Videos: Charter Drafting Committee, 1/9/12-1/12/12

Here are videos of the January 9, 10, 11 and 12 meetings of Northampton’s Special Act Charter Drafting Committee (click for minutes, presentations and related material). These videos were recorded by Emily Odgers. The committee will have one final meeting on January 17 before presenting its recommendations to the city council on January 19.

Notes from 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

Notes from 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 Ward 3 representative Madeline Weaver Blanchette over whether to eliminate preliminary elections. At issue was whether these elections excessively advantage incumbents and disadvantage candidates who have less money and recognition.

Notes from 1/11/12

  • The committee proposes to refer the issue of preliminary elections to a study commission

  • Signatures to be required to run for office: 50 for ward city councilor (no change), 100 for at-large city councilor, 150 for mayor

  • The committee declines to make provisions for free petitions or recall petitions (see Methuen for an example of these)

See also:

Gazette: “Northampton charter panel wants mayor to serve four years” (1/17/12)
The council is expected to study the new charter for a couple months. Should the council approve the charter changes, it would go to the state for approval and, ultimately, to the public for an up-or-down vote in November…

The committee calls for another new commission to study alternatives to the current preliminary election system, including “instant runoff voting” in which more than two candidates can run in a general election and voters cast their preferences in ranked order.

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