By Marya Dantzer
The Planning Board at its November 19 meeting recommended that Amy Lloyd serve as its representative to the nine-member committee that will review the Town Charter in coming months. The committee will be comprised of Town Manager Rick Reed, Town Moderator Betsey Anderson; representatives from three boards—Selectmen, School Committee, and Planning Board; and five citizens-at-large. The Selectmen will hold interviews to appoint the citizens-at-large.
Review of the Charter is a routine process, conducted approximately every five years. Any amendments proposed are subject to a two-step process: a vote at Town Meeting, and a vote at the next Town election thereafter. At the Review Committee’s discretion, its recommendations are expected to be heard at either the 2014 Annual Town meeting in March, or at a Special Town meeting next November.
In a phone conversation following the meeting, Town Manager Rick Reed explained that the Charter is a foundational document. He compared the 10 articles of the Charter to a Constitution. “They concern the working of town government.. . .They set up the form of government and the structure of government. They are not as long as the By-Laws, which are much more technical [and] are the provisions that govern process. The Charter is more the framework.” For example, the Charter specifies the composition and term of town board and committee membership, and whether these positions shall be elected or appointed. Both the Charter and the By-Laws are available at Town Hall and at https://www.bedfordma.gov/sites/bedfordma/files/file/file/charter_and_general_bylaws_for_website_edited.pdf.
At the November 19 meeting, Planning Board Chair Jeffrey Cohen opened the issue by seeking volunteers for the liaison role. Asked to clarify the time commitment required, Planning Director Glenn Garber explained that the Charter would not necessarily receive a major overhaul. “Some of this is driven by the fact that the Charter says we have to do this review,” rather than by felt needs for reform. He also pointed out that the review committee would not necessarily be tasked with implementation of any Charter changes it proposed.
Lloyd, the most recently elected member of the Planning Board, then stepped forward, saying “my assumption is that you three [Board members Cohen, Sandra Hackman, and Lisa Mustapich] do huge amounts” of liaison and subcommittee work under the Planning Board’s purview, and welcomed the opportunity to contribute in this way.
Mustapich endorsed Lloyd as the Planning Board’s representative to the Charter Review Committee, saying “Amy would be perfect at this,” alluding to Lloyd’s background in construction and planning work, business analysis skills, and her interest in regional economic and transportation planning.
Residents who are interested in serving on the Charter Review Committee in an at-large capacity should submit a Volunteer Questionnaire to the Town Manager’s Office. The questionnaire is available at that office, or at https://www.bedfordma.gov/sites/bedfordma/files/file/file/questionnaire_for_volunteers-rev.pdf
For the Citizen’s prior coverage of the Review Committee formation, see https://www.thebedfordcitizen.org/2013/10/24/charter-review-committee-will-be-formed/