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 is now meeting regularly and will solicit citizen input. See the Charter Commission page on the Plymouth Town website. The LWV of the Plymouth Area is closely following the progress of the commission. Our observer corp reports on the meetings that it attends (see list on the left-hand side of this page).
Update January 11

The Plymouth Selectboard voted to include the following non-binding questions to the Mary 21, 2022 ballot:

  1. Should the Charter Commission offer the voters of Plymouth a choice of government which includes a Representative Town Meeting/Town Manager form of government?
  2. Should the Charter Commission offer the voters of Plymouth a choice of government which includes a Town Council/Town Manager form of government?
  3. Should the Charter Commission offer the voters of Plymouth a choice of government which includes a Mayor/City Council form of government?

These questions are non-binding questions. They are intended to provide the elected Charter Commission with a sense of voters’ positions concerning the current and other forms of Town Government.  You may vote on any or all of the questions.

Update March 7

The Charter commission voted 6-3 to preserve and improve Town Meeting form of government. A motion to present a Town Council form of government did not pass 3 – 6. A motion to present two forms of government to the citizens also did not pass 3 – 6.  These motions occurred during and after extensive, thoughtful, and respectful discussion and debate about the issues. For more information, see the Old Colony Memorial, March 12, 2022.

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 Media

  • Check PACTV for events and news about the Charter Commission
  • Old Colony Memorial  (  carries many Letters to the Editor and will continue reporting on the Commission’s activities.

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).