All nine Amherst Charter Commissioners present (one by remote participation)
After spending almost an hour discussing a compromise proposal made by Meg Gage to salvage Town Meeting -- although downsizing it from 240 to 60 -- the Amherst Charter Commission stuck to their guns about replacing Town Meeting with a 13 member Council and then after a brief discussion voted 6-3 to support a (strong) Mayor in place of an unelected Town Manager.
In 2003 the Mayor/Council/Manager proposal to replace Select Board/Town Manager/Town Meeting failed by only 14 votes almost exclusively because the Mayor was a weak ceremonial figurehead.
Two weeks ago the Charter Commission heard from Northampton Mayor Dave Narkewicz who assured them professional management comes from putting together a strong team of department heads under the direction of one leader, where the buck always stops.
Mayor Dave Narkewicz (ctr), Mike Sullivan (rt)
When asked by Charter Chair Andy Churchill for any parting advice Mayor Narkewicz replied, "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."
Tonight the Amherst Charter Commission took that advice to heart and made a huge step forward towards real genuine change, one that voters will embrace.