Framingham Source Op-eds Framingham Source invited 10 community members to write op-ends on the proposed charter question on the ballot of the April 4th Town election. Five people wrote a vote yes op-ed, and five wrote a vote NO op-ed. Below are summaries of the op-eds that recommend a NO vote, each with a link to the original op-ed on Framingham Source. March 13, 2017, by Elizabeth Funk Framingham combines professional administration with voluntary community input that results in coalitions and consensus on critical issues. In these complex times, professional management is essential. There is much evidence that ours is strong and effective. Financial oversight has been a strength for the Town in recent years. The Town has very high benchmarks for fiscal discipline. Town Meeting generally makes good decisions that reflect the core values of our community. Read the full op-ed by Elizabeth Funk here. March 14, 2017, by Bradley C. Bauler Disappointment set in with strident claims about how everything was broken and intentionally false accusations that the town form of government is responsible for all municipal problems. Discouragement grew with the emergence of a strong mayor who appoints more than 160 members of boards, commissions and committees with a veto power that requires eight of eleven city councilors to overturn any decision. One mayor and four city councilors dominate under this proposed charter. Five people. Read the full op-ed by Bradley Bauler here. March 15, 2017, by Norma Shulman Our Town Meeting is a good filter for ideas and projects because members really have to sell the benefits to get support from this legislative body. Our elected precinct representatives do not have donors to appease or please. Seven examples of how shining sunlight on issues in public and in front of fellow Town Meeting Members (and Town Meeting’s Standing Committees) to get their votes illustrates the author’s point. Read the full op-ed by Norma Shulman here. March 16, 2017, by Linda Dunbrack This charter creates a lopsided power structure. Under this charter, the Mayor holds the vast majority of the power. The Council has less power and limited checks on the Mayor’s power. This charter fosters an unhealthy dependency on large campaign donations for the Mayor. This charter puts the education budget at risk. This charter does not magically lower taxes, increase state funding, fill empty shopping centers, improve our schools. Read the full op-ed by Linda Dunbrack here. March 17, 2017, by Mark W. McClennan I believe the charter will reduce opportunities for citizens’ voices to be heard and have an impact, give Framingham residents fewer opportunities to engage in one of the hallmarks of New England – participatory democracy, and was rushed through without examining all the options. Read the full op-ed by Mark McClennan here. Documents and Presentations Key Reasons to Vote NO Our summary brochure, formatted for easy online reading, which gives an outline of reasons why you should vote NO for THIS Home Rule Charter on April 4th. Principais razões para votar NÃO Nosso folheto informativo em português. Vote NÃO em 4 de Abril. Principales razones para votar NO Nuestro folleto informativo en español. Vota NO el 4 de abril! Minority Report of the 2016-2017 Charter Commission Every Framingham voter should read the Minority Report of the 2016-2017 Charter Commission, written by Commissioner Teri S. Banerjee. Her report explains why voters should reject this proposed city charter. Why You Should Vote No A one-page, printable summary of why the citizens of Framingham should vote No on the Home Rule Charter ballot question on April 4. Revised March 26, 2017. News Framingham mayor would be among highest paid in Massachusetts WickedLocal March 31, 2017 Jim Haddadin, Daily News Staff NEW ITEM: If voters approve a new city charter next week, the contest to be Framingham’s first mayor will include a lucrative salary for the winner. Upon taking office in 2018, the mayor would be paid $187,639 — the same amount received by current Town Manager Bob Halpin. The charter stipulates the mayor’s pay would be equal to Halpin’s salary as of Dec. 31, 2016. Framingham’s top elected official would earn a higher salary than the mayors of the 20 most populous cities in the state, according to an analysis by the Daily News. The mayor’s earnings would top even the salary of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who presides over a community roughly nine times larger than Framingham. In race for mayor, top spenders in Mass. often have an edge The MetroWest Daily News March 30, 2017 Jim Haddadin, Daily News Staff NEW ITEM: A report on the influence of money in Massachusetts mayoral campaigns. Here is an excerpt: Quincy resident Charles Dennehey Jr. considered throwing his hat into the ring. Contractors, real estate agents and others who do business in Quincy asked where to send the money, Dennehey said. "I thought about it and I realized I'm not a politician, and to be a politician, you've got to be for sale," he said. Vision or Fantasy? WickedLocal March 29, 2017 John Kahn NEW ITEM: In response to a recent Letter to the Editor in which the writer urges voters to “Imagine” the immediate benefits we are assured will flow from the adoption of this city charter, Kahn points out that the Charter Commission has not offered any specific answers to key questions, which include: Why does this charter provide more representative, responsive government through less resident participation? Why is more efficient government guaranteed by eliminating the town’s cadre of professional administrators built over the years? Why will this charter promote accountability and its pre-requisite transparency into the deals and dealings of the mayor and un-elected appointees? Proposed Charter is The Riskier Alternative When It Comes To Our Children’s Education Framingham Source March 27, 2017 Linda Dunbrack/Framingham NEW ITEM: The School Department budget is twice as big as all of the other departments combined. It is a huge target for those looking for cost savings in the budget, regardless of the form of government. Under the proposed charter, the Mayor can unilaterally reduce the School Committee’s recommended budget, and just four Councilors can prevent an increase, even if the other seven vote in favor of an increase. City Mayor Should Not Be Paid the Same As ‘Professional’ Town Manager Framingham Source March 27, 2017 Beth Greeley/Framingham NEW ITEM: The Charter Commission Majority Report