The Town Charter

The Town Charter defines the government structure under which Plymouth operates, and that may create local offices; distribute powers, duties, and responsibilities among local offices; and that may establish and define certain procedures to be followed by Plymouth.
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 proposed charter must be voted on during a Town Election and must receive at least 50% of the votes.
A ballot question on the Municipal Ballot for Plymouth in May 2021 proposed the establishment of a Charter Commission. The question passed, and nine commissioners were elected on the same ballot.  The commission met regularly through October of 2022 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!

Through March and April, 2023 the League, PACTV, and PlymouthFirst all provided opportunities for Plymouth voters to learn about the proposed charter. A copy of the proposed charter was mailed to the homes of all registered voters.

The question failed at the Spring election on May 20. The vote was 4,989 (66.51%) Opposed; 2,369 (31.61%) In favor.

In August 2023 the Town Moderator called for the establishment of a Charter Review Committee. This committee will review the existing charter and propose changes. Changes may not alter the form of government.


Watch the video of the League’s presentation on April 27 about proposed charter changes.

Summary of Changes. 

Read the LWV-prepared spreadsheet that summarizes, item by item, proposed changes from the current charter to the new charter.