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Charter review committee minutes 2010 10-06 Charter review committee minutes 2010 10-06 Document Transcript

  • Northampton Charter Review Committee Councilor Jesse M. Adams(Vice-Chair) Colleen Currie (Secretary) Councilor Marianne L. LaBarge Councilor David A. Murphy Alan Seewald (Chair) Margaret Striebel Marc Warner 1OCTOBER 6, 2010 - HEARING ROOM - CITY HALL - 7 P.M. PRESENT: JESSE ADAMS, COLLEEN CURRIE, MARIANNE LABARGE, DAVID MURPHY, ALAN SEEWALD, MARGARET STRIEBEL, MARC WARNER ATTENDING: MICHAEL BARDSLEY, MARY CLAIRE HIGGINS, DAVID NARKEWICZ, ANGELA PLASSMAN MINUTES Agenda MR. SEEWALD CALLED THE MEETING TO ORDER AND WELCOMED NEW MEMBER, MARC WARNER. 1. PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD NO PUBLIC COMMENT. 2. REVIEW AND APPROVE MINUTES FROM AUGUST 11, 2010 MEETING COUNCILOR LABARGE MOVED TO APPROVE THE MINUTES. COUNCILOR ADAMS SECONDED THE MOTION. THE MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY. 3. PUBLIC FORUM SEEKING INPUT FROM CURRENT AND FORMER MAYORS, CITY COUNCILORS, AND SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEMBERS 1
  • MR. SEEWALD STATED BROAD ISSUE IS WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOESN’T WORK WITH CURRENT CHARTER. SOME SPECIFIC ISSUES - TERM LIMITS, MAYOR CHAIRING CITY COUNCIL. HE THEN ASKED COMMITTEE MEMBERS WHETHER THERE WERE OTHER ISSUES THEY WOULD LIKE INPUT ON FROM OFFICIALS PRESENT. COUNCILOR LABARGE - TERM LIMITS, MAYOR CHAIRING COUNCIL AND SCHOOL COMMITTEE. COUNCILOR ADAMS - TWO-YEAR LIMITS EXCEPT FOR SCHOOL COMMITTEE; SHOULD THEY BE LONGER, E.G., FOUR YEARS? MS. CURRIE - NO PARTICULAR ISSUES; THINKS OUR TASK IS BROADER. MS. STRIEBEL - RELATIVE EFFICACY OF CHARTER - RELEVANT TO OPERATIONS, CONSIDERED IN DECISION-MAKING? MR. WARNER - COMPARING OTHER CHARTERS - STRONG CITY MANAGER VS. MAYOR; AT-LARGE VS. DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVES; OVERRIDES. COUNCILOR MURPHY - NO ITEMS; INTERESTED IN HEARING FROM THESE FOLKS ON THEIR TAKE ON WHAT WE’RE DOING. MR. SEEWALD – THE COMMITTEE HAS TALKED A LOT ABOUT SCRAPPING CURRENT CHARTER AND RECOMMENDING A NEW CHARTER BE CREATED. IF WE RECOMMEND - THOUGHTS RE BEST METHOD - COMMISSION (HOME RULE) OR SPECIAL ACT? POLITICS AND PUBLIC POLICY INVOLVED IN DECIDING HOW TO GET A NEW CHARTER. LET’S START WITH CURRENT MAYOR. MAYOR CLAIRE HIGGINS- THINKS IT’S NOT HELPFUL FOR HER TO START. MR. SEEWALD – LET’S START ON THIS SIDE OF ROOM: COUNCILOR ANGELA PLASSMAN - WANTS TO HEAR FROM THE MAYOR. MAYOR HIGGINS - 1883 - ONE OF OLDEST. ONLY NORTHAMPTON AND TAUNTON HAVE MAYOR CHAIRING COUNCIL. ANTIQUATED, 2
  • MAYBE FROM TOWN MEETING FORM OF GOVERNMENT THINKS BEST MAYOR NOT CHAIR. WOULD EMPOWER THE COUNCIL IN A POSITIVE WAY TO A CERTAIN EXTENT. DEFINITELY THINKS OF CHARTER. EXAMPLE OF DAM - ASSET OF WATER DEPARTMENT. CHARTER COULD BE CLEARER. SOME THINGS COULD BE DONE BY ORDINANCE, E.G., STRUCTURE OF FIRE DEPARTMENT AND OTHER DEPARTMENTAL THINGS. DON’T NEED THAT LEVEL OF DETAIL IN CHARTER. NOT IN FAVOR OF TERM LIMITS - THAT’S WHAT BALLOT IS FOR LENGTH OF TERMS - SOME CITIES