Taking on charter review

Friday August 10, 2012

After working out a few kinks early in the process, Mayor Daniel Bianchi and the City Council have produced a well-rounded 11-member committee to assess the Pittsfield city charter with an eye toward its updating and streamlining.

Four of the 11 members were chosen directly by the mayor with the remaining seven selected from a list of 22 candidates supplied to the mayor by city councilors. The committee contains some well- known members, most notably Pittsfield City Councilor Peter Marchetti, Mayor Bian chi's opponent in the most recent city election and one of the mayor's four choices, and some who are less well known but have roots in the city and relevant experience. There are three women on the committee and three members bring legal backgrounds to the task.

The council will address the nominations at its meetings next Tuesday and the committee is expected to start work in September. We hope the City Council will approve the hiring of an experienced consultant as requested by the mayor, to assist in what is sure to be a complex process.

The charter has not been overhauled since 1932, and various gaps and contradictions have been exposed in recent years as mayors and councilors have worked on city business. City officials understandably want to have public input on the review but we urge residents not to over-react to every idea that is floated in the year ahead. The charter review committee must be free to go through the charter and discuss all manner of options even if many or most ultimately fall by the wayside.

The selection process and the makeup of the committee encourage optimism that the review process will be a fruitful one.


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