How will the new charter stop the nonsense I saw at the DS on Tuesday and Wednesday? 134 people changed what two elected bodies and a highly skilled team of administrators spent MONTHS working over. That is fact.
In my view (and this is not secret to you guys, I wrote to the CC three times), the DS is the absolute NO 1 problem with our form of gov't.
Yes, the Charter corrects a lot of other evils. How does it fix this mess?
You asked how the Charter would have changed the Deliberative Session we just finished in Town. Let me give you a few thoughts on that.
1.) The proposed Charter keeps the Deliberative Session under what is known as SB2 (RSA 40:13) for budgetary/appropriation articles only. The only exceptions to this is if the Council chose to place an ordinance/measure of any form on the Warrant or if a Citizenís Initiative/Referendum (Article 10 of the Charter) was moved to the Warrant due to the Council not wanting to act on those.
2.) With this said, this year's Warrant had 22 articles on it. With the proposed Charter in place, the Warrant would have been only 14 (1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 22). Articles 6 has wording dictated by RSA. This is the Charter Article. Article 22 seeks to close a Capital Reserve Account and only the Voters can establish or remove a Capital Reserve Account. Remember I am a layman, not a lawyer, but I believe the list above is accurate and reflects my intent as a single Commissioner.
3.) The reduced Warrant would have meant a quicker Deliberative Session and would ensure a small ballot for quicker Voting in April and provides clearer Articles for voting since most ask you to spend money or not spend money.
So, the proposed Charter does not change the point I believe you were making. It would allow for a group at the Deliberative Session to change the budget as was done this year.
The Charter Commission had to act and propose a Charter that is allowed by the State RSAs. The RSAs limited us to the following choices for a Town:
1.) Leave the Deliberative Session alone and have it handle all articles (22 this year).
2.) Have a Deliberative Session for budgetary items only. As the Charter proposes.
3.) Have the Council be the Legislative body and Governing body. This means no more Town Meeting in any form. They make all the decisions, like you see in a City government.
4.) Have an old style Town Meeting like the Town had before 1997.
5.) Have a "Representative Town Meeting" where the Voters elect "representatives" to represent them at a Town Meeting. These "representatives" are elected and usually number in the hundreds in Towns that use this form. Note: No NH Towns do this, but it is done in Mass. You could equate this form to elected House Representatives who then decide for you.
There may be another twist or two on those above.
State RSA's DID NOT ALLOW the Commission to keep the All-Day vote on the Warrant/Ballot BUT NOT have the Deliberative Session.
If this is something the Voters want, YOU need to ask Concord through our elected State Representatives and State Senator to change the RSA's. If they do this, a Charter can be revised to use this form of Voting.
The Charter is a step in the right direction. It limits the articles that can be presented. It does not allow the "advisory" articles. And, as time moves forward, we can amend the Charter to meet the needs of the Town and not be held totally hostage to Concord if "we" believe an adjustment is needed.