Op-ed: Vote No As Charter Commission ‘Rushed’ And Did Not Examine All Options

EDITOR’S NOTE: Framingham Source invited 10 community members to write op-eds on the ballot question voters will see during the April 4th Town of Framingham election. Voters will be asked to approve a new form of government for Framingham. A vote yes means Framingham would adopt a city form of government, with a Mayor, an 11-member City Council and a 9-member School Committee. A vote no would keep Framingham as a town.
However, the ballot question is not that simple. Every household with a registered voter was mailed a copy of the ballot question. To help voters understand the issues, five individuals wrote a vote yes op-ed and five wrote a vote no op-ed. The series will publish on Source this week with one yes and one no op-ed for five days.

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The upcoming vote on the Charter is one of the most important votes the residents of Framingham will make for years to come because it could make a long-lasting and fundamental change to our governance.

I have followed the process very closely. I watched the hearings, read the vitriolic commentary and applaud the work done by so many in our great town. There are good, dedicated and honest people on both sides of the issue.

After much thought, I am asking you to join me in voting No on the Charter.

I believe the charter will reduce opportunities for citizens’ voices to be heard and have an impact, give Framingham residents fewer opportunities to engage in one of the hallmarks of New England – participatory democracy, and was rushed through without examining all the options.

 

  • The strength of Framingham is its diversity and the ability for all voices to really have a say and be heard. Sometimes this is very frustrating, but the good outweighs the bad and often shines light on topics in new ways. This Charter would put the power in the hands of too few. I hear the pro-Charter folks say it is time we had professionals. I would argue that we have a professional town manager that is more fully versed in the issues and regulations than any mayor could be for years.  So why take a step back? I am also not sure this would bring new people into the process – so many of the issues would just transfer over.

 

  • I am extremely disappointed that the Charter Commission only took 60 percent of the time it could have to bring this proposal forward. I am all for efficiency, but when efficiency eliminates thorough research of all options and leaves unaddressed issues in the final document it is time so say “No.” 

 

I understand people want change, but we need to make sure it is the right, informed change.

Town Meeting needs to be improved but the Charter commission didn’t spend any time looking at options for improving Town Meeting. They discarded the form of government used by so many towns in this great Commonwealth before looking to see if improvements could be made.  This is like a doctor prescribing your treatment before examining you. 

And yes, I believe Town Meeting needs a doctor to get better. We had a great chance that the Charter commission threw away. I have done quite a bit of change management. And effective change management doesn’t rush and looks at all options. 

The Charter commission decided they had a solution before spending the time on a proper diagnosis. That is why it needs to go back to the drawing board. 

This is a complex issue that can’t be addressed in just a few words.

Hopefully mine at least will cause some voters to think.

Read the Charter. Read the discussions.  Read the minority report.

Vote and make an informed decision. 

Mark W. McClennan

Resident of Framingham for almost 20 years

Town Meeting member

 

 

Framingham Source Editor

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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