Council Will Review Mayoral Term, Public Safety Post
By: Tammy Daniels On: 12:37AM / Wednesday January 12, 2011
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The City Council will research the possibility of making the mayor a four-year term.
The mayoral assignment was one of several handed down, including investigating the public safety office structure to determine if commissioner is needed, by just re-elected President Ronald Boucher as the council set out its own goals for the year.
"I've always felt this way, even before Mayor [Richard] Alcombright took office," said Boucher afterward. "I think that a mayor's position, two years, it's tough to get adjusted to the position and then the second year, you're running for your job again."
Alcombright said a four-year term would give a mayor the breathing space to deal with issues without having worrying about campaigning. "I think what it does is it takes the leader out of government for a pretty good period of time."
He was surprised to learn that only 11 of the state's 46 mayors have four-year terms. "I think a four-year term would be great right now because you wouldn't have to be dealing with what you're dealing with ... and thinking about the possibility if someone is going to run against you."
Alcombright assumed that was just the case for his predecessor, John Barrett III, who was fending off a challenge will maintaining his office. Barrett, however, had plenty of experience as the state's longest-serving mayor and few challengers during his tenure.
Boucher said that was a reason to extend the term. "It's tough, really tough, especially being a new mayor," he said. "Replacing someone with a lot of years of experience, you're going in learning and then the second year out [campaigning].
State Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, D-North Adams, was presented with gifts from colleagues after resigning Tuesday from the City Council.
Voters would decide if the change should be made by ballot; it wouldn't go into effect until the next election.
The annual organization of the council took place on Tuesday night and ended with the mayor giving his "state of the city" address.
Lisa Blackmer was re-elected vice president and the seat positions were drawn by Councilors Gailanne Cariddi and Alan Marden.
Boucher charged the General Government Committee, headed by Councilor Keith Bona, with looking into mayoral question and the Public Safety Committee, led by Councilor Alan Marden, to make recommendations regarding the position of public safety commissioner.
Public Safety Commissioner E. John Morocco, who was due to retire, had his tenure extended two years by home-rule petition to give the city time to decide if it needs the position.
"I think we need to look at that," said Boucher. "A city this size, is there a need? It's nothing against Commissioner Morocco and what he's done ... It's, I think, moving forward if we can support that kind of position."
The Community Development Committee, chaired by Blackmer, will develop a marketing and event plan in conjunction with Develop North Adams, and the Public Services Committee, chaired Councilor David Bond, will investigate ways to wring revenue from the transfer station and the benefits of joining the Northern Berkshire Solid Waste District.
As for the Finance Committee: "You've got enough on your plate," said Boucher.
Boucher also reinstituted liaisons to various boards and organizations and asked councilors to attend their meetings.
"It's not only for us it's the people who watch these meetings, the people that put you in these seats, to show them we are involved we can make a difference."
Who's on What
Lisa Blackmer, Michael, Gailanne Cariddi Finance
Michael Bloom, Alan Marden, David Bond General Government
Kieth Bona, Blackmer, Boland Public Safety
Marden, Marie Harpin, Boland Public Services
Bond, Bona, Cariddi
The council accepted effective immediately the resignation of Gailanne Cariddi, who was sworn in last week at the State House as the representative for the 1st Berkshire District. The 22-year council veteran was presented with flowers and a gift and warm parting words on her service to the city.
"You not only served the council well you served it with particular distinction as a member of several committees and as president on six occasions," said longtime colleague Marden. "You are uniquely our unofficial codifier, laboring tirelessly and continuously to put our wishes and actions in proper form."
Bloom, who was elected to the council in the same year as Cariddi, said "I think we were very lucky to have you. I was proud to serve with you and I wish you the best of luck."
A replacement for Cariddi will be appointed by the council.
In other business, the council:
Approved bonding for the city's finance officers
Adopted and passed to second reading an amended vendor ordinance.
