2010-2011 Program

In addition to the program positions already approved, the LWVN voted at the May 2010 Annual Meeting to adopt the following program:

1. Charter, p. 26, and Planning in the Community, p. 39: change the wording from “support the adoption of a Comprehensive Plan” to “support the implementation and regular updating of the Newton Comprehensive Plan.”

2. Fiscal Policy, p. 26: delete the Revenue Sharing position, as it is defunct.

3. Charter Study recommendations:

Electoral Process Subcommittee:

Support four-year staggered terms for the Board of Aldermen and School Committee.  (Amended position, please see below.)

Support abolishing School Committee term limits.

Support the reduction of the size of the Board of Aldermen with a mix of at-large and district representation or with at-large representatives with a residency requirement.  (Amended position, please see below.)

Administrative Subcommittee:

Support an administrative code that clearly delineates the function and responsibility of city departments and outlines the qualifications for department heads.

Executive Subcommittee:

Support the position of a CAO, appointed by and reporting directly to the Mayor.  This position shall be appointed on the basis of education, training and experience in the accepted competencies and practices of local government management.  A contract is desirable to insure some job security and independence.

Support a strong mayoral form of government.

Support the requirement that the Executive Branch submit timely, periodic long-range financial plans, and long-range strategic capital plans.

Support the development and implementation of a personnel evaluation plan under the Executive Branch (by ordinance, not the charter).

Finance Subcommittee:

Support strengthening the Board of Aldermen audit process to achieve greater internal control.

Support ordinance to require adoption of best financial practices.

Support elimination of 2% charter maintenance provision for schools.

Support the adoption of a comprehensive capital planning process including clear links to long-term goals.

Neighborhood Area Councils:

Support the removal of the Charter provision for Neighborhood Area Councils.

Two current program positions would be changed if new proposed government positions were adopted:

“Support of four-year staggered terms for School Committee.”  The words: “and Board of Aldermen” would be added to the sentence.  Please see 2008 Handbook, page 26.

“Support the reduction of the size of the Board of Aldermen to not less than 16 members while maintaining a balance between ward aldermen and aldermen-at-large.”  The new text would be “Support the reduction of the size of the Board of Aldermen with a mix of at-large and district representation or with at-large representatives with residency requirement.”  Please see 2008 Handbook, page 26.

4. A Land Use Study.

The LWVN also voted to adopt the following local action priorities:

1.   Public Education:

      a.   Follow up on the findings published by the Citizens Advisory Group pertaining to its analysis of the Newton Public Schools’ (NPS) financial and operating structures.

      b.   Study and facilitate civic discussions around the various recommendations/options for possible NPS system-wide change; and to identify and advocate for those changes that assure feasible implementation, cost-effectiveness, and significant benefit and improvement – in both scope and scale  – to the school system.

      c.   Actively participate in studying of the Role of the Federal Government in Public Education as part of a national program, pending adoption by the LWVUS.

2.   Environmental Quality:

      a.   Continue efforts to monitor and support single stream recycling and pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) in Newton.

      b.   Support implementation of the Comprehensive Plan’s Transportation and Mobility section.

      c.   Safe Sidewalks: Continue to work towards improving pedestrian mobility in Newton, including an ordinance to require residents to clear snow from sidewalks, and to support enforcement of existing snow ordinances.

      d.   Explore supporting statewide plastic bag tax or ban.

      e.   Support efforts to educate LWVN members and Newton residents about water quality issues in Newton.

      f.    Continue to be engaged in City environmental issues, including monitoring the City on energy conservation.

3.   Housing:

      a.   Support implementation of Accessory Apartment (AA) amendments and monitor the progress of a study of building lot size and dimensional requirements to encourage increased expansion of rental housing through creation of legal AA’s.

      b.   Support of the work of UCHAN, which has absorbed Housing Action Plan Initiative (HAPI) and assumed its action function, as well as other housing organizations in Newton to promote affordable housing throughout the City.  This includes support of 40B provisions presently in place and opposition to the proposed ballot initiative that would invalidate it. 

      c.   Replace the current LWVN Housing Committee with a LWVN Housing and Development Committee.

4.   Elections:

      a.   Continue the work of the Elections Committee.

      b.   Work with the Municipal Finance Committee to study best practices related to campaign finance.

5.   Municipal Finance:  Seek to influence Newton’s early commitment to full funding of its unfunded Other Post Employment Benefit  (“OPEB”) liability.

 

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