On January 17, 2018, league members met to discuss the latest with charter change, including beginning to evaluate the “8&8” option discussed in December by the Newton City Council.
Read notes from the Topic Meeting below.
ATTENDANCE; Amy Mah Sangiolo; Lois A. Levin; Helen B. Rittenberg; Linda Morrison; Susan Flicop; Lynn Weissberg; Kathleen Hobson; Karen Manning; Counselor Rick Lipof; Frieda Dweck; Sharyn Roberts; Pat Acton
Sue Flicop, President of the Newton LWV called the meeting to order at 7:05. She stated that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss future directions of the possible change in size of the City Council and we will not “rehash” the past election.
Councilor Rick Lipof stated that this afternoon (1/17/18) he had docketed (along with 13 other councilors) an item which would name a Committee of 4 to meet and discuss the possibilities of changing the size of the Council the “8×8” proposal was mentioned, but the group would not be limited to only that configuration. The four named were Lisle Baker, David Kalis, Susan Albright, and Josh Kritzman. The Committee should begin its work in June and finish in September with the entire Council voting in September. In response to questions about the additional parts of the Commissions findings he stated that each would be taken separately That would include Term limits, 10 year reviews, and staggered terms. It was urged by members present that the Committee hold open meetings and public input at hearings. Those decisions will be made by the Committee.
It was urged that the Committee reach out to David Olsen, City Clerk for information and a Call-In Center which will assist with state-wide information.
The overall goals seem to be: 1. Smaller Council was voted on at least two times by voters of Newton. And 2. Keeping ward representation is important
Discussion included some of the following issues:
- Ward representation vs City-wide representation seems to be misunderstood by Newton citizens
- Size of ballot with large Council makes voting difficult and knowledge of every candidate confusing
- Census in 2020 will again change ward lines and the voting places of many
- The “Village” and “ward” loyalties along with North/South loyalties make problems
- We must encourage “Newton” loyalty in our citizens.
- We could change the “job description” of ward councilors to match the fact they are elected by a smaller group of voters and possibly elect them every 2 years, City-wide councilors elected for four years.
- It was stated that the Leadership, Mayor, Members of City Council will set the tone when the proposal is brought forward. The discussion should be positive.