THIS CHARTER PROPOSAL IS EXTREMELY FLAWED
VOTE NO MARCH 27!
When has it ever been a good idea to concentrate power, unchecked, in the hands of just a few people? The proposed Charter is poorly designed and not right for Amherst. It creates drastically unchecked power for 13 paid part-time City Councilors. It would sacrifice the strengths of our current balanced system of Town Meeting and Select Board and reduce power for Amherst citizens.
The flaws of this unbalanced proposed Charter were highlighted during the Charter Commission study, but the commission majority chose to ignore them. Only 5 of the 9 Charter Commission members voted in favor of this Charter. Read the Charter Commission Minority Statement and study the the details of the proposed Charter for yourself.
The serious flaws of this Charter were also highlighted in two letters to the Charter Commissioners from the Massachusetts Municipal Management Association (MMMA), but these concerns were again dismissed by the commission majority.
This Charter will do much more than replace the Select Board and Town Meeting with a 13-member council. It will change our election cycle with disruptive, all-at-once elections every two years. It will have damaging impacts on the schools. And it will open the door to more inappropriate development downtown and in residential neighborhoods. These are just some of the many reasons to vote NO!
Amherst citizens who signed the Charter petition were told when they signed the petition that the Charter Commission would "study" ways to improve Town Meeting. This was NOT a focus of the Charter Commission. Instead, what resulted was a proposal for a new form of government with no checks on the far reaching power of its paid part-time 13 member Council, which would open Amherst's governing to the influence of money and special interests.
Don't believe the myths about Town Government and the proposed Charter.
Get the facts and VOTE NO ON MARCH 27!
The strongest democracies flourish from frequent and lively debate, but they endure when people of every background and belief find a way to set aside smaller differences in service of a greater purpose. ~ Barack Obama, 2009