Budgetary constraints may lead to a smaller police and maintenance crew to manage the annual Head of the Charles regatta to be held this month, state officials said yesterday.
With the growth of the Head into a national event over the past few years, the regatta's planning committee has contracted with the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) to control crowds and handle grounds maintenance at the event, regatta committee director John F. Romain said.
The MDC is a state agency that maintains and polices a number of parks, roadways and rivers in the Boston area.
But this year, severe budgetary problems at the MDC may prohibit the commission from providing the forces it has in the past.
In the wake of a $16 million budget cut, the MDC may lay off 400 to 600 employees, a significant number of which will be Metropolitan police officers.
MDC officials said that they will not know exactly how their budget cut will affect the Head until Friday, when the secretary for the Office of Environmental Affairs approves the MDC's final budget. But they said that whatever the secretary decides, the crew will likely be smaller this year.
"We got clobbered," said Leanne Del Vecchio, director of public information for the MDC. "We will not know what these cuts will be until Friday. But right now, it is business as usual."
Should the MDC be unable to supply the necessary police officers and ground maintenance workers after its massive lay off, MDC officials said they hoped that local businesses and unversities participating in the Head would provide personnel.
"In time of financial difficulty, we are counting on universities and local businesses to chip in and help work this out," said Michael F. Fleming, spokesperson for the Executive Office of Enviromental Affairs.
Because "the Head brings in a lot of business and people into Cambridge," Fleming said others should bewilling to pitch in during this time of budgetaryconstraints.
But Harvard crew coach Harry Parker saidyesterday that if MDC is unable to supply anadequate police and maintenance force for theHead, he "would not know where the funds will comefrom" for further assistance.
The assistance the MDC has provided "does notcome cheaply," Romain said. The Regatta Committeeplans to pay the MDC $65,000 to $70,000 for itshelp during the Head this year