As I begin my eighth week as the Manager of Policy and Public Affairs for the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s (EOPSS), I can confidently say that I am finally starting to find my bearings. EOPSS is a highly-functioning, well-oiled machine, and with a $966 million operating budget and you can imagine that things can be pretty fast paced up here on the 21st floor of Ashburton. The other pressure that adds to the intensity of EOPSS is the fact that the issues and policies we deal with affect the public’s security and safety – whether it be crime prevention, homeland security preparedness, or ensuring overall safety of all visitors and residents in the Commonwealth.
Much of my first month has been spent trying to learn how our Secretariat and the 14 agencies that fall under our jurisdiction function. Each agency is basically its own corporation that goes about its business everyday to ensure the public’s safety, security and efficiency. EOPSS’s job is to ensure that each agency is equipped with the tools necessary to do this. Tools can range from having a budget to run the day-to-day operations of the agency while also having the jurisdiction to act swiftly and justly to ensuring the public’s safety and security.
My role is assisting in the managing the agency’s public policy, as well as assisting in Legislative affairs on behalf of EOPSS. To break that down even more, EOPSS, in conjunction with the Governor’s Office files legislation with the State Legislature each session to create, amend or change certain laws that exist in the Commonwealth. Some of these changes can be very small while others can be very large. With every piece of legislation that is filed I am part of the team that works to educate the Legislator on the issues and why EOPSS is taking this position. That ranges from setting up meetings, doing briefings and managing data. The other part of my job is to work with the staff of State Legislators in assisting with their constituent inquiries. At times, state government can be tricky to navigate for residents and Legislators are often called to assist in this process. My job is to assist the staff and make sure they are getting the information they need in a timely fashion.
It is a very exciting time to be working at EOPSS because of all the different things that we have going on. I am consistently impressed by the work ethic my colleagues at EOPSS bring to the job everyday. The citizens of Massachusetts should go to sleep at night knowing that their Public Safety and Security is the number one priority of Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan and her staff.