Pittsfield Moves to Examine Charter Review

By Joe DurwinSpecial to iBerkshires
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council will convene a meeting of the whole on Tuesday, May 1, to discuss an order from Mayor Daniel Bianchi establishing a Charter Review Study Committee to overhaul its core governing document.

The planned committee would include no more than nine members who "shall hold hearings and gather evidence concerning the charter of the city of Pittsfield," according to the order put before the City Council on Tuesday. No member of the committee can be an elected or appointed official of the city.

The need to update the city's current charter, which dates to 1932, was first enunciated by Council President Kevin Sherman one year ago, in response to controversy over then Mayor James Ruberto's decision to bypass council approval on key appointments.

The charter has had amendments made at least twice since its origin, according to City Clerk Linda Tyer. Another charter review attempt, in 1995, did not ultimately result in any changes.

This new committee will be expected to issue a preliminary report to the mayor and the City Council by Dec. 31, 2012, and a final report no later than May 31, 2013.

The Charter Review Study Committee may make recommendations for adopting changes to the existing charter, which approved by the Mayor and City Council would be submitted as a Special Act to the State Legislature.

The mayor indicated he intends to submit a list of up to nine members once the order is approved. 

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