City of Worcester, MA in the winter

Reports - Public Administration

These reports analyze government operations and recommend potential for higher effectiveness and efficiency. They also measure government performance over time striving to improve fiscal and managerial responsibility.

Reports, articles and forms are available as a PDF downloadPDF icon, unless otherwise noted. Click here to download the free Adobe Reader application.

2013 Reports

Questions for the 2013 Candidates for City Council and School Committee in Worcester

In preparation for the upcoming elections for mayor, city council and school committee, The Research Bureau has prepared a set of questions for the candidates. The questions cover a range of issues, and are meant both to canvass the candidates’ views and to contribute to the public debate about some of the most important challenges facing Worcester.

Should Worcester Welcome a Slot-Machine Casino?

This report, which examines the operations and potential effects of the slots industry on the City of Worcester, was undertaken because Worcester has been designated as the preferred site for a slot-machine casino by Mass Gaming LLC, a subsidiary of Rush Gaming. It is intended as a supplement and update to our 2007 report "Casino Gambling in Worcester: The Case For and Against", which concluded that the net effects of bringing a casino to Worcester would be far more harmful than beneficial. In our present research, we discovered that the societal harm associated with casinos in general is greatly exacerbated by new developments in slot-machine technology, multiplying the dangers identified in the earlier report.

2012 Reports

Fare Play? Regulating Worcester's Livery Vehicles and Taxis

This report discusses the regulations of Worcester's livery vehicles and taxis. Specifically, it addresses the issue of whether the City should be engaged in setting limits to the number of liveries by placing it in the broader context of the origins and history of the taxi medallion system elsewhere in the U.S., along with its original institution in Worcester in 1980. After summarizing the regulations that distinguish liveries from taxis, the report cites the findings of other researchers regarding the effects of restricting the issuance of taxi medallions. Such findings carry implications not only with respect to restricting the number of liveries, but also regarding the desirability of continuing or modifying the City's policy regarding taxi medallions.

Benchmarking Public Safety in Worcester: 2012

This report looks at recent performance trends in Worcester's police department, fire department, and emergency medical services. The Appendices provide crime data in Worcester by sector for 2010 and 2011.

2011 Reports

Worcester Settles with its Unions: A Review

This report examines the settlements that Worcester reached with its major collective bargaining units in spring 2011.

Questions for the 2011 Candidates for City Council and School Committee in Worcester

In preparation for the upcoming elections for mayor, city council and school committee, The Research Bureau has prepared a set of questions for the candidates. The questions cover a range of issues, and are meant both to canvass the candidates; views and to contribute to the public debate about some of the most important challenges facing Worcester.

Benchmarking Municipal and Neighborhood Services in Worcester: 2011

This report describes the performance of several municipal agencies including the Department of Public Works and Parks, the Department of Inspectional Services, and the Worcester Public Library, as well as measuring residents' level of civic engagement.

EPA Stormwater Regulations in Worcester: Will Ratepayers be Drained?

This report examines the controversy over Worcester's next stormwater discharge permit from the EPA. The purpose of the report is to explain the issue, frame the debate, and to suggest ways in which stormwater policy in Worcester could be improved.

2010 Reports

Worcester Regional Airport Positioned for Take-Off

After advocating for many years the sale or lease of Worcester Regional Airport to Massport, The Research Bureau is pleased to endorse the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City and Massport for the transfer of the facility. We urge the Worcester City Council, the Massport Board or Directors, and the FAA to approve the MOU as soon as possible because of the aviation and economic development benefits that can accrue to Worcester and Central Massachusetts.

Benchmarking Public Safety in Worcester: 2010

This report measures the performance of Worcester’s police department, fire department, and ambulance/emergency medical services.

Benchmarking Municipal and Neighborhood Services in Worcester: 2010

This report describes the performance of several municipal agencies including the Department of Public Works and Parks, the Department of Inspectional Services, and the Worcester Public Library, as well as measuring residents' level of civic engagement.

