Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Live reporting - charter changes

1. Discussion of Proposed Charter Amendments
Nutting - 1978 changed to home rule charter
1 way via charter commission via elected members
2 way via home rule, council proposes changes, legislature changes, then town voters have final approval

Council has talked of this process for last several years
Charter committee made report in June
Council subcommittee made study of report and made recommendation including some technical recommendations

discussion on the process, Council has option to set up the questions as one whole package or several questions

Vallee thinks this should be done via the elected Charter Commission as done previously in 1978, he also feels that the positions should remain elected not appointed.

Kelly - agrees with the recommendation to have the Treasurer certified, Dacey made a valid argument last week for this. Kelly goes on to agree that the person when appointed should become a resident. He doesn't think that we would have the problem that Worcester has (in not being able to get a qualified person who also is willing to move to Worcester)

Powderly -

Zollo - I want to reiterate what I said last week, Planning Board, Board of Assessors, Constables, should remain elected positions. They are volunteer positions. I am concerned about the next generation of Town Clerk and Treasurer/Collector should be appointed to ensure that we get the best qualified folks for these roles. The positions are key to the ongoing operations of the town.

Pfeffer - Treasurer/Collector should be appointed, the other positions should be elected. Town Clerk needs to be a Franklin resident

Whalen - I support the Treasure/Collector and Town Clerk being appointed. I don't feel strongly about the other three positions. As the Town increases in size, the necessity of these positions (Treasurer/Clerk) would be all the more required to be the most qualified.

Mason - I have been thinking about this a lot, I agree with the irony that Shannon mentioned. The person coming after the Town Clerk and Treasurer will have mighty big shoes to fill. Certainly you would hope that the next appointed or elected official would have the same diligence. Change needs to be change for the better, I would support those positions as appointed.

Vallee - We have always had excellent Town Clerks. I do not know of a compelling argument to have these change to appointed.

Debbie Pellegri - In 1978, people were afraid of giving up their voice, their say. They were willing to do so because they were promised that nothing would be changed without the people voting.

An elected Town Clerk is important, 278 chapters and sections in the MA General Law. Not just the dog tags, impounded records. Executive minutes. As for elections, I work for the Secretary of the State. There are so many parts to my position that warrant being elected. You go to school, you have your peers to help you. Knowing that you were elected makes me feel good.

I would strongly recommend getting an elected Charter Commission. Nothing is so dire that it needs to be done now.

Vallee - objections to a number of the other minor technical items
Nutting -  answers the objections point by point in acknowledgment of the operations that have really been in practice for some time.
Vallee - still objects

Nutting - the only issue to be further clarified or voted on is the Clerks position, the others are relatively straightforward

Sherlock - depending  upon what the document is as drafted, the Council can choose to vote on the whole or in part, what is accepted by the Council goes to the State (House, Senate, Governor) and then it comes back to the voters. So no matter what is decided, the voters do still get their final say either at the election in November this year or in the next general election

Franklin, MA

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