The Newton-Needham Regional Chamber’s Board of Directors voted unanimously, with one abstention, in support of Newton’s proposed new city charter at its Sept. 20 meeting.
The board believes the revised charter would be vastly superior to the city’s current city council configuration and make City Hall more efficient, more diverse, more accountable and more responsive to new ideas.
Newton’s current configuration of 24 city councilors is too large, often dysfunctional, and has at times been beset by cronyism that stood in the way of initiatives that would have benefited the city’s economic and cultural vitality. The proposed new 12-member council would establish a smaller, more efficient body of representatives elected city-wide who would place the entire city’s needs above everything else.
The proposed revised charter before voters is the result of a thoughtful multi-year process, extensive deliberations, a review of best practices and public hearings by a commission elected by voters in 2016. It does what a municipal charter is supposed to do -- which is to ensure responsible and responsive governance for future generations -- not benefit current office holders, including those who have ignored past citizen votes to reduce its size.
The chamber opposes a proposed Home Rule petition that has recently been proposed as an alternative because, while it reduces the council’s size, it gives voters less say in who their elected leaders would be and ignores term limits and other thoughtful reforms recommended by the Charter Commission.
The chamber urges Newton voters to vote yes on the adoption of the revised city charter on Nov. 7.