GOING TO 4-YEAR TERMS FOR MAYOR - MAKES SOME SENSE, BUT NOT IF MAYOR CONTINUES TO CHAIR COUNCIL. SCHOOL COMMITTEE - THINKS MAYOR SHOULD CHAIR - CAME IN WITH PROP0SITION 2 ½ - TO LINK BUDGET WITH SCHOOL COMMITTEE - JUST UNDER 60 PERCENT OF BUDGET. ONE VOTE OF TEN. NO VETO POWER CITY MANAGER - WORCESTER, CHELSEA, LOWELL, CAMBRIDGE - MAYOR, CITY COUNCIL, AND CITY MANAGER. BUT HAVE TO PAY A LOT MORE FOR CITY MANAGER. AMHERST JUST HIRED MANAGER FOR $127,000. THAT’S PROBABLY BALLPARK. COUNCILOR ADAMS - VETO POWER WITH COUNCIL, NOT SCHOOL COMMITTEE. MAYOR HIGGINS - MAYOR SETS BOTTOM LINE OF SCHOOL DEPARTMENT; COMMITTEE DECIDES WHERE MONEY GOES. MAYOR SETS BUDGET FOR CITY, COUNCIL CAN SUBTRACT BUT NOT ADD TO BUDGET. MR. WARNER - CAME FROM CAMBRIDGE - CITY MANAGER ENORMOUS BUDGET - STRONG MANAGER. MAYOR HIGGINS - CITY HAS HAD HISTORY OF STRONG MANAGERS MARY FORD, DAVID MUSANTE, SEAN DUNPHY. 3
  • IF ANYTHING OTHER THAN SMALL CHANGES, NEED COMMISSION. NEEDS TO BE STAFFED AND FUNDED. WE’VE DONE WELL WITH MAYORS; ENORMOUS CHANGE TO GO TO CITY MANAGER. MR. WARNER - MOST OF NEW CHARTERS - WENT TO CITY MANAGERS [SECRETARY COULD NOT DECIPHER WHAT WAS STATED IN TERMS OF NUMBERS OF COMMUNITIES BEING DISCUSSED, NUMBERS WHICH CHOSE CITY MANAGERS, ETC.] MAYOR HIGGINS - DISAGREED - GREENFIELD, WEST SPRINGFIELD, EASTHAMPTON BECAME CITIES; DID NOT CHOOSE CITY MANAGER. STRONG MANAGER - CHELSEA - COMING OUT OF RECEIVERSHIP. WORCESTER - AFTER SIGNIFICANT MAJOR FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES. MR. WARNER - RANDOLPH? WATERTOWN? MAYOR HIGGINS - TOWN FORM OF GOVERNMENT, NOT CITIES. COUNCILOR ADAMS - TWO-YEAR TERMS SUFFICIENT? WHY SCHOOL COMMITTEE WARD 4 YEARS, AT-LARGE 2 YEARS? MAYOR HIGGINS - SCHOOL COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVES USED TO BE ELECTED AT-LARGE; DOESN’T RECALL HOW TERM LENGTHS DEVELOPED. EARLIER CHARTER REVIEW COMMITTEE LOOKED AT SOME OF THESE TERMS. MOST COMMON CHANGE - 4- YEAR MAYORAL TERM - SPRINGFIELD, SALEM. COUNCIL - MORE CONNECTED TO WARDS ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS- 2-YEAR TERMS. THINKS IT’S AN OPEN QUESTION. THOUGH BOSTON HAS FOUR-YEAR MAYOR AND TWO-YEAR COUNCILORS. COUNCILOR ADAMS - ANY STRUCTURE FOR WARD AND AT-LARGE COUNCILORS HAVING DIFFERENT LENGTH TERMS? MAYOR HIGGINS - UP TO CITY OR TOWN, E.G., OF GREENFIELD. DIFFERENT THAN ANY CHARTER SHE’S SEEN. 4
  • MR. SEEWALD - OPINION RE WARD AND AT-LARGE? MAYOR HIGGINS - WARD REPRESENTATION IS GOOD IDEA. MR. SEEWALD - PRESIDENT OF COUNCIL - ONLY AT-LARGE OR CAN IT BE WARD REPRESENTATIVE? MAYOR HIGGINS - COUNCIL’S DECISION - THEY ELECT THEIR PRESIDENT. E.G., NYC - CITIZENS ELECT COUNCIL PRESIDENT; WE DON’T DO THAT HERE. COUNCILOR ADAMS - IS DISTRIBUTION BETWEEN WARD AND AT- LARGE GOOD. COMPARE HOLYOKE NUMBERS AND DISTRIBUTION. MAYOR HIGGINS - 15 UNWIELDY - IMAGINE HOW LONG MEETINGS WOULD BE. BELIEVES OUR DISTRIBUTION WORKS WELL. COUNCILOR MURPHY - WOULD YOU BE CONCERNED IF TERM LENGTHENED, WOULD OFF-YEAR ELECTION VOTER TURN-OUT BE NEGATIVELY EFFECTED? MAYOR HIGGINS - ON FLIP SIDE - SALEM GOOD EXAMPLE - GUY WHO SUGGESTED 4-YEAR TERM WAS THROWN