Town Charter Review Committee makes progress

Sept. 10, 2020 | Dennis Hackett

EAST LONGMEADOW – Four years into the establishment of the current town charter, the East Longmeadow Charter Review Committee is reviewing the charter for the first time before submitting its recommendations to the town council in March.

Larry Levine, an attorney and chair of the Charter Review Committee, said that this current review is mandated by the town charter.

“The charter requires that every year that ends with a zero, the town council would appoint a charter review committee to look at the charter and make any recommendations to the council for any changes,” he said.

In order to review the entire charter, he said the commission is going paragraph by paragraph going over every detail to look for any adjustments that need to be made.

“It’s a long process, we literally go article by article, section by section, paragraph by paragraph. We start off and read each paragraph and then the committee as a whole discusses wording within that paragraph. Then everyone gives their input, then after discussion the committee votes on any changes,” he said.

So far, the only recommendations for adjustments include technical and grammatical changes.

“There are some issues that we decided to wait on final decisions until we get input of certain town officials that we may ask to participate in a meeting or two, but there are no major changes so far,” Levine said.

He said that he originally served on the Charter Commission when the document was originally adopted in 2016.

“We’ve had four years to look at things we didn’t foresee when it was written, there are things that I am seeing now and I’m asking why we put that in there and why did we not foresee technical wording for things that were habits,” he said.

Levine added that he is hoping the commission can make its March deadline but does not want to rush the process.

“We have to be finished by March and I’m hoping we could meet that deadline. After the last couple meetings, I would say we may need more time, but I think it’s important that we do it correctly,” he said.

While residents can submit their feedback to the committee, Levine said they will not be reviewing suggestions until they finish their own review process.

“We have received written comments from different citizens, which the committee decided we would hold those suggestions until we are through reviewing the entire charter,” he said.

Residents interested in following along with the Town Charter review process can into the meetings each Tuesday via Zoom or the ELCAT broadcast.

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