 2009
BOSTON -- The economic downturn has cost Massachusetts more than 25,000 manufacturing jobs.
That figure comes from the annual Massachusetts Manufacturers Register, which reports that industrial employment fell 6.4 percent in the Bay State during a 24-month period between July 2007 and July 2009.
Massachusetts remains home to more than 9,100 manufacturers employing about 373,000 workers, with electronics continuing to be the top industrial sector.
The state directories are published by Evanston-Ill.-based Manufacturers' News Inc. Publisher Tom Dubin says an educated work force and strong biotechnology industry should help lay the groundwork for a recovery in Massachusetts.
"State collected incorrect tax from employers, report says"
The Boston Globe (Online), By Kay Lazar, November 17, 2009
A program that helps 34,000 laid-off Massachusetts workers pay for health insurance would not be on the verge of insolvency if the state had collected the correct tax from employers who fund the program, according to a report released today.
The Medical Security Trust Fund, the pool of money that pays for health insurance for the unemployed, will run out of money in December without emergency measures, according to state officials.
But if the fees on employers had kept pace with inflation -- something required by the 1988 law that created the program -- the Medical Security Trust Fund would not be going broke, according to the report from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, an independent think tank.
"We would likely be able to provide health insurance to our currently unemployed workers without running into deficit,” said center executive director Noah Berger.
Businesses pay $16.80 per employee, per year into the Trust Fund, a tax that hasn’t been raised since 1990. If that fee had been correctly tied to inflation, the report said, that amount would have been $56.41 this year. That would have meant an additional $67 million more for the fund, just in 2008, the report added.
But Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Suzanne Bump, whose agency oversees the program and its trust fund, said in an interview that the state has followed the law which, she said, only requires it to maintain "adequate" reserves.
She said that the fees it charged would have been sufficient had the recession not dragged on for so long, and Congress had not repeatedly extended unemployment benefits. Those extensions have drained about $60 million from the Medical Security Trust Fund since July 2008, according to the state.
"This is something that the three-member board that sets the yearly rates could not have foreseen a year ago when they set those rates," Bump said.
That board's annual meeting is scheduled for Nov. 30, she said, to again review the issue of raising fees on employers and also to consider a number of other emergency proposals to keep the program afloat, including imposing higher costs on the unemployed.
Governor Patrick has also requested a $30 million cash infusion from the Legislature that would keep health insurance benefits flowing to thousands of residents for the next several months. State lawmakers are scheduled to vote on Patrick's request tomorrow to transfer the money from the state's General Fund.
"She's angling for auditor post"
By David Pepose, Berkshire Eagle Staff, April 13, 2010
PITTSFIELD -- As the race for the state auditor's office begins to heat up, Great Barrington resident and former state Labor Secretary Suzanne Bump made a personal appeal to residents at a Berkshire County campaign stop on Monday.
"Our veteran auditor's retirement... allows us to think about what we're looking for from the auditor's office in the 21st century," Bump said. Talking about residents' crisis of faith in government and the economy, she said that "the auditor gets to provide that level of oversight in terms of the financial accounting."
The event at Zucchini's Restaurant in Pittsfield drew more than a dozen people, including veteran politicians U.S. Rep. John W. Olver, D-Amherst, and state Rep. Daniel E. Bosley, D-North Adams. The primaries for the position will be held in September, with the final vote taking place in November.
Bump served as the state's Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development from 2007 through the end of 2009. She is one of several Democrats running for the office previously held by 23-year-veteran A. Joseph DeNucci, including Worcester County Sheriff Guy Glodis and former Clinton administration assistant Michael E. Lake.
The role of the auditor, Bump explained, is to look at the financial records of state agencies and quasi-public entities -- including regional transportation and housing authorities -- to make certain that they are spending their funding legally and efficiently.
The auditor's office is an executive branch position meant to act as a government watchdog against wasteful or corrupt spending, and is tasked with delivering their reports to the public, the governor and appropriate legislators for correction.
In addition to financial audits, Bump also promoted the idea of "performance auditing," which would focus on procedure and eliminating bureaucracy.
"That really lets you work with the nuts and bolts of state government and making sure tax dollars are being used effectively and efficiently," she said. "That's where the real opportunity for change is."
