Monthly Archives: September 2015

DON’T COUNT ON CHARTER COMMISSION OR CHARTER REVIEW

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While those that do vote kvetch and complain about those that don’t or how dumb it is to spend money to eliminate 1 candidate and start talking about the need for Charter Change, do not count on this or the next City Council to bring in a motion, support or call for a Charter Review Commission. Why should they? If people don’t care enough to vote, think they really care about the process or rules of voting?

Why would any sitting City Councilor bring forth a motion to start a charter review that could change the way the city votes. If you are one of the 7 Belvedere candidates, would you want to run in Ward 1 against Rita Mercier? Who cares that the last Centralville City Councilor was Peter Richards? No One!

Why would the Council risk opening up the entire charter? It will NOT happen.

According to the state website there are 2 basic ways to make changes to the charter:

The Two Main Charter Change Routes

The Home Rule Amendment to the state’s constitution provides several routes for preparing or revising a charter.

The most familiar are:
Electing a home rule charter commission
Petitioning the state legislature for special legislation (“the home rule petition”).

The website explains: Leadership already “on the same page” regarding the change needed in the structure of the government may find the “home rule petition” route more efficient and timely

The general belief is that the “special act route” is faster, since the local legislative body approval and state legislature/governor approval can be achieved in one year, while a charter commission taking the maximum amount of time available (18 months) will not see its proposal on a ballot until 2 years following its election. However, study committees may take longer than one year. For example, the committee in Bridgewater worked for almost two years before presenting its proposals to the town meeting in the fall of 2009.

All this or the next Council has to do is have the “Rules SubCommittee” bring forth a motion requesting a Home Rule Petition to change what now reads:

Section 14. If at the expiration of the time for filing statements of candidates to be voted for at any preliminary election, not more than twice as many such statements have been filed with the election commission for the office of mayor, councillor or school committee as are to be elected to said offices, respectively, the candidates whose statements have thus been filed shall be deemed to have been nominated to said offices,respectively, and their names shall be used at such biennial or special election, and the election commission shall not print said names upon the ballot to be used at said preliminary election, and no other nomination to said offices shall be made.

to this: If at the expiration of the time for filing statements of candidates to be voted for at any preliminary election, not more than three times as many such statements have been filed with the election commission for the office of mayor, councillor or school committee as are to be elected to said offices, respectively, the candidates whose statements have thus been filed shall be deemed to have been nominated to said offices,respectively, and their names shall be used at such biennial or special election, and the election commission shall not print said names upon the ballot to be used at said preliminary election, and no other nomination to said offices shall be made.

Then have Tom Golden, Dave Nangle and/or Rady Mom bring it forth in the House and before the next City Council election the number of candidates required has been moved from 18 to 24.

Why would the present Administration or Council want to risk any other type of change? They will hold a “Public Hearing” which will give the handful of people who want to change to Ward or Neighborhood representation a chance to speak, while also having those in favor of leaving things just as they are speaking in support of the above proposal. No risk, they changed the number to 24 and eliminated having to spend $75,000+ on a preliminary to eliminate 1 challenger while also protecting themselves from having to face a more one on one challenge.

So while I expect Mayor Elliott or Councilor Rourke, Belanger or Leahy to bring in a motion to change the min. required number of candidates, don’t expect it to be a full open Charter Review.