NEW HOUSE PUBLIC SERVICE CHAIR NAMED

NEW HOUSE PUBLIC SERVICE CHAIR NAMED
House Chairman Aaron Michlewitz

Michlewitz Joins Brownsberger To Head Key Committee

FEBRUARY 8, 2013: State Representative Aaron Michlewitz has been appointed House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Service for the 2013-2014 Legislative Session. The 3rd-term Democrat hails from Boston’s North End, where he was born and raised.

Michlewitz assumes the reins of the Committee from Representative John Scibak, who has been promoted by Speaker Robert DeLeo to chair the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection, after having headed the Public Service Committee for the past two years. Scibak is credited with having help sheppard both Municipal Healthcare (Chapter 69) and Pension (Chapter 176) reform laws through the House. He also played a key role in the Special Commission on Retiree Healthcare, lending his support to provisions that protect retirees from new rounds of benefit cuts and higher out-of-pocket costs.

Currently, Scibak cochairs the Special Commission on Disability Retirement and is a member of the Special Commission on Group Classification. He is expected to remain involved in ongoing legislative efforts involving public retirees and employees.

Michlewitz, who previously served as the constituent service director for former Speaker Sal DiMasi, joins Senator William Brownsberger as cochairs of the Public Service Committee. Brownsberger (D-Belmont) had served on the Committee for several years, prior to being elected to the Senate in 2011. He was named Chairman by Senate President Therese Murray in early 2012.

While legislative activity at the committee level slowed in 2012, both chairmen Brownsberger and Scibak were heavily involved in all three-reform commissions. Although not serving on the Healthcare Commission, Brownsberger attended most meetings and will play a central role on the issue within the Legislature.

Governor Patrick is expected to file legislation in the coming week that reflects the Healthcare Commission’s report. That bill is expected to be assigned to the Joint Committee on Public Service, where a public hearing will be held on the issue in March or April. A bill is likely to be discharged by the Committee for further consideration by the legislature by early spring.

“Given his background, Aaron Michlewitz is a good fit for the Public Service Committee. During his short time in the House, Aaron has impressed his colleagues and quickly risen through the ranks to become a chairman in just his 3rd term,” said Association President Ralph White. “That said, we’re sorry to see John Scibak move on. He’s been an excellent chairman and a good friend to public retirees.”

“Thankfully, we still have Senator Will Brownsberger serving as Senate Chair. His knowledge of the issues runs deep, and he’s been heavily involved in the various reform measures that are now under consideration. We’ll depend heavily on his guidance as the Retiree Healthcare Reform bill moves through the Committee,” commented Shawn Duhamel, the Association’s Legislative Liaison. “Chairman Michlewitz has a reputation for being a quick study, which is a trait that will serve him well on Public Service. It is going to be a very busy session and we’re looking forward to working with the Chairmen, members of the Committee and their staff.”

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