Miles Fidelman

Candidate for Charter Commission

photo of Miles Fidelman

My wife and I have lived in Newton for 16 years; four of our kids have been through Newton Schools. I’m an MIT-trained engineer, entrepreneur, and policy wonk.

I believe we have an opportunity to improve city government, and I have skills & experience to bring to bear.

Questions and Answers

Question 1

What characteristics do you think are important in a charter commission member?

I believe that a charter commission member should:

  1. Believe that the effort is important.
  2. Have knowledge, skills, and experience in municipal government operations – both Newton’s, and in other communities.
  3. Be open minded, and not committed to current ways of doing things.
  4. Be able to commit the time and attention required to do a thorough job.
  5. Enjoy the tedious policy wonkery that goes with reviewing a city charter.

Question 2

What community involvement and/or experience would you bring to the charter commission?

I’ve served on City and School advisory boards, and been engaged in local development issues. I host the Newtonville & NewtonParents email lists, and lists for several PTOs and community organizations.


I founded & ran the non-profit Center for Civic Networking – focusing on citizen engagement in government. I’ve consulted to local governments around the country on infrastructure planning, and written books

Question 3

What are the key areas of the charter you would like to see reviewed?

  1. The balance between ward and at-large representation on the Board of Aldermen.
  2. The split of responsibilities between the Aldermen, Mayor, and staff.
  3. Whether Newton might be better served by a City Manager form of government.
  4. Transparency and processes for citizen engagement in policy & planning – particularly regarding land use decisions.


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