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Cambridge GLBT Commission and its budget

This morning I went to the City Council Finance Committee hearing on the annual budget and testified on behalf of the GLBT Commission. Of the 9 councillors, 6 were present - one has a full time job - I don't know about the others. The City manager and deputy and budget director were there too.

The issue is that we have no budget; whereas other Commissions have budget and staff. The Council, by charter isn't able to add to the budget, only remove but they can lobby the City Manager on this topic. I had sent a detailed letter last week and basically summarized it at this hearing. I forgot to setup to record it so I'll have to wait until the archived meeting is posted to capture it.

We have an active commission of 15 people who do lots of things - this past weekend we had a table at the Harvard Square May Fair and participated in a local LGBT Equal Rights conference. We have no budget but wanted to print up some copies of our updated brochure without paying for it out of a Commissioner's pocket. We found a city employee who would do it for us (I won't say which department because he probably wasn't supposed to do it)- we could have also gotten the Mayor's office to do it because they've been very supportive.

Our biggest success has been with the Police Department where we got them to include a GLBT training section in their training. Everyone in the department got this training 2 years ago and it is part of the new recruit training. We'd been working on getting this training in the Fire Department and our liaison in the Police department was very helpful in working with the FD and they are now committed; next are the private contractors who do the EMT work and that's looking promising.

There are lots of projects that can only be done with money and staff. We are getting support for one project in the Mayor's office - the idea is to do an assessment of health care and housing facilities that serve seniors to see what their policies and practices are. An Intern has been identified as soon as she gets approval from her university she will start.

But there is lots more to do. And staffing is required. You'd think with a 472 million dollar budget and 1,500 employees (not counting public schools) some money and staffing could be found.