2009-2010 LWVN Charter Study

Excerpt from the Introduction to the final report of Charter Study:

In May of 2009, the League launched a study of Newton’s charter.  The last formal charter study was in 1966, so another review was overdue.  While many individuals in Newton have strong opinions about the structure of its government, a guiding principle of the study was to avoid starting with conclusions.

The study undertook to review the branches of government, the electoral process, and the key resources of the city (financial, human, and land resources), whether presently governed by the charter or not, and to compare our city to other models.  The next step was to consider whether our city is served by our current model, or whether a change is recommended.  We looked beyond just changes to the charter and examined various ways to improve the operation of our city government.

We have concluded that the League could benefit by adding support positions in the Government section of our Local Program.  These support positions would prepare the League for meaningful action in several ways, such as

  • Lobbying a charter commission, to the extent that one is elected (which could happen without League support)
  • Lobbying for certain changes to the charter via home rule petition
  • Supporting or opposing an ordinance related to a League position
  • Supporting or introducing a change in the administrative code

Few, if any, of the changes recommended by the study were without dissenting opinions.

Charter Study Resources

General Resources

State Resources

From Marilyn Contreas, senior program and policy analyst at the Department of Housing and Community Development

League/LWVN Specific

Legislative Subcommittee

Education Subcommittee

Electoral Process Subcommittee

  • Draft of fact findings. Comparison of Newton’s electoral process to Model City Charter and selected comparable communities, Dec. 2009

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