November Ballot Will Feature Charter Commission Question
Voters can decide if Springfield needs a change in government.
In November, Springfield voters will decide whether the township needs a new form of government.
At the June 12 Springfield Township Committee meeting, officials passed an ordinance asking voters whether they want to a charter commission to study the Springfield’s government. The question will be on the Nov. 6 general election ballot. Thursday, Sep. 6 is the deadline for petitions for who would be a member of the Charter Commission. According to the ordinance, a copy of which is attached to this article, the charter commission would be composed of five members who would study Springfield’s form of government and make recommendations on the government’s future following a nine-month study. The commission would recommend one of four types of government approved by the 1923 Faulkner Act: a Mayor-Council form, a Council-Manager plan, a Small Municipality plan and a Mayor-Council-Administrator plan.
Springfield has twice had groups look critically at its form of government. In 1958, a charter commission similar to the one currently under discussion inspected the form of government and made recommendations. Springfield Government Study Committee pored over government organization and processes in 1996.Currently, Springfield operates under a committee form of government. The majority party chooses the mayor, who is meant to act as chair of the committee and lead meetings, each year. Springfield Mayor Ziad Shehady has been instrumental in seeking a Charter Commission.
During discussion on the ordinance when it was originally introduced in May, Committee member David Amlen noted that important conclusions of the two studies had already been enacted, notably in the role of the township administrator.
Springfield Mayor Ziad Shehady, who has spearheaded the proposed Charter Commission, said that there was not a plan in place, and that the Commission would flesh out changes.