According to state documents, DeNucci was paid more than $130,000 in 2008. Each term as state auditor lasts four years.
Near the end of the event, Bosley and Olver both spoke on Bump's behalf. "I've gone through 24 budgets on a state level... we need to do a better job at it," said Bosley. As the state grapples with more than $1 billion in budgetary shortfall, "we either have to cut or do things differently," he added. "I wish to do things differently."
Bump said her priorities included streamlining the state's health care system.
"That whole system of access is extremely complex," she said. "The question we have is, how can we reduce some of these barriers and simplify access?"
Concluding her campaign stop, Bump implored her supporters to work toward more accountable and efficient government spending. "These are not just my goals -- they're our goals," Bump concluded. "And by owning these goals, we can make this campaign happen."
"Bump: Tax flap is 'behind us'"
By Trevor Jones, Berkshire Eagle Staff, October 16, 2010
PITTSFIELD -- Suzanne Bump, the Democratic candidate for state auditor, says she is moving on from recent questions about the dual-residency tax breaks she received in the past, accepting the decision by Boston officials to keep nearly $6,000 she returned to the city last week.
A Boston Globe article last week reported that Bump and her husband, Paul F. McDevitt, had received personal property tax exemptions for their primary residence in Great Barrington and their condo in Boston. Bump sent a check for $5,875 to the city later that week in case they did not meet the exemption status, funds the city's assessing department deemed were owed because the couple did not meet the appropriate criteria.
"It is now behind us," Bump said on Friday in a meeting with The Eagle editorial board. "Our primary residence is Great Barrington; I've always been clear about that."
Bump said she and McDevitt were granted tax exempt status from Boston after filling out a two-question request form sent to her by the city in 2007, which asked if the couple occupied the house and if they mailed their income tax forms from there -- questions they both answered affirmatively.
Bump said she fully accepts the city of Boston's decision to accept the returned funds, adding that she was "surprised and embarrassed" by the revelation because she "thought we were doing something appropriate."
Bump, a former state representative from Braintree and state Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, also weighed in on prosecutors' call on Thursday for legislators to create a more balanced approach to funding public defendants and the state's district attorney's offices. Since 2002, the overall district attorneys' budgets have been reduced by 24 percent, while the Committee for Public Counsel Services has seen its budget rise by more than 230 percent.
Bump said the auditor's office could play a role in determining a legislative course of action by looking at the dynamics behind the rise in public defendant funding and by finding any potential abuses. By providing reliable data, she added, decisions can be made that won't rely solely on the political weight of either side.
Bump said her primary focus, if elected, would be to look at the state's health care services in order to find savings. She said she would use performance analysis to look at the structural issues facing the delivery of services, adding "government has to figure out how to work smarter. We have to figure out how to work more effectively and efficiently to save taxpayers' dollars."
Bump also criticized her Republican opponent, Mary Z. Connaughton, saying she has no priorities and questioned her proposal to look at the costs of legislation proposed on Beacon Hill. Bump said legislative bills can change so much and so frequently before a final version, scoring them would be futile.
"Bump campaign aides nab jobs"
By Steve LeBlanc, Associated Press, December 8, 2010
BOSTON -- Massachusetts Auditor-elect Suzanne Bump on Tuesday named her campaign manager and a campaign donor, both of whom also worked for her when she was state labor secretary, to key posts in her office.
Bump, whose primary residence is in Great Barrington, said that she is appointing former Commissioner of the Division of Occupational Safety Laura Marlin as her first deputy auditor. Marlin served as Bump's campaign manager and donated $275 to her campaign.
Bump said she is also naming Gerald McDonough, general counsel for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, as her deputy auditor for policy and legal issues. McDonough donated $500, the maximum allowed by law, to Bump's campaign in 2009 and again in 2010, according to an Associated Press review of campaign finance records.
The campaign finance records show that out of nearly 2,000 individual donations to Bump this year, fewer than 200 were for the maximum amount of $500.
In a statement, Bump praised Marlin's and McDonough's skills.
"Both Laura Marlin and Gerald McDonough are accomplished professionals with a passion for public service that matches my own," Bump said. "They will be enormously helpful to me as I pursue my mission of making government work better."
Marlin served as commissioner of the Division of Occupational Safety from May 2007 through May 2010. The job included overseeing the agency and administering the state's workplace safety and health, asbestos, lead and wage-related programs.
