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Control Your Own Agenda

We have a legislature that doesn’t set its own agenda. Think about that. The law-making body in Amherst does not decide what or when to discuss, consider, or vote on measures. Someone else does. The Town Council, as proposed in the Charter, however, will have that authority. This is an important difference. Town Council will set its own agenda. The Town Council will meet regularly, likely biweekly, but at least monthly, similar to the Select Board. It will set its own meeting times. Town Meeting cannot. The Council will place matters on its own agenda for consideration. It can decide …

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Charter involves no radical change

The proposal for a new form of government in Amherst is not radical. It is not a coup, not a revolution, but rather a sensible reform that will make decision-makers more responsive to residents. Over the next few weeks, this blog will provide details of the Charter Commission’s proposal, which residents will vote on March 27. Mandi Jo Hanneke and I will familiarize you with how the 13-member council will function, and the reasons for retaining a non-political town manager. We will explain the reasons for changes in elections and the ways that active citizen participation in government will continue. …

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 …