Showing posts with label mayor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mayor. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Remember to vote today - 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM

At the Franklin High School field house, the following positions are up for election.

There are ten candidates for nine Town Council positions
  • Brett S. Feldman
  • Glenn F. Jones
  • Thomas D. Mercer
  • Andrew M. Bissanti
  • Judith Pond Pfeffer
  • Matthew T. Kelly
  • Stephen T. Williams
  • Peter E. Padula
  • Robert R. Vallee
  • Charles F. Delfino, Jr.
no school today, go and vote
no school today, go and vote!

There are seven candidates for the seven School Committee positions
  • John S. Jewell PhD
  • Cynthia J.Douglas
  • Roberta D. Trahan
  • Paula T. Mullen
  • Susan T. Rohrbach
  • Kevin P. O'Malley
  • Trevor A. Clement
There are two candidates for the one Board of Assessors position for a four year term
  • Christopher K. Feeley
  • Daniel B. Ballinger
There is one candidate for the one Board of Assessors position for a two year term
  • John H. Neas
There is one candidate for the one Board of Health position for a four year term
  • Bruce J. Hunchard
There are two candidates for the one Constable position for a two year term
  • Rancourt LaRosa
  • Daniel S. McCahill
There are three candidates for the two Planning Board positions for a four year term
  • Joseph F. Halligan
  • Anthony D. Padula
  • Navdeep S. Arora

There are two ballot questions, one to change from elected to appointed the Treasurer/Collector and one non-binding question on exploring a mayor form of government.

Ballot question text: (binding)
Shall the city known as the Town of Franklin approve the charter amendment proposed by the Franklin Town Council in Resolution 13-30 summarized below? 
The proposed amendment eliminates the provision for election of the Town Treasurer-Collector and adds a provision for appointment of the Town Treasurer-Collector by the Town Administrator, with input from a selection committee and ratification by the Town Council; the amendment takes effect if and when approved by the voters, except that the incumbent Treasurer-Collector shall serve the remainder of his current term.

Ballot question text: (non-binding)
"Would you be in favor of further amending the Franklin Home Rule Charter to provide for the election of a mayor to govern the city known as the town of Franklin?"

Other information on the Nov 5th election can be found here

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Survey Says: No to Mayor

The survey question was posted:
"Would you be in favor of further amending the Franklin Home Rule Charter to provide for the election of a mayor to govern the city known as the town of Franklin?"

There were 44 responses and the vote was decidedly No = 27, Yes = 17

While was a survey question here, the Franklin voters will see this on the November ballot. What will happen between now and then will help to determine the fate of the question.

Those for the exploration of changing to a mayoral form of government would need to outline the proposal more distinctly. There are different forms of mayoral government, would saying "Yes" mean one of those in particular (no). It should really mean that the Town Council would then start the process of setting up a Charter Commission to determine what the change would be like. Ultimately, nothing would happen right away. It would still be sometime off before a fine tuned proposal would come back to the voters.

Want to know more about the forms of municipal government?

1 - You can visit the National League of Cities site here

(Note, we already operate legally as a city with a council and manager - coincidentally this is the most popular form of government. )

2 - wikipedia has a worthy entry

3 - Strong Mayor Council Institute has some good information

For other survey or quick poll questions that Franklin Matters has conducted over the years, you can visit the collection here

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tensions rise over Cook's Farm and parking

So it was a frustrating Town Council meeting on Wednesday night. All the worst of Franklin came to the front eventually during the night. A simple enough beginning with the taking of several streets by the Town. Approximately 80 streets are not owned by Franklin and many residents are not likely aware of this. The streets are plowed in winter so why doesn't Franklin own the streets? It is complicated and the current administration is working through the detailed process to do so. Once done then Franklin will legally plow the streets and maintain them as required.
That was a good move and the residents will see the benefits over time
The scheduled agenda juggled somewhat to cover the public hearing as noted and then back to some of the legislation before getting to the presentation on the proposed zoning change for Cook's Farm. Simply the presentation sounds wonderful, unfortunately there are details to be worked out and here is where the issues get messy.
  • The developer was a consultant in a meeting with the Economic Development Committee (EDC) as they discussed the Pond St property last Oct. 
  • The developer wanted to come back to the EDC with his proposal for Cook's Farm. 
  • He didn't get notification of being on the agenda and reached out to the Town Administrator at the end of January.
  • The Town Administrator advised the developer to put something together on what the bylaw change would look like so they (Planning) could review it. 
  • The developer did put his proposal together and sent it in.
  • The Town Administrator replied in March with issues raised (incorporating feedback from Planning).
  • The developer continues meeting with different groups within Franklin eventually with the Citizens Committee and then the Master Plan committee (Jun 18) before coming to the Council meeting now
Should a developer draft his own zoning bylaw to benefit his proposal?
No - that is a clear conflict of interest
Is the development a good one?
It seems to be good with good revenue and an acceptable use for the property but needs to have some zoning change to allow it.
The real question then is how it could fit within current zoning, or when and what specific zoning change would be worked on?
The current priority for the Planning Dept is the Master Plan. Which coincidentally is right where this proposal needs to be considered. From the Master Plan additional zoning bylaw changes would be needed to allow for the Master Plan to be implemented and that could be worked in due course.
It was suggested to hold a workshop so that the issues and alternatives can be addressed and appropriate actions set forward. The workshop should be held after the Master Plan is presented on July 17th.
Yes, yes, yes - not all of the councilors were thinking clearly during the meeting Weds night. Some were letting their emotions and biases control their better business sense. In the light of another day, in a different forum, the issues can be worked out. These decisions should not be rushed.

