Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Penny Wise Investment

Big changes coming to our little college town

Fortunately after the voters approve the Charter Question at this coming March 29 election the Town Treasurer -- according to state statute -- has 20 days to credit the Charter Commission account with $5,000.  No questions asked.

Since Town Meeting could very well be exterminated by the new government the Commission proposes, they may not be overly friendly about appropriating seed money, which is kind of like a federal penitentiary charging death row inmates an electricity surcharge to power the electric chair.

The nine member Commission that will also be elected on March 29 has 18 months maximum to come up with a new government proposal, but there is no minimum limit.  Then all it requires is a majority vote of the electorate at an annual election.

The Commission can issue a mid-term status report, hold at least two public hearings (1st one within 45 days of election) and must snail mail their final report to all the registered voters in town, so the $5,000 allowance is probably too low.

 Click to enlarge/read

Interestingly after the first Mayor/Council/Town Manager idea failed at the ballot box in 2003 by only 14 votes the boundlessly determined Stan Durnakowski went out and got enough signatures to bring it back two years later.

A legal firefight ensued when the Select Board, at the time led by Anne Awad and Gerry Weiss, refused to mail along with the Charter the letter of introduction by 7-of-9 Charter Commission members outlining why they came up with the new proposal.   Which of course was done the 1st time around.

 Select Board annual town report 2005

Yes this is the same Gerry Weiss who became Select Board Chair a few years later and co-conspired with Town Manager Larry Shaffer to tax the Boy Scouts Christmas tree sales on Kendrick Park.

And then trampled the First Amendment rights of the July 4th Parade Committee by denying them a parade permit because they refused to let unregistered protesters march in their private parade.  Something the town's municipal 250th Parade Committee would also do a few years later.

And yes, Mr. Weiss and his wife Jenifer McKenna -- as loyal followers of the status quo -- have taken out nomination papers for Charter Commission.

Those who adamantly resist any change (that must be voter approved) in our inefficient overly guided by self-interest current government, need to answer the simple question:  what are you afraid of? 


Anonymous said...

The mayor is coming and these folks will have to go back to S&M at home to get their power. Bye bye Council, hello accountability and efficiency.

Anonymous said...

Nice similie with the chair... Time's up, TM!

Anonymous said...

Interesting to hear our Town Manager hiring consultant say that Mayors are on the downturn with Councils and Town Managers on the uprise. Wonder why?

Larry Kelley said...

Interesting he also said the Charter process could impact the number and quality of Town Manager candidates who apply for the job.

Anonymous said...

Just wait, you will get a Bernie Sanders as mayor and how happy will you be?

Larry Kelley said...

Fine by me. ABTM: Anything But Town Meeting.

Anonymous said...

Gerry Weiss for Mayor!

Larry Kelley said...

Stephanie O'Keeffe already skewered him to take over as Select Board Chair after her rookie year on the Board.

And she has already announced (more or less) that she's running for the job.

Anonymous said...

She's as loopy as her hula hoop.

Anonymous said...

Larry Kelley: Make Amherst Great Again!

Anonymous said...

For those of you that are considering voting for Gerry Weiss, please read:
a) his Hampshire Gazette OpEd piece "Town Hall, not Town Meeting" is root of Amherst problems" (Nov. 15th)
b) his campaign statement on the Amherst for All Facebook page in which he extols his 6 years in Town Hall (Select Board, chair) as the reason we should vote for him.

Here's a reasonable interpretation of his logic:
Town Hall, not Town Meeting, is the root of Amherst problems
Gerry Weiss is Town Hall
Therefore, Gerry Weiss is the root of Amherst's problems

Larry Kelley said...

Good point.

Anon 1, Weiss 0.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Weiss is the Trump of Amherst - narcissist blowhard. Favorite sport is taking a position against something when he has not attended a single meeting in the public process (i.e. zoning). Presumably because he already knows everything?

Come to think of it, there are multiple Amherst Trumps...

Anonymous said...

The candidate to whom you refer as a "narcissistic blowhard" (and it takes one to know one, I guess,) is going to become the 45th POTUS in the biggest bi-partisan landslide since Mondale was rejected by Americans in '84.

Anonymous said...

Weiss is going to be POTUS?

Dr Ed said...


The one, the only -- and he might even agree to nuke Amherst.