Plymouth Charter Commission Notes and Resources

In Massachusetts, a town may change its form of government by creating a new “Charter.” The town must vote to create a 9-person Charter Commission. If the vote passes, the Charter Commission then has 18 months to define the changes to be made to the government, and this must be approved by the state legislature. The charter defines such things as the structure of government, including committees, departments, and boards; the budget procedure; and the authority for management of the town.
The charter question  on the Municipal Ballot for Plymouth in May 2021 passed. The commission has met regularly since then and solicited public comment on a number of occasions. See the Charter Commission page on the Plymouth Town website for its minutes, list of public comments, and other details.
The LWV of the Plymouth Area set up an observer corps which  reported on all  meetings that it attended (see list on the left-hand side of this page). Many thanks to Lyle Lawrence and Martha Vautrain for their committed effort!

The Proposed Charter is available here.
A spreadsheet detailing the major changes the charter would make is available here.

Timeline:
  • The proposed Charter submittal to the Attorney General and the Department of Housing and Community Development on September 16. This version was published in the Old Colony Memorial on September 15.
  • Public Hearing on the new Charter October 3.
  • The commission will respond to comments from the AG and DHCD
  • Plymouth residents will vote on the charter in the 2023 Spring Town Election

The League of Women Voters is preparing events to present the new charter to help inform voters’ selection.

Resources from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The Plymouth Area League of Women Votes has compiled a list of resources to help educate and inform voters about this very important decision.

Local Videos

Plymouth Form of Government: Plymouth Town Meeting Members and candidates for the Charter Commission Bill Abbott and Mike Hanlon discuss the process of assessing the form of government that we have in Plymouth. Recorded March 23, 2021. A PACTV InFocus program, hosted by Julie Thompson.

Town Government ForumTown Government Forum: The League of Women Voters of Sharon-Stoughton hosted a forum with area leaders discussing various forms of town government and different roles that might be defined in a charter:

  • Open vs Representative Town Meeting
  • Mayor
  • Town Manager
  • Town Council
  • Selectboard

The forum is moderated by Adam Dawkins, Former Town Moderator from Stoughton and the following five panelists:

  •  William Alexopoulos, Town Council Member and former Selectman from Randolph;
  • Brian Howard, Town Manager from Randolph;
  • Michael Dutton, Town Manager from Bridgewater and a  member of the Mass. Municipal Assoc.;
  • Andrew Nebenzahl, Town Moderator and Charter Commission member from Sharon
  • Sharon Debra Roberts, Select Board and Town Meeting Rep from Stoughton

This video is available on Sharon Public TV. It will be broadcast on PACTV (check PACTV for dates).

Local Media

  • Check PACTV for events and news about the Charter Commission
  • Old Colony Memorial  (https://www.wickedlocal.com/oldcolonymemorial/)  carries many Letters to the Editor and will continue reporting on the Commission’s activities.