2009 Reports

Municipal Elections in Worcester 2009: Questions for the Candidates

In preparation for the upcoming municipal elections in Worcester, The Research Bureau has prepared a set of questions for the candidates. These questions focus on the critical issues facing Worcester's municipal government and public schools.

Massachusetts Pension Reform: What was accomplished? What remains to be done?

This report summarizes the most egregious public employee pension abuses that were eliminated by the recently-passed Massachusetts Pension Reform Act, but goes on to list the more costly problems with the system which are in need of reform. These include the extraordinarily high rates of accidental disability pensions granted to public safety employees and the long-term sustainability of the entire defined-benefit system. It draws from our more extensive report on pension reform.

Benchmarking Public Safety in Worcester: 2009

This report measures the performance of Worcester's police department, fire department, and ambulance/emergency medical services.

Public Employee Pensions: Is it Time to Retire the System?

This report examines the public pension system in Worcester and Massachusetts. After detailing the basics of the system, its history, the difference between retirement benefits for public employees and employees in the private sector, the impact of the current recession on the system’s funding, as well as its overall cost to taxpayers, The Research Bureau makes a number of recommendations for reform.

2008 Reports

Maintaining Municipal Parks: Thinking Outside the Picnic Basket

This report discusses the challenge the City faces in maintaining its parks and recreational facilities during a time of budget cuts and decreasing revenues. Based on our analysis of park maintenance in other cities, The Research Bureau makes some recommendations about how best to meet this challenge.

Where Have All the Bidders Gone?: The Impact of "Responsibility" on Public Construction

The report examines why the City of Worcester receives so few bids on public construction projects and why those bids frequently have projected costs in excess of the City's estimates. Recommendations for addressing this situation are included.

2007 Reports

Benchmarking Municipal and Neighborhood Services in Worcester: 2007

Sixth report describing the performance of several municipal agencies including the Department of Public Works and Parks, the Divisions of Housing and Code Enforcement, and the Worcester Public Library, as well as measuring residents' level of civic engagement.

Casino Gambling in Worcester: The Case For and Against

This report considers the potential advantages and disadvantages of casino gambling for Worcester and the region.

Benchmarking Public Safety in Worcester: 2007

Fifth report measuring the performance of Worcester's police department, fire department, and ambulance/emergency medical services.

Citizen Satisfaction with Municipal Services and Quality of Life in Worcester: 2006 Survey

Annual survey of citizen satisfaction with municipal services.

2006 Reports

Measures of Economic Health: Springfield vs. Worcester

The Springfield Finance Control Board asked The Research Bureau to compare Worcester and Springfield on critical indicators of economic health. The report shows substantial differences between the two cities.

Cable TV: Get With the Program

Analyzes the City of Worcester's cable contract with Charter Communications and examines cable licenses in 14 other cities.

Dial 911: Whose Call Is It, Anyway?

Analyzes first response to medical emergencies in Worcester and 35 other cities nationwide.

Benchmarking Municipal and Neighborhood Services in Worcester: 2006

Fifth report describing the performance of several municipal agencies including the Department of Public Works and Parks, Division of Code Enforcement, and the Worcester Public Library, as well as measuring residents' level of civic engagement.

Benchmarking Public Safety in Worcester: 2006

Fourth report measuring the performance of Worcester's police, fire, and ambulance/emergency medical services.

Citizen Satisfaction with Municipal Services and Quality of Life in Worcester: 2005 Survey

Annual survey of citizen satisfaction with municipal services.

2005 Reports

City Council Salaries and the Competitiveness of Elections: A Survey

Examines why the number of candidates running in Worcester elections has been declining since the 1980's.

Siting Residential Social Service Programs: The Process and the Options

Examines the impact of siting minimally-supervised residential programs for those with substance abuse problems in residential neighborhoods.

Reorganizing Public Safety Functions: Considerations For and Against

At the request of the Worcester City Council, The Research Bureau prepared a study on the advantages and disadvantages of organizing public safety functions into a consolidated department of public safety.