OUT. MS. CURRIE - LOW VOTER TURN-OUT IS NATIONAL PROBLEM. COUNCILOR LABARGE - NUMBER OF SIGNATURES NEEDED TO MAKE BALLOT - ONLY 50 - COSTS CITY A LOT OF MONEY TO HAVE PRIMARY. $15-20 THOUSAND. MAYOR HIGGINS - IT’S REASONABLE TO ASK MAYOR AND AT- LARGE COUNCILORS TO GET MORE - 100 TO 150 - CITY CLERK, ETC. MR. SEEWALD - DO YOU SUPPORT ELECTIONS FOR SUCH POSITIONS - CITY CLERK MAYOR HIGGINS - NO. SHOULD NOT BE POPULARITY CONTEST – PROFESSIONAL POSITION. WOULD SUPPORT LIFE TENURE. ISSUE FOR VOTERS. COUNCILOR MURPHY - SHE HAD TO RECUSE HERSELF IN RECENT ELECTION BECAUSE SHE WAS CANDIDATE. 5
  • COUNCILOR ADAMS - OTHER CITIES HAVE DONE AWAY WITH ELECTED CLERK, ETC.? MAYOR HIGGINS - OTHER CITIES GETTING RID OF ELECTED CLERK, TREASURER, SOLICITOR - PROFESSIONAL POSITIONS. MR. WARNER - LIFE TENURE, BUT HEADS OF DEPARTMENT SERVE AT PLEASURE OF MAYOR. MAYOR HIGGINS DISAGREED - MOST ARE IN UNION - APPOINTED, BUT DISMISSAL MUST BE FOR JUST CAUSE - HIGH LEGAL STANDARD. MR. SEEWALD CLARIFIED - LIFETIME TENURE FOR THOSE IN POSITION; NEXT PERSON IS DEPARTMENT HEAD. MAYOR HIGGINS - CITY CLERK, TREASURER, SOLICITOR COUNCILOR LABARGE - IF WE DO CHARTER COMMISSION - HOW DOES THAT WORK? MAYOR HIGGINS - GAVE EXAMPLE RE COUNCIL’S ACTIONS RE ASSESSORS, COLLECTOR, AUDITOR. UP TO COUNCIL - MANY MODELS. MR. WARNER - EXPLAIN ISSUE RE DAM - WHY WOULDN’T CITY COUNCIL WANT OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK ON THAT ISSUE. MAYOR HIGGINS - NOT BEGRUDGING OPPORTUNITY OF CITY COUNCIL TO SPEAK. IMPORTANT TO KEEP SEPARATE LINES OF DECISION-MAKING - ASSET OF WATER DEPARTMENT AND RATE PAYERS. COUNCILOR DAVID NARKEWICZ - SIMILAR COMMENTS. OLD CHARTER. COBBLED TOGETHER OVER THE YEARS. RELEVANCE TO WORK - PULLING HAIR OUT TRYING TO FIGURE OUT - SOME STUFF IN CHARTER, SOME IN ORDINANCES, SOME IN BOTH. PULL IT BACK - FRAMING DOCUMENT LIKE A CONSTITUTION – EXECUTIVE, LEGISLATIVE. ABILITY TO ESTABLISH DEPARTMENTS WITHIN ORDINANCES. LET COUNCIL DO SO. SENSE IS IT NEEDS TO BE STARTED FROM SQUARE ONE. SAMPLE CHARTERS - LESS DETAIL, MOSTLY BASIC STRUCTURE, LEAVING DETAILS TO ORDINANCES. 6
  • SEPARATION OF POWERS - ODD THAT LEGISLATIVE BODY CHAIRED BY EXECUTIVE. HE WORKED IN CONGRESS; THOUGHT OF PRESIDENT ON DAIS OF LEGISLATURE BIZARRE EXCEPT FOR STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS. SCHOOL COMMITTEE - MAYOR ON COMMITTEE - CHAIRING IS SEPARATE ISSUE. OUR CHARTER SAYS MAYOR IS CHAIR OF ANY COMMITTEE ON WHICH S/HE SITS. BUT IMPORTANT TO CONSIDER SIZE OF SCHOOL BUDGET AND TO MAINTAIN LINK. TERMS - WARD AND AT-LARGE GOOD BALANCE. COMPARE SPRINGFIELD. USED TO BE ALL AT-LARGE. RESULTED IN IMBALANCE IN REPRESENTATION. TERM LIMITS - NOT A FAN. BALLOT BOX - PEOPLE DECIDE. ARTIFICIAL. LENGTH OF TERMS - COUNCIL - TWO YEARS REASONABLE. SCHOOL COMMITTEE - NOT SURE OF RATIONALE FOR LONGER TERM. SEES REASON FOR MAYOR BEING LONGER TERM - ABILITY TO IMPLEMENT VISION. WILL BE INTERESTING TO COMPARE OTHER COMMUNITIES. MR. SEEWALD - IF BACK TO SQUARE ONE - CHARTER COMMISSION OR SPECIAL ACT? COUNCILOR NARKEWICZ - IN EITHER CASE NEED PROFESSIONAL CONSULTATION. HAD E-MAILED LINK FROM UMASS RE CONSULTING SERVICE. MR. SEEWALD - RECOGNIZES BUDGET AND PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT NECESSARY WITH EITHER METHOD, BUT THERE IS A VERY POLITICAL PROCESS BY WHICH CHARTER COMMISSION GETS ELECTED, AND VERY STRICT TIME LINES FOR REPORTS AND TO GET BACK ON THE BALLOT. – MEANT TO ASK THIS OF MAYOR, TOO – IS THAT SPECIFIC PROCESS BETTER FOR CITY, OR WOULD IT BE BETTER FOR MAYOR AND COUNCIL TO APPOINT CITIZENS TO DO WORK? 7
