Today 14 of our 24 City Councilors co-sponsored a proposal to reduce the City Council to 8 At-Large Councilors elected city-wide plus 8 Ward Councilors elected by their wards. The docketed legislation says that if the Charter Commission’s proposed City charter is not approved by voters on November 7, then the City Council will seek Home Rule legislation to amend the charter to change the composition of the City Council as noted above.
This new Home Rule proposal offers an alternative to the Charter Commission’s proposed composition of the City Council, which would be 12 Councilors (1 resident in each ward, plus 4 with no residency requirement) all elected city-wide, with no Councilors elected by their wards. The Home Rule proposal would make no other changes to the City charter.
The Home Rule proposal is co-sponsored by Councilors Brousal-Glaser, Blazar, Ciccone, Cote, Danberg, Harney, Kalis, Lappin, Laredo, Lipof, Norton, Rice, Sangiolo, and Schwartz. As noted in the TAB, the proposal is expected to be heard by the City Council’s Programs and Services Committee early next month. The next step would be approval by the entire City Council, which seems likely because the legislation is co-sponsored by a majority of the Council. If approved by the Council, it then goes to the Mayor, the state legislature, and finally to Newton voters for approval at each step. The process would be expected to conclude in the November election of 2018 or 2019, depending on how quickly each step is completed. This is the same process that was used to change the title “Alderman” to “Councilor” [EDIT: …except the last step, as noted by George Foord in his comment below.]
See the TAB’s article for quotes by Charter Commission Chair Josh Krintzman, Councilor At-Large (and former Mayoral candidate) Amy Sangiolo, Ward Councilor Emily Norton, and Councilor At-Large Marc Laredo.