The Charter Commission has acknowledged my suggestions to improve the proposed charter. I tried to get a better charter with:
- More council members – one per precinct instead of just 11;
- Eight-year term limit for mayor – 12-year term limit is too long, and does not encourage competition;
- Majority vote for council approval of mayor appointment of Division Heads – 6 votes rather than just 4 votes;
- Fewer signatures for candidates on the ballot, for citizen initiatives, or for appeals. The charter requirements are excessive and more than now for (a) citizen article at the spring legislative meeting (100 not 10), (b) referendum on approved legislative actions (10% not 5% of registered voters), and (c) recall of at-large elected officials (15% not 5% of registered voters);
- Responsibilities stated for the Chief Operating Officer (COO) rather than just as an advisor to the mayor; with the COO appointment approved by a majority of the Council rather than not approved at all;
- Elimination of the ‘lame duck’ provisions (from April 5th to January 2nd) for Selectmen (no appointments more than a quorum plus 1 allowed) and for Town Meeting (no general or zoning bylaws changes allowed without Selectmen approval).
But the Charter Commission would not adopt these suggestions.
For a comparison between the current town government and the proposed city government, go to the http://tinyurl.com/z8lkv3a webpage.
Consider whether you can support the proposed city charter. I cannot.