Video and Documents: Charter Review Committee Meeting of 5/26/10; Origins of Northampton’s Charter

Here is a complete video and a short YouTube excerpt of the May 26 meeting of Northampton’s Charter Review Committee. The complete video is 2 hours 6 minutes long, and was recorded by Adam Cohen. The first hour is devoted to a presentation on Massachusetts charters by charter expert Marilyn Contreas, Senior Program and Policy Analyst at the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. Special attention is given to the origins and motivations behind Northampton’s charter, which dates from 1883.

Contreas in YouTube excerpt: “This charter very much reflects its time…its 1883 time. The legislature as a group was very suspicious of centralized executive power. They liked to see these things that were incredibly dispersed, where the council has some independent role, and the mayor has to come to the council to get certain things done… When you read the new [modern-day] charters…that’s all gone. The mayor does this, the council does that. Those are the roles… You don’t see this commingling of powers and responsibilities that you see in these older documents.”

Here are PDFs of documents circulated at the May 26 meeting:

2010 Meeting Schedule

Outline for Discussion at May 26 Meeting

Massachusetts City Charters on Municipal Web Sites

Forms of Government in Small Massachusetts Cities

City Council Compositions in Massachusetts

Home Rule Charter Adoption or Revision in Massachusetts

Routes of Charter Change in Massachusetts

See also:

Videos: Charter Review Committee Debates Scope of Mission, How to Solicit Public Input (4/28/10)