Charter Review Committee Leans Toward Recommending Complete Overhaul of Charter

Here is a complete video of the 11/10/10 meeting of Northampton’s Charter Review Committee. This video is 1 hour 16 minutes long and was recorded by Adam Cohen.

The committee members include Councilor Jesse M. Adams (Vice-Chair), Colleen Currie (Secretary), Councilor Marianne L. LaBarge, Councilor David A. Murphy (absent on 11/10/10), Alan Seewald (Chair), Margaret Striebel, and Marc Warner. The meeting took place in City Council Chambers.

The agenda for this meeting: 1. Public comment period (10 min), 2. Review and approve minutes from October 6, 2010 meeting (5 min), 3. Review of input from current Mayor and current and former City Councilors. (30 min), 4. Planning for December public forum. (45 min), 5. Planning for January and February meetings and preparation of report. (15 min), 6. Attendance at next meeting. (5 min), 7. New Business. (10 min), 8. Adjourn.

Here is an 11-minute YouTube excerpt where Alan Seewald summarizes the sense of the committee from his perspective and highlights areas that deserve special attention:

Alan Seewald on video:
“…it’s obvious to everyone on this committee…that a new charter needs to be developed…[and that] the best process for doing that…is through a charter commission… [Big issues include] a better separation of powers, so that the mayor is not chairing the city council’s meeting…the mayor’s role on the school committee…length of terms…there’s division on term limits…(nothing we say here is going to bind the commission to do or not do anything)…the at-large/ward mix [of city councilors]…city council officers, including vice president…election vs. appointment of positions…”

With respect to the last item, the committee noted Mayor Clare Higgins’ testimony at their previous meeting, where she suggested that the position of City Clerk be changed from an elected position to an appointed position.

The next meeting of the Charter Review Committee is December 8, 7-9pm in City Council Chambers.

See also:

Minutes: Charter Review Committee Hears from Higgins, Bardsley, Narkewicz, Plassmann (10/6/10)

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

Video: Bay State Village Forum for Mayoral Candidates, 10/21/09; Term Limits; North Street Condo Proposal

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