Hot Topics at This Week’s Charter Meetings So Far

[Correction: Ward 3 City Councilor Owen Freeman-Daniels did not participate in the debate over preliminary elections on January 10.]

Northampton’s Special Act Charter Drafting Committee is holding an intense series of meetings this week to prepare a proposal for City Council. See the city calendar for meeting times and places. We will post videos from these meetings within a few days. In the meantime, here are notes on Monday’s and Tuesday’s meetings from our videographer, Emily Odgers. The committee has not made its final decisions. These notes are just the sense of the committee at the present time.

Meeting of 1/9/12

  • The committee supports a four-year term for mayor (councilors to stay with two-year terms)
  • To fill a vacancy in the mayor’s position, there should be a special election unless a general election is less than six months away (same as the present rule for city council vacancies)
  • President of the city council should chair council meetings
  • No term limits for mayor
  • Ward 3 City Councilor Owen Freeman-Daniel’s suggestion to increase the city council’s power over appointments did not get traction

Meeting of 1/10/12

  • The mayor should continue to chair the school committee
  • The position of city clerk should continue to be filled by election
  • The committee supports the establishment of a commission to study instant runoff voting
  • Committee chair David Stevens had a vigorous debate with Councilor Freeman-Daniels There was a debate over whether to eliminate preliminary elections. At issue was whether these elections excessively advantage incumbents and disadvantage candidates who have less money and recognition. This matter will be revisited at the committee’s 1/11/12 meeting.

See also:

Video: Leaders Speak with Charter Drafting Committee

Video & Presentation: Charter Drafting Committee Public Forum II (12/6/11)

Video & Presentation: Charter Drafting Committee Public Forum of November 15, 2011