The Daily Hampshire Gazette editorial board has given an unequivocal endorsement for the proposed city charter:
We believe the charter changes are warranted and urge Northampton voters to usher them in. It only makes sense to periodically review the city’s charter and examine its strengths and weaknesses. What constitution doesn’t change?
A four-year mayoral term, which is not uncommon, would eliminate the annual or biannual distraction of fundraising and campaigning and allow the city’s chief executive officer to stay more focused on his or her work. Instead of a two-year track record, voters would examine a four-year span when considering electing an incumbent to another term.
We believe the mayor should not preside over City Council meetings. Eliminating that structure will provide a healthier balance between the city’s executive and legislative branches.
What taxpayer wouldn’t want the city to periodically review compensation and benefits for elected officials? And streamlining elections for School Committee members has numerous benefits, including placing everybody on a level playing field at election time.
The charter changes are well-thought-out, community-driven initiatives. There are no surprises here, just change for the better. Vote yes for a new Northampton city charter.
And 8 of the 9 Northampton city councilors signed a letter of support for the new charter in a recent letter to the Gazette:
On Tuesday, Northampton voters will be asked whether or not to ratify a new city charter. Your City Council endorsed the new charter earlier this year and we, the undersigned, urge you to vote yes.
By modernizing a charter riddled with archaic and confusing language, clarifying separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches and improving transparency, the new charter will strengthen our local democracy and increase the public’s accessibility to their government.
Please remember to vote "Yes" on the Special Municipal Election ballot on Election Day Tuesday!