Commonwealth Magazine says they can't find another state with the sort of institutionalized meetings Massachusetts officials have been holding for two decades.
"It's the opposite of what you see in Washington in terms of the air wars constantly being fought." says Bill Weld, the former Republican governor who started the meetings with then-Democratic Speaker Charles Flaherty back in 1991. "You're less likely to stab someone in the back if you're going to be having tea and cookies with them next Monday."
Every person who participated in the Monday meetings says they were worthwhile. There is also an emerging consensus about what makes them work: They need to be held weekly, they need to be loosely organized, and there needs to be a real conversation.
Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, who attends the Monday meetings, says the key to their success is talking. "People wonder why government is not working. A lot of it's because people don't talk or listen," he says. "You can't do that through sound bites on a radio show, in print, or on TV. You can't really have a conversation that way."