Thursday, January 26, 2017

Mayor Council Yes!

After almost two hours of deliberation comparing a Mayor/Council to the current Town Meeting/Select Board the full Amherst Charter Commission -- with one member using remote participation -- decided not to change course on their 5-4 late December "straw vote " to ditch Town Meeting.

Although they did not take a formal (concrete) vote it was obvious none of the Commissioners had changed their minds and if anything are now only more firmly entrenched.

In fact Town Meeting loyalists Gerry Weiss and Julia Rueschemeyer threatened to write a "robust minority report" although colleague Diana Stein promised to work with the five to create the best Charter possible.

This was the second meeting in a row that stalled momentum although the first hour was particularly enlightening as the Commission heard from Northampton (strong) Mayor David Narkewicz and South Hadley Administrator Mike Sullivan.

Sullivan a former Mayor of Holyoke told the Commission mayor/councils are not a one size fits all because every community has a "different texture ... a different fabric -- but if you can adopt what Northampton has go for it because it works really well there."

Mayor Narkewicz pointed out he has a highly trained credentialed finance team in place to handle the complicated finances of a city and their charter -- which gives the mayor a four year term -- makes very clear distinctions between the legislative (Council) and executive (Mayor) branch.

Sullivan concurred adding, "Mayor/Council form expedites things."

 Mayor Dave Narkewicz (ctr), Mike Sullivan (rt)

When asked about corruption Sullivan thought, "The only safeguard against corruption is individual honesty, no matter the system."

Mayor Narkewicz said Northampton passed an ordinance restricting political contributions to $500 even though the state allows $1,000 and he pointed out the Open Meeting Law keeps folks honest since anyone could access his campaign contribution report via the web.

Narkewicz acknowledged he was recently surprised to learn Representative Town Meeting members are exempt from state Conflict of Interest and Open Meeting Laws and he thought that, "was a recipe for problems."

Charter Chair Andy Churchill asked if they had any final suggestions for his Commission and Mayor Narkewicz told them "Make roles very clear.  Don't come up with a diluted mish mash.  Know where the buck stops.  Don't go with a fake Mayor."

The Mayor/Council/Manager Charter proposal in 2003 lost by only 14 votes and one of the main reasons for failure was the (unelected) Manager had more power than the (fake) Mayor.


Anonymous said...

Ha Ha
no slam dunk

keep dreaming

Larry Kelley said...

You, you may say. I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope some day you'll join us.

Anonymous said...

How did that guy's dream work out?

Either way, cant wait for all the positive things to come, though folks seem to be acting like the first thing the mayor is going to do is buy a money printing press. Short of this, I do not see what people are thinking is going to change. This will have little effect on most residents either way. Taxes will still go up, the most needy will be neglected while the wealthy get even more help.

I suggest the end result matters very little.

Dale said...

Maybe, Just Maybe, with a Mayor this town can make a decision without forming numerous committees and hiring a consultant for every decision they can't seem to figure out. The current system doesn't work and hasn't for quite sometime. We piss away more time and money on items that should and could be resolved with allot less pain. The two Mayors make excellent points by stating there is no definitive line of authority with our system. The buck doesn't stop with anyone and that makes our decision making process a perpetual rotary.

Dr. Ed said...

I suggest the bigger issue is the loss of Federal (and State) funding because Amherst is a "Sanctuary City." Just think: having to pay for ALL of the MegaSkool because no MSBA money...

Larry Kelley said...

MSBA is State entity, not Federal.

Anonymous said...

Ed, the MSBA is a Massachusetts entity, you idiot. It has nothing to do with the federal government. It's the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education not the federal government's Dept. of Education. You will have to save your vile negativity for another day.

Anonymous said...

orthampton is a Sanctuary City.
Amherst is nether Sanctuary City nor Town. But Amherst may have Sanctuary Campuses within it.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what problem the Gang of 5 is trying to fix? Do they?

Dr. Ed said...

"MSBA is State entity, not Federal."

EXCEPT that the Commonwealth is a recipient of Federal funds and hence is bound.

Look at Title IX and how the DESE mandates Girl's Sports -- they have to.

MSBA is funded by the sales tax, which "affects Interstate Commerce" and hence Federal Jurisdiction. Give Trump a FDR-style "court packing" outburst and you'll find him not needing to.

Larry, remember the 55 MPH speed limit?

Anonymous said...

"Does anyone know what problem the Gang of 5 is trying to fix?"


They want to build more infrastructure to increase tax revenue. (It will.)

In hopes that it lowers property taxes. (It won't.)

Because town services will need to expand due to increased infrastructure.

Call it "progress" or "smart growth", around and around it grows. (Until the water runs out.)

Larry Kelley said...

Actually our water supply (and distribution system) are in good shape.

Anonymous said...

Really, Chicken Little? You were panicking over water not long ago.

Larry Kelley said...

Get out of your cave once in a while.

Weather has provided a tad more moisture since the extremely dry summer.

Anonymous said...

The words of globalist Lenin. I mean Lennon.

Anonymous said...

I find it odd that a town of somewhat educated and liberal community would have folks say stuff like "Ed, the MSBA is a Massachusetts entity" when discussing funding. Then to guy their own statement by adding "you idiot" because they despise facts.

There are barely any individuals or families that are making it on their own. Every aspect of our lives is overlapped with almost every other citizen and business because we have a system of constantly reallocating wealth based on government committees. Mass does not self fund, Amherst does not self fund, your family (especially if you have kids in the schools) most certainly does not self fund, the schools do not self fund, the MSBA absolutely does not self fund (no one in this group goes out and earns the funds doing things in the free market).

We are all in a welfare blender, Amherst especially, and when someone spends more money, you will thus spend less, unless they are spending it with you. At each transaction, the govt swoops up 5-150% of the revenue and we have less.

You need to face that you are getting a wall at the Mexican border and you may have to deal with educating your own kid a little more on your own as a result. You may need to face that your neighbors that earned their income have more of a right to it than you do. You may have to pay more than the neighbor that has no kids if you want it better for your kid.

Ed is right, Amherst is loosing funding in future years. Hopefully every aspect of government becomes smaller so we as people can be bigger. The feds are cutting back and in some cases, specifically in places like Amherst, they are targeted for fostering opposing policies.

Seems like the idiots are the ones constantly going after other peoples' incomes. Amherst is thus full of idiots, shameful ones at that. I would rather have the types of idiots that come from $10k per student education, such folks are actually less needy, like Ed.

Anonymous said...

1. It is always easier to spend someone else's money.

2. Do you really think the government (town, state federal) can more wisely spend your hard earned money than you can?

3. Amherst may well be in for a "wake up" call. Government spending (and giving away) may be about to lessen considerably. Accountability is in!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but Ed is a person that lives in another state who has nothing to do with our community. He's just a voyeur. He gets some type of perverse glee out of hoping that people in Amherst suffer. Pretty sad.

Anonymous said...

Sanctuary city? I didn't realize we were in favor of illegal immigration.

Anonymous said...

You say "liberal" like it's a good thing.

Anonymous said...

"You say "liberal" like it's a good thing"

It is if you mean the people who brought you the weekend and the 40 hour work week.

Anonymous said...

...and the increasingly popular 0 hour work week.

...and the demise of small companies.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention Jim Crow, and the KKK.

Anonymous said...

Hey! You didn't build that!

Anonymous said...

...and a $21,000 first grade education, 2x the cost of the car they will likely not be able to afford as adults.