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Charter should go to voters

Feb. 7, 2013 |

Chicopee Mayor Bissonnette is on another charter revision charge, but not through an elected charter commission. He again seeks Home Rule changes based on his interpretation of the charter and needed changes. His charter perception may not always be correct. For example, Chicopee has no recall provision other than an election every two years. A four-year term without recall provisions makes little sense. And his other charter perceptions are questionable. He recently stated no councilor is entitled to pay under the charter. According to the city's web site, the charter states: "All salaries of city officers or heads of departments shall… be established by ordinance by the City Council… (Article VIII, paragraph 60)." The mayor also stated that the council does not have the authority of appointment. Article III, paragraph 16 and Article VIII, paragraph 53 specifically delegate such power to the council. But if the majority of the council believes charter revision is necessary, they should favor an elected Charter Commission to accurately and thoroughly review the charter and ignore the personal druthers of the mayor that seem to influence his charter interpretation. Otherwise, Chicopee voters' druthers may be to change the mayor and some council members this election year and not the charter. Jim Raschilla Chicopee

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