Greenway needs to watch spending

April 25, 2010

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THE GREENWAY Conservancy’s assertion that it needs more money is flawed (“Greenway funds fall short as costs rise,’’ April 19, Page A1). The place to look for money is inside the Conservancy. According to IRS filings, Nancy Brennan, the Conservancy’s executive director, takes home a $225,000 compensation package with a high-end staff contributing to more than $1 million in annual administration costs. It is no wonder the Conservancy is quickly burning through its generous public funding. Its own top-notch consultant reported that the Conservancy is spending 15 times more than what is necessary to maintain a “regular’’ park, equivalent to $250,000 per acre.

Rest assured, there is plenty of money for the trees and plants. Even with the special features and fountains, the basic maintenance cost should be less than $1 million per year, a fraction of the $8 million proposed in the article. Most of the budget is for easily deferrable development projects and events. Jeff Mullan of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation is correct when he says the Conservancy needs “to be careful with the dollars,’’ as the state and city are cutting even basic services.

I want the Greenway to be successful and appreciate the Conservancy’s cleanliness efforts and environmentally sustainable practices. Unfortunately, the Greenway’s trees don’t grow enough money to keep up with the Conservancy’s spending. These are public parks, funded with public money. The organization needs to cut its costs and operate more efficiently.


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