Changing # required for Preliminary or/and Signatures will have a public discussion


I was at a meeting for the Citywide Parent Council last night and missed the City Council meeting. However based on Dick Howe’s well written summary it seems the following issue was discussed and comments made:

In response to a report on the process of changing the charter, Councilor Mercier says she has filed a motion for next week to increase number of candidates needed for a preliminary election from 19 to 25 and to increase the signature requirement from 50 to 150.

Now before anyone panics and makes the assumption that this will be voted on and passed next week, it isn’t how it works.

Rita will have her motion, speak on it and if I am correct, someone will either make a motion to send to the Rules committee or to create a Charter subcommittee and refer this to that committee to have a public meeting and get public impute.

There is no chance that this will be voted on, approved and sent to the Law Dept. to draft a Home Rule Petition without first allowing the public to voice their thoughts and concerns.

Most people agree it is not financially sound to hold a preliminary that cost $60,000- $75,000 to eliminate 1 or 2 people. Upping the number required to hold a preliminary isn’t a bad idea.

Upping the signatures isn’t that much or a stretch either. Asking candidates to get more than 50 voters to sign their nomination papers isn’t that unfair and shows that the candidate is serious. Maybe 100 would be a better number.

Boston “District Council Candidates” are required to get 200 signatures (3 wards have less 150-166-189). the “At Large” Council candidates require 1,500

Worcester “District” Councilors require 100 signatures while Councilor At-Large or School Committee: 300

Fall River only requires 50 has does Chelmsford and Dracut.

Whatever the number, be assured that the Council isn’t going to change anything without hearing from the public. Making a motion is just a first step!