Watertown Group Hosting Discussion on Charter Review Process

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The Charles River from Watertown Square

A newly formed group will host a discussion on the once-a-decade review of Watertown’s Town Charter — the document that lays out how the town’s government works.

Watertown Forward will host a virtual discussion on Saturday, Oct. 3 from 3-4:15 p.m. The meeting kicks off the group’s effort, which is intended to inform and bring a voice to residents about the Charter Review process. Attendees can learn more about the group and how to get involved.

Town officials review the Charter every 10 years, and the 2020 Charter Review process will begin this fall. The members of the Charter Review Commission, as defined in the Charter, include the nine members of the Town Council and six residents appointed by the Town Council President.

Watertown Forward does not seek to duplicate the work of the Charter Review Commission, but wants to provide information to residents, said Nancy Hammett, of Watertown Forward’s Outreach and Engagement Committee.

“Our goal is to promote inclusive and informed engagement by all of Watertown’s residents,” Hammett said. “We will not take any position on what changes should be made to the Charter, if any.  We are advocates for an effective public engagement process, not for any particular outcome.”

The group sent out the following statement:

“Watertown Forward aims to offer residents an additional avenue for informed engagement and a chance to bring their voices and values into the community conversation as the Town Council Charter Review Commission begins its 2020 Charter Review process. Watertown’s Charter is our ‘constitution,’ defining every aspect of Watertown’s governance.”

Meeting Details:

Meeting link: brandeis.zoom.us/j/96492026449
iPhone (US Toll): Dial: +16465588656,96492026449#
Telephone: Dial: +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll)

See the Town Charter by clicking here.

Questions, concerns, request for a recording of the event and accessibility needs can be sent to ForwardWatertown@gmail.com.

Watertown Forward came together when people involved in a variety of efforts in town joined forced. Some have participated in the Watertown Community Conversations, which organized last summer’s Kitchen Table Conversations project to find out how Town officials can better communicate with residents. Hammett said the group includes a mix of “old timers and newcomers.”

The group has formed a steering committee, an education work group, and an outreach and engagement work group. More meetings will be held in the future, with dates and details to be determined.

3 thoughts on “Watertown Group Hosting Discussion on Charter Review Process

  1. I hope that review of the charter does not eman a tilt toward the political Left under the rubric of “reform.”

    What’s wrong with the present charter?

    Anyone know?

    • Under the present charter, there is more power vested in unelected town staff than in the elected Town Councilors.

      A more powerful council and perhaps a Mayor would probably force the town to be more responsive to residents opinions since they can be held accountable at election time. Staff doesn’t need to worry about that.

  2. To Karl, as the article says, the charter has to be reviewed every 10 years. The article does not say there’s anything wrong with it or that it will be changed. After all, if it hasn’t been reviewed yet, how would they know if any changes are needed?

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