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Author Topic: LT - Decision Nears for Charter Commission Recommendation  (Read 861 times)
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GDouglas
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« on: July 17, 2010, 04:49:58 PM »

From the Londonderry Times www.nutpub.net

Decision Nears for Charter Commission Recommendation
April Guilmet
Londonderry Times
7/15/2010

As members of the Londonderry Charter Commission prepare for their final public hearing later this month, they agreed Monday night that many questions for the town's legal counsel remain to be answered before then.

Formed during the March Town Meeting, the commission is in the process of gathering information to make recommendations as to whether to ask voters to consider replacing Town Meeting with official ballot (Senate Bill 2 or SB2) voting.

The commission will hold its final public hearing on the matter July 26, and a draft of its final recommendation will be completed one month later.

Over the past several months, just a handful of residents have attended the meetings; Monday was no exception, with three residents in the audience.

"I've been tossing around the SB2 thing for quite a while on both sides, but I think I will go with the side that gives the most people the chance to vote - that would be going SB2 on a Tuesday ballot vote," resident Martin Srugis said. "At our last Town Meeting, we had around 300 or so people, but during Tuesday elections we get several thousand coming out to vote: I figure the more the merrier."

In an e-mail sent to the commission, Town Councilor Sean O'Keefe, who was unable to attend Monday night's meeting due to family matters, likewise voiced his support to replace the March Town Meeting with an SB2 form of government, with all voting done at the Tuesday polls.

"I also support the move to having no quorum at the Tuesday session," O'Keefe said.

"The heart of the question is what role can this commission perform?" chairman Brian Farmer said Monday night. "The question of official ballot voting is very narrowly defined. After consulting with our town attorney, we will be taking a final vote on the 26th."

"We still need to follow our charter here, and the only difference would be we would have ballot voting, and a deliberative session would replace Town Meeting," commissioner Steve Young said.

Commissioner Al Baldasaro asked whether the town attorney would have the authority to make changes to the town charter, should Londonderry ultimately opt for official ballot voting. "Or would we need to vote in a new charter?" he asked.

"If a group comes up with a charter proposal and you submit it to the voters, that's the proposal," Deputy New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan, a guest at Monday night's meeting, responded. "Nothing should be changed."

Resident Pauline Caron, a regular at the commission meetings, asked if union contracts on a warrant could be altered in the process of a deliberative session.

Young, a long-time school board member, said that during the school deliberative sessions, employee union contracts cannot be changed, as they are ratified agreements protected by law. "It's a ratified agreement between the town and the union, so the vote would simply be a yes or a no," Young emphasized.

Later, the commissioners appeared divided on whether to change the way Londonderry governs thus far.

"Who's against voting?" Young asked. "I'm all for voting. I'm for ballot voting. Is anybody else?"

"I say we can the deliberative session and just have voting on Tuesday," Commissioner Kathy Wagner, who is Young's domestic partner, said.

"We don't have that option," Farmer replied. "Official ballot voting includes a deliberative session. This commission won't take a vote that says SB2, it will be voting on whether or not to make a change to official ballot voting."

Young suggested holding a town deliberative session at the same time as the school deliberative session, a move he said might simplify the process for residents.

"It would be a very long agenda," Farmer noted. "But in theory, if (the voters) could come just once, that, I think, would be great."

The July 26 is expected to be a lengthy session, Farmer said, adding, "It will be a long night, with many questions for us to ask the town attorney."

From there, the commission will submit a draft of its final recommendations on Aug. 26. Overall, the commissioners agreed the draft report "should be as simple as possible."
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Glenn Douglas
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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2010, 05:09:43 PM »

Meeting playing on www.LACTV.com

http://173.166.17.35/TRMSVOD/3845-1-CharterComm712.wmv
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Glenn Douglas
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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2010, 07:01:07 PM »

Hmmm....Having a quorum requirement may be a constitutional issue?

More questions, less answers.

Interesting tidbit from Commissioner Farmers research: The original Town Meeting 'Warrant' was a summons to appear at Town Meeting, failure to appear resulted in a fine.

Another interesting bit. Commissioner Young says the vote to move to SB2 cannot be done, because we have a town charter and moving to SB2 would eliminate our charter which cannot be done.

Commissioner Young emphasises that 'special interest groups' may be formed if we go to SB2.

Has anyone else noticed there are several 'groups' that attend Town Meeting with an interest in one or two warrants articles?

The voters voted to form a Charter Commission for a reason, I think most of those voter knew what they wanted.

The bending and twisting by the 'elected' continues.
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Glenn Douglas
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