Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Chicopee City Paralegal Narrowly Misses Budget Cuts

The Board of Aldermen of the City of Chicopee, Massachusetts, approved the City budget of $148.2 million on Thursday, just five days before the start of the 2009 fiscal year. Nearly two hours were spent discussing ways to cut spending, and one of the ways discussed was to cut a new paralegal position, saving the City $45,000. However, after Mayor Michael D. Bissonnette explained why the position was needed and that half of the cost would be paid for by a federal Community Development grant, the board elected to keep the position in a unanimous vote.

A series of federal audits showed the city improperly awarded and administered more than $8 million in grant funds between 2001 and 2006. Federal officials ordered the city to pay back more than $1.3 million in funds, have put a freeze on further grant spending and made a variety of recommendations changes to the department.

One is to hire a paralegal who will serve as a liaison between the law department and the Department of Community Development. That person will ensure the program is being administered legally and properly, Bissonnette said.

"We can't afford to make any more mistakes," with $6 million in grants in jeopardy," he said.

Cheers to Mayor Bissonnette for realizing the value of paralegals in the day-to-day operation of his city!

(Source: MassLive.com)

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