By Max Bowen
With the election well passed, the Town Council has been considering what role the Charter Transition Committee will have in the future.
Following the council’s election and formation, a vote was made to extend the CTC in case further advice or information was needed. At last Monday’s meeting, the councilors took up the matter again to further clarify the committee’s role and if it should be dissolved.
The five-member committee was formed following the passage of the new Town Charter last April. It is charged with working alongside town government to determine the new role and authority of the different boards and departments. Since its formation, the committee has dealt with 14 issues. Among these issues is the appearance of boards before the Town Council, councilor interaction with department heads, and resident participation.
Councilor Justin Pare felt that the committee had done its job, but being further involved in town business could prove problematic—in his words, a case of “too many cooks in the kitchen.” Recently, committee members had given their input on the Finance Subcommittee bylaw, which Pare said had already been vetted by the Town Attorney.
“I’m worried about other groups overstepping their bounds,” he said at the Oct. 28 meeting.
Committee member Deborah Kohl said the CTC is meant to be a resource, to ensure that with this new form of government, everyone was acting within the limits of the charter. She said that any advice given was just that, and didn’t need to be followed. She joked that the committee hopes to “go out of business as soon as possible.”
Councilor John Simmons said that advice from the CTC can be very valuable, since charter issues aren’t always being thought of when making decisions.
“Nothing stops anyone from walking up to us and giving advice,” he said. “I’ve never had an issue with a citizen walking up and giving me advice. I ask for it.”
Pare maintained that having another group—one not elected—in the same lanes as another was troubling, and that the role needed to be clearly defined. Committee member Christopher Sweet suggested that CTC take some time to discuss the matter, which the council fully supported.