The main editorial in last week’s Newton TAB expresses concern about the Charter Commission‘s proposed revision of the City Council to be 8 ward-resident Councilors plus 4 other Councilors, all elected city-wide. The editorial states that eliminating Ward Councilors (elected by their wards) is not in residents’ best interests. Instead the TAB supports an alternative plan put forward by 14 City Councilors that would also reduce the size of the Council but would retain representatives elected by each ward. This alternative calls for 8 Ward Councilors each elected by their wards plus 8 At-Large Councilors elected city-wide. The City Councilors’ alternative would be pursued only if the Charter Commission’s proposal is not approved by voters in the November 7 election. It would then follow a Home Rule petition process requiring approval by the City Council, the Mayor, the state legislature, and finally Newton’s voters.
Titled “Reducing City Council’s size… sensibly,” the TAB’s editorial says in part: While not perfect, we think the City Council’s plan is a far better option because it would preserve exclusive ward representation. In other words, councilors elected by the ward, for the ward. This system of government has served the Garden City well since the late 19th century, ensuring that each section of the city has a representative directly accountable to its residents… and their specific needs. An entirely at-large City Council, regardless of residency requirements, would not do that.