From the Ballot Box: Spring 2018 New England Elections

Residents in three New England communities voted on adopting, retaining, or rejecting various forms of manager government.

ARTICLE | Apr 11, 2018

Victory for C-M Government in Amherst

In a historic change to the town charter, residents in Amherst, Massachusetts (pop. 38,000), voted by a 58-to-41-percent margin on March 27 to adopt the town council-manager government, as recommended by the Amherst Charter Commission. As a result of that vote, a 13-member town council will replace the current representative town meeting and five-member select board.

In partnership with the Massachusetts Municipal Management Association, ICMA played a key role in this victory, providing editorial support in the form of a letter to the Amherst Charter Commission (co-signed by ICMA Executive Director Marc Ott and former Northeast Regional Vice President Tom Fountaine, State College, Pennsylvania) in support of town council-manager government. ICMA also provided a contribution from ICMA’s Future of the Profession Fund to underwrite the legal review of the proposed charter.

Bennington, Vermont, Holds the Line on Town Manager Form

On March 6, voters in Bennington, Vermont (pop. 15,764), once again rejected a proposal to abandon the select board-manager form of government and adopt a mayor-council form. The proposal, which was the third attempt to change the form in 20 years and which the entire Bennington Board of Selectmen opposed, failed by a margin of 1,483 to 954. If approved, the proposal would have abolished the position of town manager in Bennington and established the position of mayor, while giving the latter authority to override the decisions of the select board on his own motion.

Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, Rejects Town Charter

During a special town meeting on March 27, voters in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts (pop. 11,300), rejected a proposal to adopt a town charter. The proposal would have converted the town administrator position to a town manager, established a town Department of Public Works, converted the last remaining full-time elected position of town clerk to an appointed position, and converted several elected boards and all paid positions to appointed status.


Need Form-of-Government Assistance?

ICMA provides statistics, general information, and other support to individuals and organizations interested in promoting or retaining professional local government management and the council-manager form. Contact Michele Frisby, director of public information, at mfrisby@icma.org or 202-962-3658.

 

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