It was refreshing to see others write what I have been thinking, and that gives me comfort to write the following.
First I want to thank those who worked hard on this proposed Charter, and echo and support every comment in the Manager and Administrator editorial.
Second, as a Framingham resident and a local Town Administrator, I read the full Charter over the weekend with great interest, but the reading ended in disappointment.
I really hoped that the document would be everything I hoped it would be, but it’s not. Just a few points. Eliminating the professional experience and code of ethics a Town Manager brings to the table is a mistake that will affect every Framingham resident. You cannot eliminate that kind of training, experience, and independence from the management of a municipality and just hope an elected Mayor has relevant experience to manage a City government.
Without the checks and balances of a Manager – Council – Mayor form of government, this Charter, to me, is incomplete and needs to be voted down in order to send it back. This Charter is very heavy on high level, paid politicians, with no independent, professional municipal servant, such as our current system provides in the form of a Town Manager.
The proposed Charter also does not state the salary of an elected Mayor. I am not comfortable leaving an elected Council to negotiate salary terms with another elected politician. There needs to be a set salary or a cap. Seems like that would be an obvious thing to include, so maybe I missed that in the document, but I don’t think so.
My last point is on how the Mayor is elected. In my experience of working in a city form of government with a Council, a City Manager, and a Mayor, I would say it was the most efficient and effective model I have witnessed. In this particular model, the Mayor was elected by the Council, from the Council. This would be my recommendation for a proper model IF there is such strong support to incorporate a Mayor into our local government.
Again, I hope I have misread the proposed Charter and my concerns are only the result of my own errors in reading and understanding. In my vested opinion as a resident, I recommend voters send this Charter back for revision to lessen the control and faith placed in an elected mayor. I encourage those with the same concerns to be sure to show up to vote ‘No’.