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Commission Considered Improving Town Meeting

  “The Charter Commission didn’t even consider improvements to Town Meeting”. This is a claim being made by a number of opponents of the charter proposal, including some members of the Commission itself. But, for me, the claim can’t be further from the truth. The Charter Commission did look at improving the current Representative Town Meeting structure. In fact, we held several meetings where we discussed RTM and potential improvements. There was at least one meeting where a smaller RTM structure was discussed. For a specific example of what the Commission did, as a whole, to consider improvements, see the …

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What Amherst Wants – Themes the Commission Heard

Amherst residents know what they want in their government. And, they know what they don’t. The Charter Commission’s job was to find the common themes in all the comments, emails, and questionnaire answers we received. Then, the Commission needed to take those themes, turn them into principles for government and propose a system that best meets them. So, what are the themes that we heard, as voiced by Amherst’s residents? Well, residents want to avoid “big money” in politics, which we came to learn means supporting a government where campaigns don’t cost a lot of money and the winner isn’t …

Charter 101

  If you have trouble understanding the ins and outs of the proposal for a new form of government in Amherst, don’t worry. Here’s a guide to the basics of the proposal and how it was formulated, designed for residents who know little or nothing about it. Q. How did the campaign for a new form of government get started? A. Two years ago, a group of residents started circulating petitions to put on the ballot the creation of a Charter Commission. Q. Charter? Like in charter schools? A. No, it has nothing to do with charter schools. A town’s …

Did we listen?

225 Emails. 188 Online Comment Form Submissions.  56 Meetings. 14 Listening Sessions. 10 Handwritten Comments. 2 Public Hearings. 2 First Day Celebrations. 1 Block Party. And that’s just what’s documented.  There are the uncountable conversations each of the 9 of us has had when stopped in town, emails sent to only a few commissioners, questions asked and answered at the local coffee shop, and many other, too numerous to tally. When the Charter Commission first met, we agreed we wanted feedback. We wanted to hear from you, the people who would be governed under any proposal we might have—what works, what …