assures voters that running as a city “should be close to cost neutral.” The main support for that claim is that the city government will “offset” the new mayor’s salary by eliminating the current town manager’s salary. But there is a huge difference between the two job descriptions. Our town manager is a professional fitted by education and experience to help run our community. A brand new mayor, on the other hand, seldom has the same credentials as a professional manager. Yet he or she will be rewarded as if they do, with a starting salary package of $187, 639, higher than that of Boston mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker. Great Innovations Seldom Deliver The Relief That Is Promised Framingham Source March 27, 2017 John Kahn/Framingham NEW ITEM: Almost on the eve of Election Day, those proponents of city-at-any-cost are telling us they will guarantee a Framingham “reinvigorated" under the rule of their city charter. Their glorification of the Charter Commission’s handiwork prompts us to consider where in their minds lies the distinction between “vision” and fantasy. Greeley: A municipal teardown of Framingham is unnecessary The MetroWest Daily News March 19, 2017 Beth Greeley/Guest Columnist NEW ITEM: Greeley compares the proposed city charter to tearing down a solidly built New England house in decent repair to replace it with a "McMansion." She writes, "The city charter proposed for Framingham is like a complete municipal tear down. The entire proposal is a radical departure from the principles and structures that have sustained our town for nearly 317 years." But not this Charter The MetroWest Daily News March 16, 2017 Donna Schaefer NEW ITEM: Schaefer urges everyone take the time to read the minority report, speak to people that supported the city charter and now do not, ask them why they changed their minds. Give this much thought because if this Charter is approved we are stuck with it, there is no going back in six months if we don't like it. Say ‘no’ to Framingham charter The MetroWest Daily News March 3, 2017 Bradley C. Bauler NEW ITEM: The vitality of Framingham's Town form of government is found in the care, cooperation and ownership that our volunteer leaders show as they work to improve the lives of our families and neighbors. We voted in 2016 to form a Charter Commission to identify reforms that could make Framingham more responsive and efficient. "We did not ask to be ruled," says Bauler. Framingham charter fraught with peril The MetroWest Daily News February 27, 2017 John Kahn "Three Steps Backward and No Path Forward", is an appropriate summary of the Charter being presented to the voters for acceptance this coming April 4, 2017. Many residents have major concerns about the proposal that is being brought to full term in the shortest allowable time by 8 of the 9 Commissioners. [Note: The article incorrectly reports "10 of the 11 Commissioners."] There is only a little time left to learn what lies in THIS 70- page document and how it will change what we value about our government in Framingham. Framingham’s city switch opposed Boston Globe February 17, 2017 Jennifer Fenn Lefferts, Globe Correspondent Residents opposed to a proposal that would turn the town of Framingham into a city with a strong mayor and 11 city councilors are banding together to fight the plan. Comparison of Framingham state and federal funding with that of 4 cities FramGov (Framingham Government Forum) February 16, 2017 Audrey Hall NEW ITEM: FramGov post comparing funding of four Massachusetts cities similar to Framingham: Medford, Peabody, Waltham, and Weymouth. Factors compared were • State funding • State funding per capita • Federal funding • Federal funding per capita Framingham: Town Meeting takes ‘no’ vote on city charter The MetroWest Daily News February 8, 2017 Jim Haddadin, Daily News Staff Town Meeting members on Tuesday railed against the proposal for Framingham to become a city, formally opposing a home rule charter. Banerjee: Charter Defies Tradition The MetroWest Daily News February 5, 2017 Teri S. Banerjee/Guest Columnist As a Framingham citizen and Charter Commissioner, I urge Framingham residents to read this report and the full charter carefully and vote no on the proposed city charter. Setting the Record Straight on Watertown – Letter to the Editor The MetroWest Daily News January 30, 2017 Marilyn M. Petitto Devaney, Watertown Letter from a Watertown resident in reply to Butler, "Framingham should learn from Watertown", Jan. 17. In the letter, Ms. Devaney, discusses the pros and cons of Watertown moving to a city form of government. Framingham vs Watertown – Letter to the Editor The MetroWest Daily News January 25, 2017 Sue Bernstein, Framingham A rebuttal to a previous letter to the editor, "Watertown's real lessons to pass on" (Jan. 22) regarding development in Framingham. Participation for Mayor’s Friends Only – Letter to the Editor The MetroWest Daily News January 22, 2017 Richard J. Weader II, Framingham The citizen participation section of the proposed Framingham City Charter is a strong message from the political class that they don't want their government messed with by outsiders . . . In surprise, Framingham charter group agrees to term limits The MetroWest Daily News January 20, 2017 Jim Haddadin, Daily News Staff Members of the Charter Commission voted to institute term limits if Framingham becomes a city, abruptly reversing their position on one of the most contentious issues in the charter discussion. Balance of power key in Framingham charter debate The MetroWest Daily News January 7, 2017 Jim Haddadin, Daily News Staff The power of the mayor, the composition of the School Committee and the hurdles citizens must clear to initiate recalls and other ballot measures were among the concerns raised at a public hearing Tuesday on a new draft city charter. Weak Case for Strong Mayor – Letter to the Editor The MetroWest Daily News September 22, 2016 Beth Greeley, Framingham Beth Greeley makes a case that the Charter Commission is providing weak reasons for the strong mayor proposed in the Charter. Critics Prepare for Ballot Fight The MetroWest Daily News July 28, 2016 Jim Haddadin, Daily News Staff With the Charter Commission set to recommend a historic change for town government, opponents are banding together to fight Framingham's likely move to become a city. Several residents recently formed a new committee, called Framingham Not For Sale, to campaign against adopting a city form of government.