Referred to the city solicitor a request from Charles Fox and Gordon Leete, partners in Curran Highway Development LLC, to eliminate the I-1 zoning that covers the rear portion of their 2.91 acres (the former K-K Home Mart) on Curran Highway. The partners said the property has two zones, I-1 and CC-1, with CC-1 being the dominant zone and covering its frontage. "It would eliminate a zoning designation no longer appropriate," they stated in a letter to the council.
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I THINK HAVING MAYOR Alcombright AS THE MAYOR HAS BEEN A BLESSING FOR ARE CITY AND IF THE PREVIOUS MAYOR BARRETT CAN STAY IN OFFICE FOR THE 20 SOMETHING YEARS HE DID THEN SO BE IT I THINK HOW EVER LONG WE CAN KEEP MAYOR Alcombright IN OFFICE SO BE IT HE WILL ALWAYS HAVE MY VOTE WELL DONE MAYOR Alcombright ON YOUR 1ST YEAR KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK
I don't think that changing the term of office for Mayor from two years to four years can be done by a simple ballot question---as far as I know it's a lot more complex than that. I don't believe that the City Charter can be amended by a simple ballot question. The Charter Commission route which I think is required would take longer than two years.
The mayor believed the ballot would be the first step. If the voters didn't want it to change, the process wouldn't move forward. I could have worded it better; the point was that any change wouldn't affect this coming election.
The mayor believed the ballot would be the first step. If the voters did not want it to change, the process would not move forward. I could have worded it better; the point was that any change would not affect this coming election.
OK- you were there I was not-- so let me get this straight--a ballot question as to 2 or 4 years on the 2011 ballot-- it would have to be an advisory question. If it passes for 4 years- THEN a ballot question concerning a Charter Commission would be on the 2013 ballot-- if it passes-- and the Charter Commission comes back with a recommendation to change the Charter for 2015- effective 2017???--what's the point?? the idea put forth by Boucher and Alcombright is designed to give a new Mayor more time to get up to speed --I would think that if he can make it until 2017--he ought to be up to speed--chbpod
Would they have to have a Charter Commission for a word change? The process for making changes will be part of the General Government Committee's review. I am not up on procedure for doing this - looks like some homework this weekend, professor.
The four year term is a good idea. Certainly makes sense to allow an administration the time to implement strategies and develop policy....but the issue now comes up to the other city government positions. How would a four-year mayoral term effect voter turn out for municipal elections that remained two-year terms. Would there be be a change in the charter for those posts too. One of the most vital concerns would be school committee. City Council seems to be a rubber stamp for Mayor's office anyway so we could let them sit until we elect a new mayor
Since the Charter (A) is one of the standard charters spelled out in MGL 43---it seems unlikely that the State legislature would amend that charter as it would affect all other Cities operating under an A charter. You may recall- maybe 20 years ago there was an attempt to change the charter (by anti-Barrett) people to a City Manager plan. It had to go through the Charter Commission -but the forming of a commission was rejected by the voters. If in this instance of wanting to change to a 4 year Mayoral term you have to go through the Charter Commission route--the entire Charter is up for review and potential change---and you never know what you'll get.
Sorry I didn't see your post Nama Mama. There was indeed the suggestion of a change in rules of order that would move the open forum to the beginning of the meeting. That will not happen, however, after a number of people expressed concern.
:: Preliminary Election: Deadline to register is Wednesday, Sept. 7. (Office open from 8 to 8.)
:: General Election: Deadline to register is Tuesday, Oct. 18
Registration can be completed at the city clerk's office at City Hall.
Absentee ballots are now available at the city clerk's office for the Sept. 27 preliminary city election. Voters may come in between the hours of 8 and 4:30 weekdays. Written reguests for mailed ballots can be sent to City Clerk's Office, 10 Main St., North Adams, MA 01247. Deadline for absentee ballots is Monday, Sept. 26, at noon.
The preliminary election will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27, to narrow the field of three mayoral candidates to two. The general election to select nine city councilors and a mayor will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8.