Guest Op-Ed: Charter Changes Belong With the People

By Fred Capone

Our Charter is akin to the city’s constitution. It sets out the powers and restrictions of government.  Amending the Charter was a slow, tedious process. It was studied by a group elected for that specific purpose.  Proposed changes were presented to Everett voters, and were accepted in November 2011.   

There are two ways to change our Charter.  One, present the matter to the voters to decide.  The alternative is Home Rule Petition, where a measure is approved by the City Council and Mayor and sent to the State House for adoption.  Although Home Rule petition is an option, I feel charter amendments should be decided by the people, not 12 elected officials. 

Since your Charter vote, your elected officials have changed the Charter multiple times without your input. One change was extremely self-serving, allowing an elected official to take a job with the City after only 30 days from stepping down.  The prior timeframe was 1 year.  Among other changes were adding the mayor as a voting member of the school committee, and changing the way Ward councilors and school committee members are elected.  Elected officials should not decide how they are elected! I voted NO on every charter change proposal, not because I didn’t see merit in the piece but because I feel that the voters should make the decision.

One proposal I wanted to support was term limits.  I spoke in favor of the sentiment, but stated I would be consistent and vote no as charter changes should be decided by the people.  I was thrilled when the Council passed the matter. Term limits only required the mayor’s signature to become a reality.  Sadly, our mayor vetoed it! The mayor approved every prior charter change, but stopped when one was proposed that could negatively impact him.  

This is just another example of this mayor serving his own interests rather than those of the people.  As your Mayor, your interests will be served – not mine.  For other areas of concern or ideas, please visit my webpage at www.fredcaponeforeverett.com.

Fred Capone is a City Councilor, and a candidate for mayor.

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