Condition Serious, Prognosis Uncertain: The Impact of Municipal Employee Health Insurance in Massachusetts

The City of Worcester's health benefits are compared to towns in the Worcester vicinity, 28 larger cities and towns in Massachusetts, regional and national averages, and data from private employers.

Benchmarking Public Safety in Worcester: 2005

Third report measuring the performance of Worcester's police, fire, and ambulance/emergency medical services.

Benchmarking Youth Services in Worcester

Documents Worcester's youth service program performance, including data from the Worcester Public Schools and local nonprofit institutions.

Benchmarking Municipal & Neighborhood Services: 2005

Fourth annual report benchmarking municipal and neighborhood services.

2004 Reports

Mayor vs. Manager: Does Form Affect Performance?

Are there any correlations between form of government and the level of economic health and vibrancy? How does this relate to Worcester?

Oh Manager, Where Art Thou? Best Practices for Selecting a City Manager

How to best select a city manager.

Job Flight from Worcester

This report examines the economic impact of the Worcester Airport's decline.

Benchmarking Youth Services in Worcester

Documents Worcester's youth service program performance, including data from the Worcester Public Schools and local nonprofit institutions.

Citizen Satisfaction with Municipal Services: 2004 Survey

Third annual survey of citizen satisfaction with municipal services.

Respect for the Dead and Relief for the Budget: Can Privatization Improve Hope Cemetery?

Possible privatization of Hope Cemetery or its operations is examined.

The Fire Department Arbitration Decision: Implications and Options

This report discusses the 2004 Worcester firefighters' arbitration award, the financial implications for the City of Worcester, and the options available.

Benchmarking Municipal & Neighborhood Services: 2004

Third annual report benchmarking municipal and neighborhood services.

Benchmarking Public Safety in Worcester: 2004

Second report measuring the performance of Worcester's police, fire, and ambulance/emergency medical services.

2003 Reports

Worcester's Link to the Mass Pike: An Update on the Route 146 Connector

Discusses the progress of the construction of the Route 146 Connector over the past two years, as well as the project's implications for Worcester and the surrounding region.

Citizen Satisfaction with Municipal Services: 2003 Survey

This presents the full data from the 2003 CCPM survey of Worcester residents regarding their satisfaction with municipal services and includes comparisons with data from previous years.

Benchmarking Municipal and Neighborhood Services

Second annual report benchmarking municipal and neighborhood services.

CompStat and CitiStat: Should Worcester Adopt these Management Techniques?

Analysis of how the adoption of CompStat and CitiStat, two municipal management programs, in Worcester could lead to improved performance of municipal agencies and increased accountability.

Benchmarking Public Safety

Performance measurement data related to public safety services provided by the Worcester Police Department, Worcester Fire Department, and UMass Memorial EMS (Emergency Medical Services).

2002 Reports

Citizen Satisfaction with Municipal Services: 2002 Survey

This presents the full data from the 2002 CCPM survey of Worcester residents regarding their satisfaction with municipal services and includes comparisons with data from previous years.

Benchmarking Municipal and Neighborhood Services

Data related to a variety of City services including those provided by the Department of Public Works, the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cemetery, and the Worcester Public Library.

The Worcester Regional Transit Authority: Problems and Options

This report argues that the Worcester Regional Transit Authority faces serious problems and must adopt more cost-effective methods of operation in order to avoid substantial cuts in service.

Questions and Comments on Worcester's Housing Market Study

An analysis of Worcester's Housing Market Study, particularly examining its economic relevance and feasibility to the City of Worcester.

2000 Census: Income and Educational Attainment in Worcester and the Region

This report compares Census 2000 income and education data for Worcester to surrounding communities and other northeastern cities.

2001 Reports

Worcester's Transportation Projects: An Update

An update on Worcester's major transportation projects, including the Route 146 connector, the Worcester Regional Airport, and commuter rail service between Worcester and Boston.

The 2000 Census: A Preliminary Look at Worcester and the Region

Examines the recently released 2000 Census data for Worcester and the surrounding region.

