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Springfield Democrats Urge Residents to Vote No on Charter Commission Ballot Question

While they ask for a no vote, they recommend candidates.

By now you have received your sample ballot in the mail for this year’s election. Please take a careful look at it, as one section may be confusing. Public question #3 asks whether the Town wants to elect a “Charter Commission.” You will also notice that no interpretive statement has been included. We’d like to shed some light on this important question and its ramifications.

Earlier this year the Republican majority on the Township Committee passed by a 3 to 2 vote an ordinance that placed this question on the ballot. A Charter Commission is a group of five elected people whose job it will be to study our current form of government and, within state law, recommend changes to our form of government. This commission can recommend anything from not changing a thing to completely reorganizing our government. Any changes recommended by the commission would be put to a general vote on next November’s ballot.

Based on the public comments from our current Mayor, his goal for this commission is to change our form of government to a directly elected mayor. Presumably, to give him the chance to have a full-time job with commensurate salary, benefits and executive powers. This act is yet another attempt to consolidate power with a small group of individuals rather than allowing the broad resident participation Springfield has had since 1794.

It is our position that a change is neither necessary nor even desirable and that the appropriate vote on the question is NO. A study of this sort is complex, time consuming and expensive. It requires the hiring of legal counsel, consultants and will create a burden on township employees. In fact, Springfield has done a study of this kind in the 1950’s and then again in 1997. Both times, the commission DID NOT recommend a change to our governmental form. Additionally, based on the cost of those prior studies, we estimate the task this year will cost the town in excess of $60,000.

Finally, a change to a directly appointed, salaried mayor would be a permanent ongoing added expense to the township, not to mention the cost of implementing such a change. Neighboring towns, which have gone down this road, now regret making the switch as it has lead to a more contentious local government where the mayor is constantly battling councilmen. We feel the push for this option is coming from selfish political ambition, arrogance, and over-reach. It has absolutely nothing to do with a true concern for the well-being of the Township of Springfield. It is a waste of time and a waste of money.

We urge you to vote NO on question #3, however either way you should vote for the candidates along the bottom row of the ballot. When voting for these Charter Study Commissioners we recommend and endorse:

  •             Denise Devone
  •             Hugh Keffer
  •             Mark Cunningham
  •             David Mitchell

We are confident that they are coming into the process without any allegiance to the Mayor and will help ensure that any decision made by the Commission, should the public question pass, will be in the best interests of Springfield and not to further the Mayor's political goals.

Springfield Neighbor November 05, 2012 at 08:55 PM
As a registered Democrat I was extremely disappointed with these 2 candidates (B & B) at the recent debate. They had nothing to offer. It appears their whole campaign is based on negative attacks on the current office holders. After reading Mr. Amlin's post (today in the PATCH) it just confirms my opinion of the sad state of choices the Dems are offering (in office and out). I think the Mayor was much more pro active and has a better handling of the recovery then Mr. Keffer ever did (just one year prior). Shame on the Democratic party and Mr. Amlin for his negative post. I saw Mr Fernandez and the Mayor, before, during and after the storm showing support, making decisions and implementing plans to help Springfield get back on track. My hat off to them, our Police Dept, The First Aid Squad and Fire Dept. As well as the Auxiliary PD and all other volunteers who helped and continue to help get Springfield through this event.
Geri Ann Bujnowski November 05, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Why do the democrats fear choice? Do they think we are too stupid to make up our own minds? Apparently they do. By the way, in this issue I have no Allegiance to anyone except the people in this town.
Steve Wolcott November 05, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Margaret & Dan - I have received all of your glossy campaign flyers and all of your emails. However, everything I have received from you speaks more about Mr. Shehady than of yourselves. For some strange reason, you have spent an exorbitant amount of time painting Mr. Shehady as the equivalent of Dr. Evil. The funny thing is, the last time I looked, Mr. Shehady wasn’t even running for office. You are both nice, smart people, but somewhere along the way you got lost in a fantasy and became fixated on Mr. Shehady. I wish you would have spent more time telling me what YOU would do if elected, instead of telling me why I should fear the "nasty" Mayor. Tomorrow is election day and I wish you both the best. I will be placing my vote with Mr. Fernandez and Mr. Krauss because they have told me what they have done for Springfield and what they intend to do to make Springfield a better place. And, most importantly, they have taken responsibility for every one of their actions and have not spent their time criticizing others. The negative campaigns in Springfield are beginning to resemble those at the national level. We are too small of a town for this nonsense. We need to build a strong community, not one that is full of nastiness and bitterness. But the only way for this to stop is for the candidates make the effort to focus on the needs of our town instead of running a nasty campaign.
Anonymous89 November 06, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Congratulations on writing an article that provides the residents of Springfield with the history and background on Question 3 including the reality that supporting a full-time mayor will increase our taxes . . . again. As I commented on October 8, 2012, our politicians are in politics not to serve the people of Springfield but, for their own personal gain and egos. Our town should be no one's private practice, sole proprietership, etc. Moving toward a mayoralship will not serve the residents of Springfield but only those who have the need to promote their own quest for power and political gain.
a November 08, 2012 at 05:07 PM
not only do i agree with you i also know ziad is up to no good this whole thing was his baby and h e has people on the study who will do what he tells them to. WE DONT NEED A FULL TIME MAYOR IN SPRINGFIELD PERIOD and even if we did we certainly dont need a professional politician who doesnt look out for the citizens of springfield.

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