Wrentham Charter Update, 1 October 2014
On November 4, 2014, Massachusetts will conduct its General Election. Within that election, Wrentham will conduct a Special Election where voters will have the opportunity to cast their ballot to adopt or reject a town charter for Wrentham.
Bringing a town charter to a ballot question for Wrentham has been more than a two year effort. In the spring of 2012 the Wrentham Board of Selectmen (BOS) formed a Town Government Study Committee (TGSC) and gave them the charge to “evaluate the effectiveness of the town’s organizational structure, management systems and processes”.
From May 2012 to May 2013 the TGCS met with numerous state agencies and every board, committee and department in Wrentham to analyze and assess the town’s management systems and processes. In July 2013, the TGSC reported back to the BOS and recommended that the key tool to overall improvement would be to develop and enact a town charter. The BOS accepted the recommendation.
Adoption of a town charter is a three step process. First, town meeting must vote affirmatively to send a proposed charter to the General Court to be passed as a Special Act. At the Special Town Meeting on November 12, 2013, Wrentham Town Meeting affirmed this by a vote of 90-21. Secondly, the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives must vote to enact the charter. They did this in May 2014 and the Governor signed it into law on May 23, 2014. The third and final action is for Wrentham voters to accept or reject the approved Special Act at the ballot box on November 4.
The purpose of the proposed town charter is to articulate the organization, responsibilities and authorities of town government in a single comprehensive governing document. The charter modernizes the general structure of Wrentham’s town government to handle the increasing governmental complexity, and to more professionally serve the municipal requirements of the town. The charter in effect acts as constitution for the town. Over 130 cities and towns in Massachusetts have already enacted a Charter. One of the primary reasons towns have enacted a Charter is to move to a more professional administration of local government. Wrentham currently operates without a charter.
Copies of the proposed town charter can be found outside of the BOS on the second floor of Town Hall, in the lobby of the Fiske Public Library on Randall Road, and at the Senior Center on Taunton Street. Copies can also be found on the Town’s web site at http://wrentham.ma.us/. Click on “Click here for Final Signed Charter” on the yellow scroll bar at the top of the page.
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