League starts planning for charter review

At a member meeting on May 9, the League of Women Voters began to plan for how it might assist Amherst voters in deciding whether or not to adopt the charter to be proposed by the current Amherst Charter Commission.

At the May 9 meeting, after reviewing the history of its positions, members decided that the best course of action would be to present the concepts, principles and practices that the League believes make for effective local government, and to use these principles to compare the charter proposal with the existing structure defined by the 2001 Amherst Town Government Act. A similar approach was taken in 2003.

The Charter Commission is scheduled to publish its draft charter on July 31. Several more public “listening sessions” are scheduled for May and June as the Commission works to complete its proposal. The current draft calls for a Council-Manager form of government, but many details and even some major questions (such as whether to add an elected Mayor) remain undecided. A public hearing is scheduled for August 31, and the final report must be published by September 29, six months before the 2018 municipal elections. Schedules and drafts are available at the Commission’s web site.

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