  • COUNCILOR NARKEWICZ - SO DISCUSSING TWO OPTIONS. ONE INVOLVES ELECTING A CHARTER COMMISSION, GETTING REPORTS, AND GETTING RECOMMENDATIONS ONTO BALLOT. OTHER OPTION IS TO DO AS WE HAVE IN THE PAST, WHICH IS TO AGREE ON CHANGE WE WANT, GET APPROVED BY MAJORITY OF CITY COUNCIL, AND THEN SUBMIT TO LEGISLATURE. MR. SEEWALD - AND OFTEN LEGISLATURE MAKES YOU PUT IT ON THE BALLOT. VOTERS GET A SHOT AT IT; QUEX IS HOW MANY SHOTS HE’S INTERESTED IN PROCESS WHICH IS MORE LIKELY TO SUCCEED. HOW POLITICIZED? AND DOES POLITICIZED PROCESS MAKE SUCCESS LESS LIKELY? COUNCILOR NARKEWICZ - LAST ATTEMPT - NOT ENOUGH VOTES TO GET COMMISSION APPOINTED. EITHER WAY, IT’S POLITICIZED. EITHER WAY, ON THE BALLOT. ONE ADVANTAGE OF COMMISSION IS INDEPENDENCE OF MEMBERS - ELECTED INDIVIDUALLY. MAYOR HIGGINS - THINKS COMMISSION IS WAY TO GO. COUNCILOR LABARGE - ALSO NOT A FAN OF TERM LIMITS. HAPPY WITH CURRENT LENGTH OF TERMS. MS. CURRIE - ASKED COUNCILOR NARKEWICZ HIS POSITION ON NUMBER OF SIGNATURES NEEDED TO BE ON BALLOT. COUNCILOR NARKEWICZ - DEFINITELY SHOULD BE HIGHER. IN CHARTER. TAKES ACT OF LEGISLATURE TO CHANGE NUMBER. MR. WARNER - BACK TO ISSUE OF CONTROL. E.G., LANDFILL HOW DIFFERENT THAN DAM? MAYOR HIGGINS - DIFFERENT THAN OWNERSHIP OF LAND. COUNCILOR NARKEWICZ - DPW DIDN’T MAKE CLEAR DECISION. MR. WARNER - CHARTER ISSUE? COUNCILOR NARKEWICZ - NO. DPW CHOSE NOT TO SEEK EXPANSION. KNOWS THEY WOULD DIFFER WITH HIS INTERPRETATION, BUT... 8
  • MR. WARNER - ROLE OF MAYOR MORE CLEARLY DEFINED IN CHARTER. COUNCILOR NARKEWICZ - COUNCIL BETTER DEFINED IN ORDINANCES. MR. WARNER - A PROBLEM? COUNCILOR NARKEWICZ - YES, IF CITIZEN WANTS TO PICK UP DOCUMENT AND BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND FRAMEWORK OF GOVERNMENT. COUNCILOR MURPHY - LANDFILL - GOOD EXAMPLE - COUNCIL DEALT WITH AS ZONING ISSUE. FUNDING OR PERMITTING ALSO WAYS TO DEAL WITH IT. MS. STRIEBEL - GREATER EMPOWERMENT OF COUNCIL IF MAYOR NOT CHAIRING - HOW SO? COUNCILOR NARKEWICZ - HE’S CHAIRED WHEN MAYOR NOT THERE – DIFFERENT DYNAMIC. FEELS MORE LEGISLATIVE. WHEN MAYOR THERE - HAS INFORMATION NEEDED BUT AWKWARD POSITION – ALSO ADVOCATING ADMINISTRATION’S POSITION. MS. STRIEBEL - WOULD ALSO ENHANCE ROLE OF MAYOR. MAYOR HIGGINS - WOULD CLARIFY ROLES. DID WITH FIRE DEPARTMENT, FINANCE. POLICY, FUNDING, NOT DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS COUNCILOR ADAMS - ALSO SAW IN DISCUSSION RE DPW FUNDING FOR FACILITY. MAYOR PRESENTED; PRESIDENT CHAIRED – EFFECTIVE. BUT QUESTION - CAN’T MAKE ORDINANCE RE DAM? MAYOR HIGGINS - RE DAM - CAN’T OVERRIDE CHARTER WITH ORDINANCE. RE - DPW FUNDING, E.G., IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO ADVOCATE AS MAYOR. CLEANER TO SEPARATE ROLES. COUNCILOR MURPHY - OUR CHARTER DOES NOT ALLOW COUNCIL TO PLAY MAJOR ROLE IN BUDGET. DIFFERENT CHARTER - SHOULD IT CHANGE ROLE OF COUNCIL RE BUDGET? 9
