WHAT IS A CHARTER?
A Charter is a written document which sets out the
form of the Government; the Officers to be elected;
their powers, duties and responsibilities and their
relationship, one to another. It will also set out
certain essential procedures, such as budget making
and administrative standards.
When a new resident moves to town the Charter will
inform the reader of the way in which the government
of our town functions.
Adoption of a Charter is the essential step to secure
all the BENEFITS OF MUNICIPAL HOME-RULE.
We won't have to run to the State to manage our own
Why we need a Charter for the Town of Mashpee by Ed Larkin
*Once again let me try to illustrate for all citizens
of Mashpee the reason for the importance of adopting a
Charter. Right now we have a hodge podge of General
State Laws; State Acceptance Statues which are
optional and Special Acts passed specifically for
Mashpee under which our town operates.
At this time there is no place where all these
documents are assembled in a meaningful way.
How can home rule help increase Mashpee’s local government autonomy and improve effectiveness?
Currently in order to accomplish a local objective it is necessary for the Town of Mashpee to go to the state government and seek changes in state law. With a home rule charter Mashpee would not need that grant of power from the state to carry out local objectives. We would be able to act without the specific legislative authorization and limitation of state powers to enact laws that fall within the home-rule grant. The town would therefore be able to exercise powers that are not prohibited by either the U.S. or Commonwealth of Massachusetts Constitution.
THE ROLE OF THE MASHPEE CHARTER COMMISSION
The mission of the Mashpee Charter Commission is to examine our present form of government and draft a charter (constitution) for the town which will outline for citizens our structure of government. The charter will specify which town positions will be elected or appointed and the appointing authority. The charter will also delineate the authority and responsibilities of various positions and offices, and set forth the method of citizen oversight. It will also allow residents to better understand and hopefully become more active in town affairs.
The commissioners will meet with elected and appointed town officials, as well as the general public to assess the town’s current governmental structure and to determine if changes are necessary. The final recommendation of the Charter Commission must be adopted by a majority of voters at a regular town election. After passage, the charter is easily amended by town meeting vote and subsequent voter approval.
Note: After the Charter has been adopted a By-Law Review Committee will be formed.