Marlin had previously served as deputy chief of staff to former Attorney General Thomas Reilly and as an assistant attorney general prosecuting cases involving computer crimes, fraud, embezzlement and public corruption, according to Bump.
Bump said that as general counsel for the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, McDonough helped the new Massachusetts Department of Transportation navigate through complex labor issues.
McDonough has also been a partner at the Boston law firm Holtz & Reed LLP and was general counsel and deputy treasurer for former state treasurer Shannon O'Brien.
During the campaign for auditor, O'Brien supported Bump and criticized her Republican opponent Mary Connaughton. O'Brien and Bump are both Democrats.
Bump served as Gov. Deval Patrick's former labor secretary from 2007 to 2009.
Bump also announced Tuesday that she's launching a nationwide search for another top position, deputy auditor for audit operations. She said the deputy auditor will play a key role in her management team, "overseeing and managing all aspects of the audit operations, with an emphasis on expanding the scope of performance audits to evaluate the success or failure of government operations."
She said she's looking for "an outstanding CPA with government auditing and leadership experience" and is working with local and national groups, including the National State Auditors Association to help recruit candidates.
During the campaign, Bump came under fire for receiving twin tax breaks on two properties.
She said assessors told her she was allowed to claim tax exemptions in Great Barrington and Boston. After the Boston Globe questioned the propriety of the tax breaks, Bump paid nearly $6,000 to Boston.
Bump's husband Paul McDevitt also continued to accept contracts from joint labor, management trust funds even while Bump was serving as labor secretary. Bump denied any conflict of interest, saying the contracts were with joint labor and management trust funds.
Bump is scheduled to be sworn in on Jan. 19, 2011.
"GE Healthcare life sciences division’s moving in: Company says life sciences unit will bring ‘new jobs and economic activity’"
By Chris Cassidy, The Boston Herald, August 14, 2014
GE Healthcare will relocate its American headquarters for its life sciences division to Massachusetts — a major move expected to create hundreds of jobs, coming on the heels of similar arrivals in redent years by Sanofi-Aventis and Pfizer.
“GE is not a leader here — they’re following the other large firms here in order to be close to where the action is,” said Barry Bluestone of Northeastern University, who co-wrote a report last year on the Bay State’s life sciences industry. “It continues quite a trend.”
The company’s current life sciences headquarters in Piscataway, N.J., employs about 400 people, and a spokesman would not say which area of the state it is considering.
“A project is currently underway to create a new U.S. headquarters in Massachusetts for the life sciences division of GE Healthcare,” said GE Healthcare spokesman Benjamin Fox. “More specific details will be available once they are finalized. Once completed, the new U.S. life sciences headquarters will create a significant number of new jobs and economic activity in Massachusetts.”
Gov. Deval Patrick has made promoting the life sciences industry in the state a focus over the years. Bluestone said that, coupled with an influx of smaller, highly specialized firms, has been a magnet drawing larger companies.
“Even with the billions of dollars they spend on research, the large firms aren’t sure they’ll come up with a big breakthrough in life sciences technology,” said Bluestone. “Therefore, they want to be near small firms on the cutting edge.”
Massachusetts Life Sciences Center CEO Susan Windham-Bannister told the Herald the organization had been in discussions with GE Healthcare over the past two years about a move.
“We’re talking about a company that’s more diversified, has a big imaging component to it, and a big bioinformatics component,” she said. “This is a different kind of company. We’re really excited about that. They’ve certainly had a modest presence in Massachusetts, but for them to make this decision is big.”
The 2013 report for the Boston Foundation, conducted by Bluestone and Alan Clayton-Matthews of Northeastern, found the state’s life sciences industry growing at a faster pace than any other industry in Massachusetts — and creating more jobs than in any other state since 2008.
- Jonathan Melle
- Amherst, NH, United States
- I am a citizen defending the people against corrupt Pols who only serve their Corporate Elite masters, not the people! / My 2 political enemies are Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr., nicknamed "Luciforo" and former Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr. / I have also pasted many of my political essays on "The Berkshire Blog": berkshireeagle.blogspot.com / I AM THE ANTI-FRANK GUINTA! / Please contact me at email@example.com
- ► 2009 (43)
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- ▼ April (9)