  • MAYOR HIGGINS - THINKS SOME OF IT IS A FUNCTION OF STATE LAW. COUNCILOR NARKEWICZ - IF MORE LIKE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, WOULD REALLY NEED TO CHANGE STRUCTURE - COUNCIL WOULD NEED PROFESSIONAL STAFF (ASSESSORS, AUDITOR, FINANCE). COULD PART-TIME COUNCIL DO THAT? WOULD NEED TO CHANGE STRUCTURE. COUNCILOR MURPHY - STATE LEGISLATURE HAS PROFESSIONAL HELP AND STILL CAN’T FIGURE IT OUT. MICHAEL BARDSLEY - CONTEXTUAL COMMENTS - WE’RE HERE BECAUSE OF WORK OF BEST PRACTICES COMMITTEE. ONE OF TEN CHANGES RECOMMENDED WAS CHARTER STUDY/REVIEW. LOW VOTER TURNOUT - FEELING OF DISCONNECTION - BEST PRACTICES SHOWED GREATER LEVEL OF INVOLVEMENT. PAST EFFORTS RE CHARTER REVIEW - NOT ENOUGH INTEREST TO GET ON BALLOT. BELIEVES THERE IS INTEREST NOW. PRESENT CHARTER - LANGUAGE OUTDATED. NOT READILY ACCESSIBLE. PIECEMEAL CHANGES OVER THE YEARS - WORDY FOOTNOTES; LOTS OF SECTIONS DELETED. NOT ACCESSIBLE; ALMOST UNDEMOCRATIC. SOME SECTIONS NO LONGER RELEVANT. SOME SECTIONS MORE APPROPRIATE AS ORDINANCES - EASIER TO CHANGE ORDINANCES. SPECIFICS - IN FAVOR OF EXTENDING TERMS OF MAYOR AND COUNCIL. TWO YEARS TOO SHORT. ESSENTIALLY A YEAR OFF FROM CAMPAIGNING. THREE OR FOUR YEARS MAY BE BETTER IN FAVOR OF TERM LIMITS FOR EXECUTIVE. COMPARE FEDERAL - TERM LIMITS FOR PRESIDENT, NOT LEGISLATURE. KEY ISSUE HERE IS BALANCE OF POWERS. COUNCILORS ARE PART-TIME. TAKES TIME TO LEARN JOB. 10
  • CONSIDER VICE-PRESIDENT FOR COUNCIL. SOLICITOR FELT IT WAS CHARTER ISSUE. SPECIAL MEETINGS - ROBERT’S RULES - NEED TO BE SPECIFIED HOW THEY OCCUR. MR. SEEWALD ASKED RE MAYOR PRESIDING OVER CITY COUNCIL. MR.BARDSLEY - BELIEVES IT COMES UP WHEN THERE’S OBJECTION TO STYLE. CAN HAPPEN WITH MAYOR OR CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT. BELIEVES IT WAS TO ALLOW COUNCILORS TO PARTICIPATE. CHAIR CANNOT PARTICIPATE. MUST STEP DOWN FROM CHAIR. DIFFICULT FOR MAYORS TO BE ABSOLUTELY NEUTRAL. PROS AND CONS. CITY MANAGER; ELECTION OF CITY CLERK, ETC. - CONSIDER NON- BINDING REFERENDUM. TO GET ELECTORATE TO WEIGH IN . OPPORTUNITY FOR DISCUSSION. CITY CLERK - INDEPENDENCE USEFUL. HE THINKS MAIN TASK OF COMMITTEE IS TO IDENTIFY KEY ISSUES, NOT NECESSARILY TO WEIGH IN ON THEM. CHARTER CONNECTED TO ORDINANCES; ORDINANCES CONNECTED TO COUNCIL RULES. SOME OTHER GROUP MAY NEED TO ADDRESS RELATION OF ORDINANCES AND COUNCIL RULES. MR. SEEWALD - CHARTER COMMISSIONS OFTEN DO TOTAL REVIEW TO INCLUDE ORDINANCES. COUNCILOR LABARGE - PROBLEM WITH NON-BINDING REFERENDUM. MAYBE MISUNDERSTOOD - KEEPS ISSUES OUT OF PUBLIC SPOTLIGHT? MR. BARDSLEY CLARIFIED - BRINGS INTO PUBLIC SPOTLIGHT. BELIEVES A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BE HEARD ABOUT CITY GOVERNMENT AND WANT TO BE PART OF DEBATE. EXAMPLE OF NON-BINDING REFERENDUM ON LANDFILL. JUST A THOUGHT THAT CAME TO HIM - AS A TOOL TO INVOLVE PEOPLE. 11