The Use of Project Labor Agreements on Public Construction Projects: The Case For and Against

Examines use of Project Labor Agreements for public construction projects.

The Future of Public Housing in Worcester

The changing national landscape of public housing, in combination with recent administrative and other changes made by the Worcester Housing Authority (WHA), presents an opportunity to review public housing in Worcester and consider areas for improvement.

2000 Reports

Connecting the Heart of the Commonwealth to the Hub of the Universe: Making the Case for Expanding Commuter Rail Service Between Worcester and Boston

Covers the benefits of expanded commuter rail service between Worcester and Boston on the Framingham line.

Municipal Employee Health Benefits: A Comparison with Other Communities

A review of municipal employee health benefit contributions paid by municipalities across the Commonwealth.

"Windshield Time" or "Wrench Time": Some Proposals for Improving Worcester's Fleet Management

Feasibility study on consolidating the City's garages.

1999 Reports

Considering Worcester's Charter

Evaluates changing Worcester's municipal charter from a council-manager form of government to a "strong mayor" form.

The Feasibility of Air Charter Service at Worcester Airport

Examines the air-charter industry, the regional passenger market, and airfield facilities and indicates that Worcester Airport is favorably positioned to attract domestic air charter service.

The Feasibility of Air Cargo at Worcester Airport

Examines the possibility of air cargo at the Worcester airport.

1998 Reports

Worcester's Fire Department: Facts and Figures

Should the City Manager recommend a new class of firefighters at a time of budget constraints and a decreasing number of structure fires?

Should Worcester use the Green Hill Park Landfill for Street Sweepings and Catch Basin Materials

Examines Worcester's Department of Public Works' cost-cutting proposal to place street sweepings and catch-basin waste on top of the existing landfill in Green Hill Park.

Farewell to Worcester County Government

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1997 Reports

Police and Fire Department Staffing: A Survey of Worcester and Eleven Other Communities

Examines data on police and fire department manpower and staffing practices for Worcester and several other cities of similar size.

1996 Reports

Worcester Fire Department Need Comprehensive Study

Recommends a comprehensive examination of the Worcester Fire Department.

Community Policing Revisited

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EMS in Worcester: Who Should Provide It?

 

1995 Reports

The Future of Worcester Memorial Auditorium

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Considering Regional Government for Worcester Part II: Proposals for Comprehensive Regional Governance

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Emergency Communications & Dispatch: A Comparison of Worcester and Six Other Cities

 

1994 - Reports

Civilian Review of the Police: The Case for and Against

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Community Policing: Pro and Con

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Worcester's Department of Public works: An Assessment and Comparison with Other Cities

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Considering Regional Government for Worcester Part I: Interlocal Agreements

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1993 - Reports

The City Manager Selection Process

Discusess the process of choosing a new chief executive for the City of Worcester.

The Future of Worcester Airport

Is there sufficient demand to attract regular, reliable commercial air service to the Worcester community?

1992 - Reports

Understanding the Proposed Charter

What the proposed charter means to the City of Worcester.

Understanding the Results of the Non-binding Questions

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Belmont Homes: Facts and Figures

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1991 - Reports

Understanding the City Charter Question

On November 5, 1991, Worcester voters were asked the following non-binding question: "Do you support a change in the charter of city government to provide for an elected strong mayor in place of the city manager?" What does this mean?

The City Manager Evaluation Process: A Comparative Study

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1990 - Reports

Worcester City Hospital, Part I and Part II

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1988 - Reports

The Public Access Story: Stay Tuned

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1987 - Reports

Public Employee Pensions Disabling City

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Real Estate Transfer Tax: The Case For and Against

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The Proposed Zoning Ordinance: Notes & Recommendations

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Worcester's Salary Schedule Needs Periodic Weighing

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1986 - Reports

Charting a New Route for Worcester's Mass Transit

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An Introduction to Rent Control

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Sink or Swim: The Future of Worcester's Water and Sewer System

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