Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Live reporting - Charter revision - elected vs. appointed

Whalen - the most interesting items I think is the proposal for some positions to be appointed rather than elective. Treasurer/Collector, Constables, Board of Assessors, Planning Board, Board of Health. I think there are qualified folks who can serve in these positions who are not willing to run a campaign. we should not disallow their participation just because they don't want to run for election.

Zollo -

Cheli - recognizing the Citizens Committee members: Michael Walker Jones, Larry Benedetto, Maureen Roy,  (other names to be added later)

There was a majority report and a minority report, the difference was on the Town Clerk position (which should remain an elected position). Both Jim Dacey and Debbie Pellegri contributed mightily to the work of the Citizens Committee.

Jim has recommended that his own position become appointed. The technical requirements have increased such that to manage a million dollar budget it should be not an elected position.

You can leave the positions to the luxury of an elected position.

Pfeffer - you had 23 meetings, but during those meetings you did not vote on the Board of Health, Assessors, etc.

Cheli - The whole process of getting 100 signatures, of standing holding a sign, in the cold and rain. It is not saying the people don't get a voice. They do elect the Council. They do elect the School Committee. You get a chance to review all the appointments. Yes, we did talk about it but none of us felt strongly on making a recommendations.

Pfeffer - I think the Board of Health, Assessors, Constable, and the Town Clerk should remain as elected positions.

McGann - I think we should keep the Treasurer/Collector and Town Council as elected. If you appoint someone, you take away the voice of the people.

Cheli - I understand what you are saying. The voice of the people comes through your body. It is a 90 million dollar business, It is not Franklin in 1975.

Vallee - The key is ratification by the Council. We are elected by the people and we have the control.

Powderly - I am reluctant to take away the power from the people. I think the growth of the Town and the stakes have been raised such that these should be appointed. This is consistent with municipalities of cities of our size.

Zollo - There is a difference between policy makers and administrators. Policy and long term strategic view should be left to the people. Ironically because we have such quality Treasurer and Town Clerk that it is what we need to keep by moving them to appointed.

Kelly - I agree with the Citizens Committee that both the Treasurer and Town Clerk be appointed, I think those folks should also live here, if they do not already. We did that on the School Committee

Norman - I am going to speak in favor of the elected positions of the Assessors. I think it should be kept separate. I don't understand why they should be appointed.

Whalen - this is not a comment on anyone that holds the positions currently. I think of it as a long term document, as the Town continues to grow, we need to have the absolute best people doing those positions. Not all of them who are qualified would want to go through an election. I would rather a larger pool of people to choose from.

Zollo - I think it is simple that we don't have enough candidates currently to fulfill the roles. They have to be convinced to get enough today.

McGann - Kelly hit the issue on the head, why do we have such quality currently in the position? It is because they are local have been living here and are interested in being here. Mr Vallee what are the qualifications of a Councilor?

Vallee - There are none

Whalen - While a Councilor doesn't have to have qualifications, the Treasurer etc.

Dacey - One of the requirements of the City of Worcester is to move to the city. They have a Treasure position open for 2 years and have finally removed the requirement. I would not recommend making that a requirement.

Jones - This is very interesting. My point on this topic.

Mason  I don't think is has anything to do with the voters, it has to do with the candidates. We have a Board of Assessor candidate this year, did not pull papers, ran unopposed, and fortunately he is qualified.

Nutting - in normal cities, the voters elect a council, school committee and mayor. They don't elect the other positions. We are an exception that we are the only city with an elected Town Clerk. I would like to get the best possible people for the positions.

Mason - I don't think we are elitist.

Zollo - I think I was elected to to the best for the voters. I don't think that just anyone can walk into the Town Clerk position and run an election like has been done on Jan 19th, or the past Town elections. This is not best, this is someone who is technically competent and qualified to run the position. All the other cities in the Commonwealth have already made this decision.

McGann - I wonder if this has been announced would there be more folks here to help us?
Mason - it was announced. It was in the Milford Daily News and the Boston Globe.

Pfeffer - comment about clerk being local and handling last minute requests.

Ray Fioravanti - I came here pretty sure that the elected officials were the way to go. I have heard all the arguments and I will stay with the elected positions. What makes the Town Council more qualified to make that decision? If you appoint someone, you do have a broader range of candidates. I agree. That could be resolved in another way. What better way to judge a persons reputation than by putting it out to vote? I would like to get to pick from a large pool. The question is who gets to pick, the Council or the voters. I am afraid there is a pattern of taking away from the voters something they already have.

Refers to a Whalen quote from May 2008, about the genetic disposition of voters against an override

Cheli - This council is a legislative body, the council is not elitist, it is a living document. we took representation away from the people. I think it is what is needed to be done. You got to a longer term view. If you have an issue with personalities.


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