A question concerning the establishment of an Amherst Charter Commission will appear on the ballot for the March 29, 2016, Amherst municipal elections. On the same ballot, residents will vote for up to nine candidates to serve on the Commission. If the “yes” vote carries on the ballot question, then the nine candidates with the most votes will become the Commission. The Commission will have 18 months to review and propose changes to Amherst's existing town charter. Before a revised charter can be adopted, it would have to be approved by Amherst voters.
The League of Women Voters of Amherst is planning a forum on the Charter Commission in early March. The focus of this forum will be the Charter Commission process. In the second half of the forum, candidates for the Commission will have an opportunity to introduce themselves. Stay tuned for details!
Meanwhile, here are some on-line resources to get started with:
- The Charter Commission process is defined in Chapter 43B, Home Rule Procedures of the Massachusetts General Laws, summarized here
- Charting a Route for Charter Change
- Changing Massachusetts Local Government Structure
- Several Options Exist for Changing Local Government Structure, an article by Marilyn Contreas of the Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management
- The LWV of Newton web site has additional resource links.
- The League of Women Voters of Amherst has a 2003 position on Concepts, Principles and Practices for Local Government.