Summary of Home Rule Charter
January 13, 2017
Dear Framingham Voter:
We have each had the honor and privilege of serving as your elected representative on Framingham’s fifth Charter Commission, the others were in 1925, 1971, 1992, and 1996. The Commission was charged by the voters of Framingham and authorized by Massachusetts constitution and general laws with drafting a Charter for Framingham.
Over the past year, the Charter Commission convened 57 meetings and 7 public hearings to gather input from residents, community leaders and experts in municipal government to help determine the most inclusive and effective form of government for our community. We drafted for voters consideration - through a transparent, open, participatory and iterative process - the attached Home Rule Charter to reform, reconstitute and reinvigorate our local government.
It will appear as follows on the annual Town Election on Tuesday, April 4, 2017:
Shall Framingham approve the new home rule charter recommended by the charter commission as summarized below?
Summary of Home Rule Charter
The home rule charter provides for a full-time elected Mayor serving a 4-year term, and an elected 11-member Council composed of 9 district members serving 2-year terms and 2 at-large members serving 4-year terms. The Mayor replaces the Board of Selectmen as the chief executive, and the Council, meeting at least monthly, replaces the Representative Town Meeting. The Mayor and at-large-councilors are limited to a maximum of three consecutive terms in office and district councilors are limited to six consecutive terms in office.
The School Committee will have 9 district members serving 2-year terms; the Mayor serves as the 10th member only voting to break a tie. The terms of the Board of Library Trustees and the Board of Cemetery Trustees will be 4 years, with half the membership elected at alternating municipal elections.
Elections will be held in November of odd-numbered years.
The charter establishes a Licensing Commission and a Traffic Commission. Financial management provisions include creation of a Strategic Initiatives and Financial Oversight Committee to consider our community’s financial condition and make recommendations on its future needs.
Several citizen “safeguard” provisions allow citizens to petition for measures through an initiative process, repeal a measure enacted by the Council through a referendum process, and remove from office the Mayor, Council members, or School Committee by petitioning for a recall election. The proposed charter also establishes procedures for voters to bring matters before the Council and School Committee for a hearing, and creates the position of citizen participation officer to improve communication and outreach between the residents and the municipal government. The Charter creates new local financial reporting, campaign spending disclosures and ethics compliance requirements for various officials and candidates.
Finally, the Charter provides for an automatic and periodic review of the Charter to ensure that it continues to evolve to meet our community’s needs. The first such review will be five years after the adoption of this charter.
We humbly submit the attached Home Rule Charter and accompanying reports to you for your consideration. Please take time to engage in this important discussion relative to the future of our community and no matter your position on it, please vote on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.
WITNESS, our hands and seal, at Framingham, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.