FRCOG‘s Administration and Regional Services staff provide administrative services and program oversight of the FRCOG. The staff is funded through a combination of the voluntary assessment paid by FRCOG member towns and administrative fees paid by programs and grants. Administration and Regional Services staff also works on special projects that have been identified by our advisory boards, by staff, or by legislators. In general, the projects either do not have grant funding or have grant funding that requires a match that can be met by administrative staff involvement. Special projects are assessed to be important to the whole region or to a majority of member towns, either directly or indirectly.
Massachusetts Rural Policy Advisory Commission
The Massachusetts Rural Policy Advisory Commission (RPAC) was created by legislation in 2015. The mission of the RPAC is to enhance the economic vitality of rural municipalities in MA. Rural is defined as municipalities with a population density of less than 500 people per square mile, which is 170 MA communities and in all geographic areas of the state. The 15 Commission members include representatives from rural regions throughout Massachusetts, including the FRCOG Executive Director who is Chair of the Commission.
The Commission spent its first two years organizing, analyzing demographics and socioeconomic conditions in rural Massachusetts, conducting a municipal survey and researching what other states have done to address rural economies. In 2018, at the request of the Secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the Commission began planning for the writing of a Rural Policy Plan. The purpose of the Plan is to highlight the unique conditions and issues of rural Massachusetts and to identify policy and legislative priorities that help rural communities and regions thrive. The Rural Policy Plan for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was released in October 2019 (PDF is very large and text will appear corrupted until the document fully loads). For related documents, please click here.
The FRCOG is proud to support the work of the Opioid Task Force, a regional coalition focused on increasing treatment options and reducing opioid abuse. FRCOG staff coordinate the work of the Healthcare Solutions Subcommittee, a partnership of local healthcare, treatment, and recovery representatives. Click here for information about the Safe Prescriber Pledge, a project of the Committee. FRCOG’s Partnership For Youth, through its Communities That Care Coalition, is the prevention partner of the Task Force. PFY supports implementation of comprehensive prevention curricula in local schools, as well as data-gathering on youth risk and protective factors.
- Development of regional fire standard operating guidelines (SOGs) and a library of local standard operating guidelines in partnership with the Franklin County Fire Chiefs Association. Shared Standard Operating Guidelines and Library
- Organizing and procuring regional bids for hose testing, pumper testing and new hoses. More information on these can be found at the FRCOG’s Bids section.
- Supporting implementation of shared fire reporting software through the purchase of tablet computers for each Fire Department, through a state CIC grant.
- Providing technical assistance to a group of towns interested in developing a multi-department regional fire call force.
- Assisting the towns of Wendell and New Salem in their transition to a shared Fire Chief. This assistance included two inter-related parts: 1) assistance with development of agreements and scope of fire chief as part-time employee of two towns; 2) transition assistance from current chief to new, shared chief. The transition project was funded through the Massachusetts Local Technical Assistance program. A final case study of the project is available: Town of Wendell Transition to Shared Fire Chief: Case Study
Most of these projects are the result of a regional study conducted by the FRCOG on the state of current fire services in Franklin County. The goal of this project was to provide municipal leaders in Franklin County with information regarding current fire service organization and capacity.
Regional Ambulance Collaborations
FRCOG is working with the towns of Erving, New Salem, Warwick, and Wendell in formalizing their agreement with Orange as their Emergency Medical Service. This work includes assistance in creating a legal agreement, a fair assessment formula for allocating costs, and a structure for input from the four towns being served. Contact Dnietsche@frcog.org for more information.
To address the need for high quality, sustainable emergency services in the three communities of Deerfield, Sunderland and Whately, the FRCOG worked with a consultant to conduct a feasibility assessment of a shared EMS service. Working closely with a planning group of fire personnel and town officials, the consultant and FRCOG developed a plan for a shared EMS service. The final South County EMS report is available. South County EMS is currently in operation. For more information on their operations, visit their website: http://deerfieldma.us/Pages/DeerfieldMA_EMS/index
Regional Policing Study
FRCOG grant funds recently paid for an assessment of the benefits and costs of regionalization of the police departments of Sunderland, Whately, and Deerfield. A copy of the report can be found here: https://research.frcog.org/publication/south-county-regional-police-study/
Local Technical Assistance (LTA) Grant funds
Since 2006, the FRCOG has received Local Technical Assistance funding from the Department of Housing and Community Development to help municipalities with regional sharing of services to achieve and/or enhance efficiency and planning for growth, especially housing production and economic development. Past regionalization projects have included all the projects listed on this page above, as well as assessing town Human Resources capacity and needs, financial management assistance, creating two regional dog shelter animal control programs, studying and supporting regional veterans’ services, supporting shared technology planning, and assisting with broadband IT adoption.
In 2015, the Baker Polito Administration introduced the Community Compact program, a new partnership with municipalities across the Commonwealth.
FRCOG and our fellow Regional Planning Agencies are supporting the Compact agreements between Franklin County towns and the Administration. Our Municipal Financial Management Specialist, Joe Markarian, is providing financial best practices technical assistance to the towns that have signed compacts identifying these projects as a goal, Planning staff members are working with towns on Open Space and Recreation and Housing plans and more. Final reports on each project are available on the state website.