On a different topic, one of the action items seemed to be a simple adjustment to the downtown zoning to add parking as an option where it currently is not allowed now but is allowed in other areas of the town. As the discussion evolved, more and more information was revealed on the real reasons for the change.
  • The former Masonic Hall, now currently an empty lot was purchased by a citizen apparently outbidding the town for the property. Some on the Council think the Town could have done better on the offer.
  • The citizen would like to put in a parking lot to allow the Post Office to park there
  • The Post Office is currently using space on Emmons and in the town property at the Recreation building for their employee parking and to park their trucks.
  • Those visiting the post office can't use the parking lot at the post office until after 9:00 AM and that is both a safety hazard according to the post office and a disservice to the postal customers
The measure did get referred to the Planning Board by a 5-4 vote. All the other votes Weds were 9-0.

Oh and by the way, the Council did approve a non-binding question for Franklin residents to consider a mayor. How would that work? Not specified and hence the question wording is open to interpretation. If some one is not pleased with the current Council Administrator set up and wants a strong mayor, they could vote yes. If someone is not pleased with the current Council Administrator set up and wants a weak mayor, they could also vote yes. There are still a couple of options on what would be done with a positive result. One option would be to commission a charter committee to work out a proposal to bring back to the Council and eventually for the voters to approve or reject.

Should Franklin Have a Mayor?

Among the many items discussed in the often tense Town Council meeting Weds, they did decide to put forward the non-binding question.
According to the resolution approved by the council, the question will read: "Would you be in favor of further amending the Franklin Home Rule Charter to provide for the election of a mayor to govern the city known as the town of Franklin?" 
There will be a note on the ballot specifying the referendum is non-binding. 
"I’m always in favor of a non-binding question to get a feeling of what citizens want," said Vice Chairwoman Tina Powderly. 
The council has debated the question since last month. Chairman Robert Vallee proposed the referendum at the council’s May 10 meeting, saying he would like to see where residents stand on the issue. Over the years, he has said, many have suggested to him that the town and its citizens would benefit from having a mayor in power.

Read more:

To get a sense of whether this proposal is desired or not, I have set up a poll question with a yes or no answer and will leave it open until July 1. You can view the poll on the top right corner of the home page for Franklin Matters.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Live reporting - Legislation

4. Resolution 13-53: Purchase of Land at 37 Beaver Street Authorization
motion to accept, seconded, passed 9-0 (via roll call)

money budgeted to buy and demo house, next year would come back for funds to pave the parking lot

5. Resolution 13-54: Authorization for Non-Binding Local Ballot Question, Re: Adoption of Mayoral Form of Government
motion to accept, seconded, 9-0 

6. Resolution 13-55: Verizon Easement at New High School
motion to accept, seconded, passed 9-0 (via roll call)

we did this for NationalGrid already to bring the power, this is to bring the telephone lines in

7. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-718: Changes to Chapter 185, Section 7. Compliance Required, Parking. – Referral to the Planning Board
motion to refer to Planning Board, seconded, passed by 5-4 (Kelly, Vallee, Pfeffer, Bissanti all voted no)

discussion on the lot (likely the former Masonic Hall) which the Town was outbid on and now a citizen has purchased it and looking to open a parking lot to help solve the Post Office parking problem

8. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-702: Changes to Chapter 185, Section 36. Impervious Surfaces – 2ND Reading
motion to approve, seconded, passed 9-0 via roll call

9. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-703: Changes to Chapter 185, Section 40. Water Resource District – 2ND Reading
motion to approve, seconded, passed 9-0 via roll call

10. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-716: Changes to Chapter 185, Section 3. Definitions – 2ND Reading
motion to approve, seconded, passed 9-0 via roll call

11. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-717: Changes to Chapter 185, Attachment 9, Schedule of Lot, Area, Frontage, Yard and Height Requirements – 2ND Reading
motion to approve, seconded, passed 9-0 via roll call

Thursday, June 6, 2013

In the News: Senior Center parking, mayor question

Money approved for second Franklin senior center parking lot

Town Council on Wednesday authorized free cash to buy a Beaver Street property to serve as another parking lot for the Franklin Senior Center.

Franklin Town Council reviews question about mayor for Nov. 5 ballot vote
Would you be in favor of electing a mayor to govern the town of Franklin?

Note; Considering that the MDN reporter was present at the Town Council meeting and that the anaerobic digestion discussion/decision was left off the web articles, I would expect that the article on this topic would be one of the 'print edition' only topics that MDN frequently does with Franklin news.