Cambridge City
MA

Policy Order
POR 2020 #172
Order Adopted
Jul 27, 2020 5:30 PM

The Mayor be and hereby is requested to call a Special Meeting of the City Council and invite a representative from the Collins Center to present on the process and benefits of Charter Review and Reform

Information

Department:City Clerk's OfficeSponsors:Councillor Patricia Nolan
Category:Policy Order

Attachments

  1. Printout

Body

WHEREAS:

A charter is the most important legal document in a city, defining the power structure and organization of municipal government; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

Chapter 43B, Section 2, in General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts states: “Every city and town shall have the power to adopt or revise its charter or to amend its existing charter in accordance with procedures prescribed by [Chapter 43B]”; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

The City of Cambridge, which adopted the Plan E Charter in 1940, has not once held a formal review process to consider revisions, making it the only city or town in Massachusetts to go 80 years without reviewing its most important legal document; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

Many cities and towns in Massachusetts have a charter review process built into their charter, requiring a review every set number of years (usually 5-10 years) to ensure the charter continues to serve the needs of ever-changing municipalities; and

 

 

WHEREAS

Cambridge has changed dramatically since 1940, and it is good governance for the City Council to ensure that our governing documents are positioned to serve our modern, progressive city through a review of the city charter; and

 

 

WHEREAS

There are outstanding questions of whether the charter as currently construed and interpreted is in line with democratic principles and an appropriate balance of power; and

 

 

WHEREAS

The Collins Center for Public Management, created under Governor Patrick’s administration in 2008, has aided cities and towns across the state with the charter review process and employ experts on Massachusetts city charters as well as a range of other municipal government areas; now therefore be it

 

 

RESOLVED:

That the Mayor be and hereby is requested to call a Special Meeting of the City Council and invite a representative from the Collins Center to present on the process and benefits of Charter Review and Reform; and further be it

 

 

ORDERED:

That the Special Meeting be held by October of 2020 to ensure a timely discussion of the issue of charter review and reform. 

 

Meeting History

Jul 27, 2020 5:30 PM Video City Council Special Meeting
draft Draft
RESULT:ORDER ADOPTED [UNANIMOUS]
YEAS:Dennis J. Carlone, Patricia Nolan, Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, Alanna Mallon, Marc C. McGovern, Sumbul Siddiqui, E. Denise Simmons, Timothy J. Toomey, Quinton Zondervan