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Author Topic: LT - Charter Commission Readies Report  (Read 766 times)
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« on: August 15, 2010, 08:23:08 AM »

From the Londonderry Times

Charter Commission Readies Report
April Guilmet
Londonderry Times

As the Londonderry Charter Commission prepared to finalize its draft of recommendations, the seven members present at Monday's meeting unanimously agreed to table the evening's discussion on a possible quorum.

Commission members Kathy Wagner and Steve Young were absent.

During the commission's previous meeting on July 26, Town Attorney Barton Mayer referred to state RSA 49-D, saying that imposing a quorum was beyond the commission's authority.

Although Farmer said the members' initial vote left the quorum topic open for revisiting at future meetings, commission member Al Baldasaro made a motion to restrict reconsideration, which Farmer noted would essentially remove the quorum from all future discussions.

Baldasaro's motion passed 5 to 2, with Farmer and Marty Bove opposed.

"I'm mindful of two commissioners who are not here tonight who would like a quorum to be considered," Farmer said, while Bove noted the evening's initial vote where "the majority have already made a motion to say no to this."

Last month, the commission voted 6 to 3, with Bove, Young and Wagner opposed, to place the question of replacing Town Meeting with official ballot voting on the March 2011 ballot.

And with the quorum permanently off the table, the commission met with Town Manager David Caron to review a rough draft of its final report, which will be sent to the offices of the state Attorney General and Secretary of State for review at the end of this month. Aug. 26 is the commission's deadline for draft completion.

"Currently our first session involves voting on bonds and all elected officials, while the second session is on budget items, making amendments and voting with finality," Caron noted. "Essentially (a changed charter) would be flipping those. Your second session would still be the final vote, but it would be on the budget and special warrant articles."

In the draft version of the charter amendments for official ballot voting,

a deliberative session would be held between the first and second Saturdays following the last Monday in January. Warrant articles could be amended at the first session, though those articles with wording prescribed by law could not be amended.

From there, the Town Clerk would prepare an official ballot, which may be separate from the official ballot used to elect officers, for bonds or note articles and all budget articles to be voted on by official ballot. All voting would take place on the second Tuesday in March.

"It is our speculation not to establish a specific date (for a Deliberative Session). Frankly, nobody knows what's going to work - would citizens prefer a Saturday meeting or a night meeting?" Caron noted. "We recommend not establishing a specific day but use the parameters established by state law."

Resident Pauline Caron, the sole member of the audience at Monday's meeting, noted that the modified schedule could pose challenges for those voting by absentee ballots, as the Secretary of State requires absentee ballots to be returned 45 days before elections take place.

The commission will meet again this Monday, Aug. 16, to review a full outline of the draft report. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Moose Hill Council Chambers at Town Hall.

Glenn Douglas
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