Committee recommends about 50 changes to Weymouth's town charter

By Allison Manning
The Patriot Ledger
Posted Apr 13, 2010 @ 08:42 AM

WEYMOUTH ó A new budget timeline and a stricter leave-of-absence policy for mayoral candidates are among the recommended changes to the Weymouth town charter.

About 50 changes were suggested by the charter review committee to the town councilís ordinance committee Monday night, the culmination of an eight-month review process.

Councilors Michael Smart and Arthur Mathews, both of whom served on the charter review committee, questioned whether town council members could add amendments to the charter.

The questioning stemmed from an e-mail sent from charter review counsel Michael Curran to committee chairman Barbara Deacon. In the e-mail, read by Deacon on Monday, Curran cast doubt on the ability of council members to draw up their own amendments before approving the changes and sending them to the mayor.

Both Smart and Mathews said that was not the case made during the charter review process, and questioned why that was not made clear earlier.

Curran will be invited to an April 27 charter review meeting to clarify his position. Councilors will likely be invited.

Both the town council and mayorís office must review and approve any changes, which would then be voted on by residents next year.

Any changes to term lengths or the offices in town would have required an elected charter commission, rather than the appointed committee. Smart said the charter review committee decided early that no such changes would be recommended.

The recommended changes include:

Removing language allowing a town employee to effectively hold his or her job while running for or serving as mayor.

Altering the budget timeline to give school officials an extra 22 days to submit their budget.

Allowing a periodic review of the charter if the town council and mayor agree. Currently, a review occurs every 10 years.

Allison Manning may be reached at .