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 is on the Municipal Ballot for Plymouth this May. The ballot includes candidates for the Charter Commission. If the vote to create a charter passes, then those with the most votes will become commissioners. If the vote fails, the votes for candidates are moot.
The Plymouth Area League of Women Votes has compiled a list of resources to help educate and inform voters about this very important decision.
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 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
- Town Manager
- Town Council
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).