  • E.G., THIS MEETING NOT LISTED ON CITY CALENDAR OR ON THIS COMMITTEE’S WEBSITE. COUNCILOR LABARGE - THIS COMMITTEE CAN DO MORE OUTREACH. THIS COMMITTEE AND WHATEVER DEVELOPS FROM IT CAN HOLD PUBLIC HEARINGS. AGREES WITH REFERENDUM IF IT HAS A VALUE - E.G., MONEY ISSUE. COUNCILOR ADAMS - POSITION RE MAYOR CHAIRING COUNCIL? MR. BARDSLEY - PROS AND CONS. CHAIR CANNOT PARTICIPATE IN DEBATE; NEEDS TO STEP AWAY FROM CHAIR - HIS READING OF RULES. CHAIR TO BE NEUTRAL. COUNCILOR AS CHAIR NOT REPRESENTING THOSE WHO ELECTED HIM/HER. MS. STRIEBEL - KNOWS MORE ABOUT TOWN VS. CITY. ARE THERE OPTIONS? E.G., MODERATOR. MR. BARDSLEY - REQUIRES CHARTER CHANGE - WOULD HAVE TO CREATE POSITION. COUNCILOR MURPHY - IF VOTERS UNDERSTOOD ROLE OF COUNCILORS, I.E, CHAIR NOT BEING ABLE TO ADVOCATE, PERHAPS WARD REPRESENTATIVE SHOULD NOT CHAIR. PERHAPS LARGEST VOTE GETTER IN AT-LARGE ELECTION WOULD BE PRESIDENT – COULDN’T ADVOCATE. VOTERS WOULD KNOW UP FRONT WARD COUNCILORS WOULD NOT BE ELIGIBLE TO BE COUNCIL PRESIDENT. MR. BARDSLEY - IF KNOWN UP FRONT, MAY EFFECT DECISIONS ABOUT RUNNING FOR POSITION, I.E., WARD VS. AT-LARGE. AND IF THERE’S A VICE-CHAIR, MIGHT BE OTHER AT-LARGE COUNCILOR. WORTH CONSIDERATION. COUNCILOR ADAMS - POINT - SHOULD ALWAYS LEAVE POSSIBILITY OF WARD COUNCILOR BE PRESIDENT, E.G., EXPERIENCE MR. WARNER - CHAIR NOT BEING ABLE TO ADVOCATE - SIZE OF BODY ISSUE - ISN’T CONCERN CUTTING OFF DEBATE? MR. BARDSLEY - THERE IS MECHANISM - CHAIR STEPS DOWN TO ADVOCATE; SOMEONE ELSE CHAIRS THAT SEGMENT OF MEETING. COUNCILOR NARKEWICZ - DIFFERENT INTERPRETATION – RULE 12
  • ABOUT CHAIR DESIGNED FOR LARGER LEGISLATIVE BODIES. CITIES WHERE MAYOR CHAIRS - RULES PROVIDE NO LOSS OF ABILITY TO PARTICIPATE AND/OR ADVOCATE. OUR RULE IS MAYOR IS TO BE IMPARTIAL. MR. BARDSLEY - COUNCIL CAN MODIFY RULES, INCLUDING ROBERT’S RULES. DESIGNED FOR WIDE RANGE OF SIZE OF BODIES. EXEMPTS BODIES LIKE OUR COMMITTEE. COUNCIL DIFFERENT – LEGISLATIVE. MAYOR NOT A MEMBER OF COUNCIL - SHOULD NOT BE INVOLVED IN DEBATE. MR. SEEWALD - IS CONCERN THAT ROBERT’S RULES DON’T ALLOW CHAIR TO PARTICIPATE - THAT IT’S A BAD DECISION - RECOGNIZING SELF, WEIGHING IN ON EVERY ISSUE? MR. BARDSLEY - A WAY COULD BE FOUND TO ALLOW PARTICIPATION. MR. SEEWALD - IF STRUCTURE IN PLACE, WOULD IT CHANGE YOUR OPINION? MR. BARDSLEY - WORKS EITHER WAY. COUNCILOR LABARGE - IS POSITION THAT WARD REPRESENTATIVES SHOULD NOT BE PRESIDENT OR VICE-PRESIDENT? MR. BARDSLEY - OUT OF CONTEXT - COUNCILOR MURPHY PROPOSED IDEA - RESPONDING, NOT ENDORSING. COUNCILOR ANGELA PLASSMAN - CONCERNED ABOUT PUBLIC NOTIFICATION ABOUT THIS MEETING. SUGGESTS ANOTHER PUBLIC MEETING - WELL-PUBLICIZED. IF NEW CHARTER - PUBLIC COMMENT AT WARD LEVEL. IN FAVOR OF TERM LIMITS - NEW IDEAS AND FRESH BLOOD. TERM LENGTH - E.G., IF 4-YEAR MAYOR - TWO TERMS. CITY COUNCILOR - LENGTH OF TERM - LEARNING CURVE - LONGER TERM MAY BE BETTER - GOOD TO TALK ABOUT IT. MAYOR AS CHAIR OF COUNCIL AND SCHOOL COMMITTEE - AGREES SHE NEEDS TO GIVE INPUT. DOES NOT THINK SHE NEEDS TO CHAIR. 13
