Story, Olver, Eddy support ‘yes’ vote

This guest post was written by Ellen Story, Amherst’s former state representative, John Olver, Amherst’s former congressional representative, and Nancy Eddy, a former Select Board chair and president of the Massachusetts Municipal Association. As former elected representatives who served the people of Amherst for a combined total of more than 80 years, we have followed closely the debate over the proposed changes to town government. This town-wide conversation has touched on a number of fundamentally important issues. How do we define “representation”? How should our local democracy function? How can we better ensure that all voices are heard? Questions like …

1

Charter Questions Answered Part I

What exactly is a “charter”? In Massachusetts, a charter is what we call the document that defines the structure of local government for a particular community and distributes powers, duties, and procedures to be followed. It is like a constitution for a town, providing a general, overarching framework for how its government should be organized. Amherst is already well-managed – why change things? On a day-to-day basis, we do pretty well – and the new Charter keeps our professional manager, to maintain that competent day-to-day management. But the Charter Commission’s discussions with residents revealed that many are concerned about Amherst’s …