Here is a complete blip.tv video of the 12/8/10 meeting of Northampton’s Charter Review Committee. This committee began with a public forum. Four members of the public attended: Wendy Foxmyn, Steve Herrell, John Lind, and NSNA’s videographer, Adam Cohen. All committee members were present except for Ward 5 City Councilor David Murphy. This video is 1 hour 56 minutes long.
Here are draft minutes prepared by committee member Colleen Currie:
Towards the end of the meeting, the committee voted to recommend a “Special Act” process of developing a new charter, whereby the mayor and city council would probably appoint a committee to develop a new charter for their approval. After the state legislature and governor then approve the new charter, it’s usually submitted to local voters for ratification.
The alternative is to hold an election for members of a Charter Commission. This commission drafts a charter proposal for local voter approval. This route is likely more expensive and less expeditious but could be perceived as more broadly educational and democatic. (See below for details on the two alternatives.) Wendy Foxmyn comments in the minutes:
IS MONEY MAJOR STUMBLING BLOCK? EXPEDIENCY – TIME-CONSUMING, DEMOCRACY IS MESSY. ANYTHING GOVERNMENT DOES NEEDS TIME AND CARE. COUNCIL HAS DONE IN MINI WAYS. ISSUE IS DO YOU WANT TO HAVE INDEPENDENT GROUP, INDEPENDENT OF COUNCIL.
Routes of Charter Change in Massachusetts
Charter Review Committee Leans Toward Recommending Complete Overhaul of Charter (11/14/10)
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…”
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
Massachusetts City Charters on Municipal Web Sites
Forms of Government in Small Massachusetts Cities
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Home Rule Charter Adoption or Revision in Massachusetts
Video: Bay State Village Forum for Mayoral Candidates, 10/21/09; Term Limits; North Street Condo Proposal
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