  • ELECTION OF CITY CLERK - TOO MUCH POWER IN MAYOR’S OFFICE. OPPOSED CHANGE IN TREASURER’S POSITION. NUMBER OF SIGNATURES NEEDED TO BE ON BALLOT - DEFINITELY INCREASE - WHY NOT 50 SIGNATURES FOR EACH WARD? COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS - NOW ALL TO MAYOR’S OFFICE; MAYOR DECIDES WHO IS APPOINTED. SHE BELIEVES CITY COUNCILORS SHOULD REVIEW AND REPORT TO MAYOR. MR. SEEWALD - NOW A CHARTER ISSUE. DOES SHE BELIEVE IT SHOULD BE CHARTER OR ORDINANCE ISSUE? GREATER DETAIL THAN HE ENVISIONS FOR CHARTER. COUNCILOR PLASSMAN - DOESN’T KNOW - COUNCILORS DON’T GET TO SEE APPLICATIONS. CHARTER LANGUAGE OUTDATED. SPECIAL MEETINGS - NEEDS TO BE CLARIFIED. MUDDY NOW. STIPEND FOR CITY COUNCILOR SHOULD BE RAISED. WANT GOOD PEOPLE IN JOB, NEED TO PAY MORE MONEY. MR. SEEWALD - HOW MUCH IS IT? COUNCILOR ADAMS - FIVE THOUSAND FOR COUNCILORS; FIFTY-FIVE HUNDRED FOR COUNCIL PRESIDENT. MAYOR HIGGINS - ORDINANCE, NOT CHARTER. ANY COUNCILOR COULD INTRODUCE ORDINANCE TO CHANGE IT. COUNCILOR PLASSMAN - MORE PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT IN THIS PROCESS NEEDED. MR. SEEWALD - BE ASSURED - THERE WILL BE SPECIFIC PUBLIC FORUM. WILL CALL ON YOU TO GET CONSTITUENTS INVOLVED. WE’D HOPE FOR MORE FORMER OFFICIALS TONIGHT. MS. CURRIE - CLARIFYING LACK OF PUBLIC NOTICE - WE’VE HAD CONFUSION ABOUT RESPONSIBILITY FOR POSTING. THOUGHT WE WERE GETTING IT TO THE RIGHT PLACE FOR POSTING ON WEBSITE. APPARENTLY NOT. 14
  • RE NOTICE T0 MICHAEL BARDSLEY - MY RESPONSIBILITY; HAD WRONG E-MAIL ADDRESS. ASKED THAT NOTICE BE FORWARDED BY SOMEONE WHO HAD CURRENT ADDRESS. APPARENTLY DID NOT HAPPEN. MY FAULT FOR NOT FOLLOWING UP TO MAKE SURE IT HAD HAPPENED. RE: PUBLIC FORUM IN PARTICULAR - HAVE DISCUSSED HOW TO PUBLICIZE - NEWSPAPERS, RADIO, ETC., AND WILL DO SO, IN ADDITION TO ASKING FOR COUNCILORS ASSISTANCE IN EACH WARD. PERSONAL OPINION - WE’VE BEEN DITHERING. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN EMBARRASSING TO HAVE LARGE NUMBER OF PUBLIC ATTEND. ACTUALLY TONIGHT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE PUBLIC FORUM, BUT MINUTES GOT OUT LATE AND WE GOT ORDER OF MEETINGS CONFUSED. PERSONAL OPINION - BELIEVES THIS MEETING SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED BEFORE PUBLIC FORUM, AS IT HAS. BUT OCCURRED BECAUSE A MEETING GOT CANCELLED AND BECAUSE MINUTES WERE LATE. ALSO UNTIL THIS MEETING DID NOT REALLY HAVE ISSUES TO BRING TO PUBLIC FORUM. NOW WE DO. EARLY DISCUSSION LED TO OPINION THAT CHARTER NEEDS TO BE SCRAPPED. I’VE QUESTIONED WHY NOT PRESENT THAT AS RECOMMENDATION, AND LET REAL WORK PROCEED. BUT NOW WE HAVE ISSUES TO BRING FOR PUBLIC DISCUSSION. COUNCILOR PLASSMAN - BELIEVES PROCESS SHOULD NOT BE RUSHED. WISHES MORE PEOPLE HAD ATTENDED TONIGHT. BELIEVES COUNCILORS SHOULD BE AT THIS MEETING. BIG CHANGES. SHE MAY THINK OF OTHER THINGS NOT RAISED TONIGHT. HOPES THERE’LL BE ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY, SEPARATE FROM PUBLIC FORUM, FOR COUNCILORS TO COME BACK AFTER DIGESTING WHAT WE HEARD TONIGHT. UNDERSTAND YOU ALSO HAVE PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD. MR. SEEWALD - WE DO. BUT IF YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO SUBMIT TO US, WE’LL READ INTO RECORD. FEEL FREE TO CONTACT US AT ANY TIME. 15
