Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Live reporting - discussion resumes

Nutting - there are two ways to amend the charter, with 9 folks elected to make the recommendations. The other way is the way we are about, is to make the homerule changes, petition the legislature, and then it comes back to the people for their vote.

Vallee - I need to do some thinking about this.

Pfeffer - you shouldn't do this next meeting as two councilors will be missing

Dacey - I think we should address the qualifications. IT would have been a growth from 17 to 21 due to the population growth. They made the change to reduce it to nine. I came in off the street and started doing the finances. Thank God I had two good assistants who helped me tremendously. That may not be the situation the next time around. As far as the schooling goes, it took me six years to get them through training and classes that I go to each year. My review is every four years. I think that is too long. I think it should be every year. A long list of appointed Treasurers. Only a few of our neighboring communities have elected officials.

Whalen - I'd like to respond. Perhaps those words I chose I would change today, the sentiment is there. The Treasurer is a specific qualification position. The Council brings varied backgrounds to the role. That someone of a technical background should chose the council I don't think would be good. The number of candidates who would be qualified would be larger if we did not submit them to the requirement of an election.

Cheli - the Citizens committee reviewed the documents from Bauer and Lanza (from 1995) and we reviewed the Nutting and Cerel documents, separated by some 15 years, they are essentially the same. They are issues of accountability between the Council and the Administration.

Nutting - there are a number of minor technical changes we should make
  • Change from the first Weds to second Weds for the first meeting after election of new council
  • with compelling reason, the council should be able to change chair by super majority vote
  • change from journal to minutes
  • council needs to meet more than once a month but does it need to be every month?
  • changes the role of administrator to executive, only in regards to signing of documents, some specifically require that authority and it should be clear in the document for what is in fact in practice
  • remove restriction of the Administrator to sit on boards and committees, key to current requirements of the position (with Council approval)
  • change of language on personnel records to personnel system
  • change purchasing agent to??
  • ratifying positions that we no longer have like wiring inspector, etc. The Council still ratifies the key positions. We don't have some boards and committees, these are all language clean ups
  • change to reflect that the Administrator can act on their behalf, to make it more clear than it currently is stated. The Council appointment process should be extended from 120 to 180 days, still has extension.
  • Finance Committee reduce from 11 to 9 members, lengthen term from one year to two years, all other appointed terms are currently three years.
  • changes the school committee budget to school department budget, technical change only
  • clarifies that the Council should act on the Administrators budget
  • eliminating Chap 7.7.1 of the charter as this exists in the personnel bylaws and conflicts with the bargaining agreements in place
  • Chap 8 would still need to be addressed depending upon what changes are agreed upon.
McGann - we would be doing this review and discussion again when we vote on this
Mason - undoubtedly

McGann - is the Treasurer of the Commonwealth elected or appointed?
Dacey -  elected (side note, the state position is one of title only, he/she has staff to perform all the necessary functions, the local Treasurer is a hands on role, there is no comparison with the State level)

Zollo - I think we can choose to have the elected approve the appointments for the benefit of the people

Norman - I think you need to define in that where you need a 2/3 vote on bond and other major issues
I would like to see a change where incumbents are required to declare at some point certain and then others would have sometime to make a decision. I think there is a reluctance to run against incumbents. I think there should be a prohibition with candidates puling papers for two different positions. I think that would help increase the number of candidates.

5-2-5  25% of qualified should be reduce to 20%, given the history of the voting for this town. It is a barrier.

5-3-6 should consider lowering this to 20%

5-4-1 5% of signatures be collected within 14 days, maybe increase to 21 days.

5-4-4 another 25 to 20% recommendation

Powederly - Given the amount of discussion, how do we get to a point with some language that we are voting on? I would ask the council to consider separating the change of Treasurer and Town Council from the Planning Board, etc.

Nutting- the Council needs to take a vote on a home rule petition, so that language needs to be precise. If you decide on what you want to do, then we can prepare the language accordingly to help the process. Mr Norman made some recommendations that should be considered. You would need to decide amongst yourselves to reach a consensus.

Mason - is the council in general agreement at that that is the way to proceed?
heads nodding yes in agreement

Pfeffer - we are a city that calls itself a Town

Vallee -motion to adjourn

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