This would be a great way for the public to engage in a process that could impact Somerville in a big way. There are five resident seats on this committee, so I encourage you to apply and invite others who might be interested. The deadline is Friday, May 16th 30th! My application appears below, followed by the press release announcing the mayor’s call for public participation. Read the Mayor’s May 12th op-ed about this committee in the Somerville News.
Dear Mayor Joe Curtatone,
I hope you will consider appointing me to a resident seat on the Charter Advisory Committee. I am interested in serving on this committee because I care about our city and because I believe there are many aspects of the charter which are due for review.
Some examples of the issues I would be interested in reviewing include:
1. The structure of municipal boards, commissions, and authorities. Perhaps some of them could be combined, reduced, expanded, or otherwise modified in more sensible ways. For instance, the Listing Board (Article V of the Appendix) is charged with cataloging all residents of the city of voting age by visiting every building in the city within the first 20 week days of January of each year. Clearly this is neither a practical nor a cost-effective use of city resources. This board is obsolete and should be abolished.
2. City elections. I would like to review alternatives to the current voting system to see what we can do to increase voter turn-out and reduce the expenses from special elections. I believe Instant Runoff Voting would help improve our voting system in many ways.
3. Amending the Method of choosing interim successors for the Board of Alderman. For instance, when Denise Provost left the BOA to take a job as State Rep, her vacancy could have been filled in the interim by the candidate for her seat with the next highest votes. This would have saved the city thousands of dollars that were spent on the ensuing special election.
I have lived with my wife in Somerville for almost two years now. During that time, I have appreciated the opportunity to actively serve the city as a Human Rights Commissioner for over a year. If selected for the Charter Advisory Committee, I would not only work diligently to understand and improve the charter, but I would seek to listen to the concerns of other residents and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to weigh in on the issues we consider.
Thank you for extending the application deadline and for promoting civic engagement in Somerville.
Resident and Human Rights Commissioner
May 09, 2008
MAYOR CURTATONE SEEKS RESIDENTS TO SERVE ON CHARTER ADVISORY COMMITTEE
City Extends Cutoff Date for Letters of Interest to May 16th; Curtatone Emphasizes Need for Public Participation
SOMERVILLE – Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone is seeking Somerville residents to serve on the city’s Charter Advisory Committee (CAC). The CAC will examine the City of Somerville’s municipal charter and recommend changes to modernize the city’s structure. The ten person committee will include five residents, three appointed by Mayor Curtatone and two appointed by the Board of Aldermen. Additionally, Howard E. Horton, Esq. will chair the CAC and will be joined by the president of the Board of Aldermen or his appointee, the president of the School Committee or his appointee, a representative from academia and a representative from the business community.
“Somerville is home to a wealth of diverse, creative and dynamic residents and tapping into the ideas and suggestions of those residents is key to the success of the Charter Advisory Committee,” said Mayor Curtatone. “Residents serving on the CAC will play an integral role in altering the city’s charter to better reflect the realities of our city today. I urge anyone interested to submit a letter of interest.”
The city’s charter has not been examined since 1996 and a new charter will have to be approved by the Board of Aldermen, the legislature and will ultimately be voted on by the residents. The CAC will be staffed by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.
Somerville residents interested in serving on the committee should submit a letter of interest by Friday May 16th to: City of Somerville Charter Advisory Committee C/O Mayor’s Office, 93 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143 or email to email@example.com