  • MAYOR HIGGINS - GOING BACK TO ISSUE OF HOW TO MAKE CHANGES - IN FAVOR OF CHARTER COMMISSION - EVERYTHING GOES ON THE BALLOT. NOT INTERESTED IN ADVISORY QUESTIONS. LEGISLATURE GOING TO ASK FOR IT TO GO ON BALLOT ANYWAY. NEUTRAL AS TO PROCESS. HOME RULE REVISION OR FULL CHARTER REVISION. HOME RULE REVISION MAY BE MOST EFFECTIVE, BUT CHARTER COMMISSION IS BROAD-BASED REPRESENTATION. IN ANY EVENT, ANY CHANGE SHOULD GO ON BALLOT. COUNCILOR LABARGE - TO COUNCILOR PLASSMAN - WARD COUNCILORS AS PRESIDENT. COUNCILOR PLASSMAN - VOTED FOR YOU (COUNCILOR LABARGE) THIS YEAR. TRIED TO GET VICE CHAIR - WAS TOLD IT WAS CHARTER ISSUE. COUNCILOR ADAMS - WOULDN’T EVEN ENTERTAIN RAISE WHEN CITY EMPLOYEES NOT GETTING INCREASE. COUNCILOR PLASSMAN - PURPOSE IS TO GET GOOD PEOPLE - HARD JOB - A LOT OF WORK. MR. WARNER - DO YOU WANT MORE RESPONSIBILITY , E.G, APPOINTMENTS TO COMMITTEES? COUNCILOR PLASSMAN - SHOULD TAKE ON - OWE TO CONSTITUENTS NOT ENOUGH BALANCE - PEOPLE WANT TO SERVE - COUNCILORS CAN’T EVEN SEE APPLICATIONS. LIKE A JOB APPLICATION. COUNCILOR LABARGE - WE HAVE ACCESS TO APPLICATIONS. MR. SEEWALD - DOESN’T WANT TO GET INTO THAT LEVEL OF DETAIL. UNDERSTAND CONCERN OVER BALANCE. BUT THE ISSUE OF ABILITY TO REVIEW APPLICATIONS NOT RELEVANT TO OUR ROLE. COUNCILOR ADAMS - CAN WE GET BACK TO AGENDA? MR. SEEWALD - THANK YOU THE FOUR OF YOU FOR ATTENDING AND PROVIDING INPUT. 4. WELCOME TO NEW MEMBER (MARC WARNER) AND REORGANIZATION OF COMMITTEE 16
  • COUNCILOR ADAMS AND OTHER COMMITTEE MEMBERS ASKED MR. SEEWALD TO CONTINUE TO CHAIR. MS. CURRIE NOTED THAT MR. SEEWALD HAD GOTTEN OUT THE AGENDA, KEPT US ON TRACK DURING MEETING. MR. SEEWALD AGREED TO CHAIR AND TO DO AGENDA, BUT NEEDS MINUTES SOONER IN ORDER TO DO AGENDA. MS. CURRIE UNDERSTANDS, AND WILL PROVIDE THEM SOONER. MAYOR HIGGINS ASKED TO WHOM NOTICE OF MEETING AND AGENDA HAD BEEN SENT, AND ASKED THAT THEY ALSO BE SENT TO HER OFFICE. WEBMASTER IS IN HER OFFICE. MR. SEEWALD CANNOT DO TASKS IN BETWEEN MEETINGS BECAUSE OF OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES. COUNCILOR ADAMS WILL BE VICE-CHAIR. MS. STRIEBEL MOVED FOR APPOINTMENT OF MR. SEEWALD AS CHAIR AND COUNCILOR ADAMS AS VICE-CHAIR. COUNCILOR LABARGE SECONDED BOTH MOTIONS. BOTH MOTIONS PASSED UNANIMOUSLY. 5. REVIEW FUTURE MEETING DATES NOVEMBER 10, DECEMBER 8, JANUARY 12, FEBRUARY 9. MR. SEEWALD WELCOMED MARC WARNER ONCE AGAIN. NEXT MEETING - REVIEW WHAT WE HEARD TONIGHT AND SET AGENDA FOR PUBLIC FORUM. MS. STRIEBEL WORRIES THAT SOME ASPECTS OF CHARTER REVIEW, ROLE OF CHARTER, FUNCTION RELATIVE TO CITY GOVERNMENT WILL BECOME DEBATE ABOUT TERM LIMITS. IT’S A WAY TO GET PUBLICITY, BUT DOESN’T WANT IT TO BE ONLY ISSUE. COUNCILOR ADAMS - HOW IS THAT GOING TO HAPPEN? MR. SEEWALD - SEPARATION OF POWERS SEEMS TO BE BIGGER ISSUE. 17
  • MAYOR HIGGINS - FOR PUBLIC FORUM - FRAME CONVERSATION - ROLE OF CHARTERS, GOALS OF CHARTER. ABOUT POLICY AND STRUCTURE NOT PROCEDURE. ROLE OF EXECUTIVE. ROLE OF LEGISLATURE BRANCH. 6. NEW BUSINESS 7. ADJOURN COUNCILOR MURPHY MOVED TO ADJOURN. COUNCILOR ADAMS SECONDED. MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY. (9 :03 P.M.) 18