The Codcast: Does DCR need fiscal control board?

Where do you begin with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the agency that oversees the state’s parks as well as dams, piers, ice rinks, pools, and even bocce courts?

The agency is underfunded, understaffed, and plagued by high turnover at the top. It also is an occasional landing pad for politically connected appointees, who lately have been getting into trouble. Some have even been fired.

What should be done? The Codcast talks with Whitney Hatch, chairman of the DCR Stewardship Council, and Stephen Pritchard, who spent four years in the administration of former governor Mitt Romney, including six months as DCR commissioner and a little over a year as secretary of energy and environmental affairs.



Prosecutors have filed a request for early, compassionate release from federal prison for former House speaker Sal DiMasi, who is suffering from advanced cancer five years into an eight-year sentence on corruption charges. (Boston Globe)

A group of economists from Massachusetts universities and the Federal Reserve Bank urge state leaders to raise taxes to pay for education and infrastructure needs, but are immediately met with a cold shoulder from tax-averse House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Gov. Charlie Baker. Senate President Stan Rosenberg backed the report’s recommendation. (Boston Globe)


As two wounded Boston police officers recover, Police Commissioner William Evans praises fellow officers who, he said, saved their lives in the midst of the Wednesday shootout in East Boston. (Boston Herald) More details are emerging about the events that unfolded and the strange background of the shooter, who was killed in the gun battle with police. (Boston Globe)

Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken fired police chief Leonard Campanello before she received a report on any possible wrongdoing by him. She said she decided to act immediately after receiving evidence that he lied about the whereabouts of his city cellphone. (Gloucester Times)

Former state rep John Fresolo, who is seeking to reclaim his old seat by running as a member of the United Independent Party, came under fire from the Worcester Licensing Commission for once again allowing patrons to drink outside his bar. The Commission suspended the license of Rocky’s Food and Spirits for seven days. (Telegram & Gazette)

Moses Dixon, a Democratic candidate for state rep in Worcester, was accused of domestic assault four years ago, but he says (and there is evidence supporting his view) that his former college sweetheart made it up. (Telegram & Gazette)

A federal judge issued a summary judgment ruling in favor of the town of Abington in a suit brought by a police officer who claims he was the subject of retaliation for filing a complaint with the attorney general over what he claimed was a revenue-producing ticket quota ordered by supervisors. (The Enterprise)

The Framingham Housing Authority is revamping its financial controls and taking steps to ensure residents are eligible for housing subsidies after an audit determined officials failed to check the citizenship and immigration status of people moving in and had scant oversight of lease agreements. (MetroWest Daily News)


The Justice Department said beginning next year it will collect data on fatal officer-involved shootings and other deaths in police custody, the most ambitious effort yet to track violent encounters with law enforcement. (New York Times) One of the problems the recent spate of police shootings has revealed is there has been no way to accurately track how many of these incidents occur around the country. (CommonWealth)

States are stepping up cost control efforts to curb the growth in Medicaid spending. (Governing) Gov. Charlie Baker is seeking a new, big deal with the feds on Medicaid. (CommonWealth)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is calling on President Obama to fire Mary Jo White, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. (CNN)

Haitian officials, desperate for help for the impoverished island in the wake of the devastating Hurricane Matthew, have declined assistance from the American Red Cross after reports following the 2010 earthquake showed the agency badly mismanaged donations earmarked for the country. (Washington Post)

Russia has ordered all relatives of officials serving abroad to return to the country, but the meaning of the action is unclear. (U.S. News & World Report)


Donald Trump rages against a media machine he says is out to destroy him by reporting stories about charges from two women he says have told “made-up stories” about Trump forcing himself on them. (Boston Herald) Bill Clinton’s accusers tell their stories to Sean Hannity. (Time)

Dorchester Reporter editor Bill Forry weighs in on he who shall not be named (“for reasons of good taste”), with a particular eye toward the Republican nominee’s characterization of “inner city” neighborhoods as a vast, apocalyptic wasteland “teeming with the unwashed and unwanted who kill one another with savage wantonness.”

A UMass Lowell/Channel 7 poll in New Hampshire shows Hillary Clinton with a 6-point lead over Trump and Sen. Kelly Ayotte with a 1-point lead over Maggie Hassan in the race for US Senate. (Lowell Sun) Clinton leads Trump by just 3 points in New Hampshire, according to a new MassINC Polling Group survey for WBUR, a finding that goes against the grain of the national trend, which is seeing Clinton open a wider lead. The WBUR poll has Hassan and Ayotte tied at 47 percent apiece. Meanwhile, Trump’s lead in Texas narrows.

Campaigning for Clinton in New Hampshire, First Lady Michelle Obama said she “can’t stop thinking” about Trump’s comments about and actions toward women, which she said have violated the rules of “basic human decency.” (Boston Globe

It’s not only the Republican Party that is suffering from deep division and identity crisis, writes David Shribman. (Boston Globe)

An Eagle-Tribune editorial says teachers in Andover went too far when they voiced opposition to the charter school ballot question at a school open house.

Sen. Thomas McGee of Lynn says he will not be endorsing anyone in the race to succeed him as Democratic Party chairman. (State House News)


Ten percent of Airbnb rental units in the Boston area account for more than one-third of all revenue paid to the home-sharing company. (Boston Globe)


Citing enrollment declines and leadership turnover, Standard & Poor’s lowers its credit outlook for Suffolk University from stable to negative. (Boston Business Journal)

St. Joseph Central High School in Pittsfield, the last remaining Catholic high school in Berkshire County, plans to close at the end of this school year. (Berkshire Eagle)


There is big trouble ahead for the state’s Health Connector, as premium hikes and eligibility changes loom. (Boston Herald)

Some marijuana advocates say some recent enforcement actions could have been avoided if state officials implemented a hardship cultivation provision in the medical marijuana law. (Lowell Sun)

Federal officials threaten to cut Saint Vincent Hospital out of the Medicare program if the Worcester facility cannot show it has new safeguards in place following a surgery in which the wrong patient had a kidney removed. (Boston Globe)


Which way is the Baker administration going on vehicle miles traveled? The governor is opposed, but a recent consultant contract suggests his Transportation Department is keeping its options open. (CommonWealth)

Worcester Airport gets $7.7 million in federal funds for taxiway and lighting improvements. (Telegram & Gazette)

State Rep. Alan Silvia is filing a bill to create a seatbelt awareness month in memory of Hannah Raposo, an 18-year-old Fall River girl who died in a car accident in June on the way to her senior prom. (Herald News)

The US Army Corps of Engineers is planning to check both the Bourne and Sagamore bridges for damage after a cruise ship traveling through Cape Cod Canal scraped against the railroad bridge span in Bourne. (Cape Cod Times)


The weekend’s rain raised the drought level in some counties in Massachusetts from “extreme” to “severe.” (State House News Service)

The state shut down all the oyster beds in Wellfleet after about 75 people fell ill from eating the shellfish last weekend, apparent victims of norovirus caused by contaminated fecal matter in the water. (Cape Cod Times)

Columbia Gas and Berkshire Gas are preparing plans for increasing the supply of natural gas in Hampden and Berkshire counties so a 2-year-old moratorium on new hookups can come to an end. (Masslive)

The Holy Name School in Fall River is leasing its roof to a power company for a solar array and will buy its electricity from the company for half the cost of what it is paying now. It is the first building in the Fall River Diocese to go solar. (Herald News)


Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz blamed “human error” as the reason his office did not seek a civil commitment against a serial child rapist who was released to his parents home in Weymouth after serving a 30-year sentence in prison. (Patriot Ledger)


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