BOSTON (SHNS) – Along with a $40.5 billion spending plan, Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday filed legislation shaking up state government’s organization chart, eliminating the Department of Public Safety, and creating a new office to take over some of its functions.
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The reorganization plan establishes an Office of Public Safety and Inspections to be housed within the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development’s Division of Professional Licensure. The Department of Fire Services would assume the department’s fire-related functions and the new office would take responsibility for all other responsibilities.
The current Department of Public Safety falls under the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. Under Baker’s plan the fire services department would remain under that secretariat while the Department of Public Safety’s other functions would shift to the housing and economic development secretariat.
Baker filed his plan under the authority of Article 87 of the state Constitution. Under Article 87, executive branch reorganizations require a legislative hearing within 30 days of filing, and must receive an up-or-down vote from the Legislature, without amendment, within 60 days or the action takes effect.
The plan must comply with any conditions the Legislature has adopted “regarding the civil service status, seniority, retirement and other rights of any employee to be affected by such plan.”
Former Gov. Deval Patrick used his Article 87 powers to streamline the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, to reorganize the state’s education bureaucracy, and to reorganize his Cabinet structure.
The Department of Public Safety is a regulatory, licensing and inspection agency tasked with oversight of the state’s elevator inspections, amusement ride inspections, construction-related permitting, the sanctioning of boxing and mixed martial arts events, and more.
The reorganization “will enable the Commonwealth to consolidate licensing functions currently split across several secretariats, thereby increasing efficiencies, eliminating redundancies, and improving customer service by creating one-stop shopping for the vast majority of license approvals,” Baker wrote in a letter that accompanied his bill. “It should also save the Commonwealth approximately $800,000 in FY2018.”
Baker’s bill would also make technical changes to the laws governing the department, and would “change the distribution of agencies under the undersecretaries within the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to more closely align with their areas of expertise,” Baker wrote.
The Department of Public Safety has been without a permanent leader since Oct. 31, when former commissioner Matt Carlin resigned less than 18 months after taking the job.
The House on Thursday afternoon referred the governor’s bill (HD 3749) to the Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.
Copyright 2017 State House News Service
I have held a license for years I decided to let it go because I had plans to retire and go into consulting. i have stayed up with all changes in recent years i am not going to go back and test again for things i know. i go on const. sites these days ask general questions and the supvs. can not give me a proper answer. so , so much for the ways the laws are applied.
Building Officials are your best source
I find this interesting and thank you for sending me this update.
Do we know what the net effect will be of a re-organization?
I assume all the funstions and duties will probably remain pretty much the same and the testing and licensing part will just continue under new leadership.
We have no idea how this will play out. In the opinion of most it is a step backwards 780 CMR is a public safety document just like 527 CMR . Ideally we should join forces with 527 CMR and be unilaterally comparable and share resources. Oh wait, that is too logical ….. we will have to see what happens and hopefully won’t effect the promulgation of the 9th edition of the code come July.
If they really want to stream line things they also need to:
1) Have the state hold all copies of insurance provided by the contractors
2)Make all the towns have compatible (or use a centralized) software for all permit applications.
Think of all the time that would save us and the towns?
MGL requires that no permit be issued until the applicant provides proof of WC
( workman’s compensation) insurance by filling out the affidavit.
Also there has been talk of such BP application however what really needs to happen is that all in our industry should contact there perspective law makers with issues surrounding our profession and propose legislation, we do not do that we are a reactive group not a proactive group we need to become proactive.
Mass Federation of Building Officials (MFBO) is a group that is pro active with support from the building officials within the state. More groups need to work together along with the MFBO to reach a common goal for regulations and changes.
There are several license to obtain, with regards to pre 1978 housing and older structures. To re-organize the licensing is just a piece of the wheel, there also needs to be a standard permitting system as someone has mentioned. Also all building inspectors need to enforce rules that are not exactly tied to just CSL or HIC. The money generated from an entity obtaining those license needs to be looked into, where and how does that money support the licensing and inspections. In mass we like to spread out the power, so no one agency has all the power. This is still going to happen, but those other agency’s need to develop a communication plan to allow any and all agencies or executive office branches can all operate in conjunction with one and another. This is just a small bite out of the overall cookie that needs to be digested by all of us.