On the so-called "IQM2 Citizen's Calendar" there is a posting for a meeting tonight about this important issue.
ORGANIZATION: Charter Review Committee
MEETING DATE: 4/19/17 TIME: 7:30 PM
MEETING LOCATION: Cassidy Conference Room, 2nd Floor City Hall
562 Main St., Melrose
REQUESTED BY: Mike Zwirko, firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Call to Order
2. Public Participation
4. Review of Charter Mark-Up
5. Next Steps
Naturally, being Melrose, that's all there is online. There are no minutes of previous meetings. There is no listing anywhere (try Google, nada) of even who the members of the committee are (who are they??? how many gave to Dolan's various campaigns?), other than Zwirko. Typical sloppy work here, presuming that none of us care.
Newsflash to "Charter Review Committee": Citizens do care! Many of us took great interest in the excellent piece in both the Melrose Free Press and Weekly News by former School Committee Member Ms. Kourkoumelis, whose points resonate clearly and sensibly. There should be a widespread community discussion about this, since it affects everything about how our city has been and will be managed.
How come there was such a big splash by the mayor et al., including a Mem Hall event, about the so-called "Master Plan" but nothing per se about this Charter Review process, which actually is much more critical and defining?
Is it because this "Master Plan" process is being driven by the mayor and his cronies (realtors, etc.), hence the officiousness and hype, and that this charter review is supposed to be just a pro-forma just-for-show process? Well, that's how it seems, and that is wrong.
This meeting tonight doesn't seem like it's going to be a defining moment, but it's unclear from what's posted when or if other meetings are supposed to be happening, let alone what has already transpired. Mrs. K did the work, as usual, to open the door for actual dialogue. Now it's time for the rest of us to step up! 7:30 tonight, City Hall, Conference Room, 2nd Floor!
Kourkoumelis: Charter changes must alter mayor, SC chair roles
Posted Apr 3, 2017 at 10:55 AM By Carrie Kourkoumelis / For the Free Press
Editor’s note: The following statement was made by Carrie Kourkoumelis at the March 29 Melrose city charter meeting, and was directed at attorney David Lucas and the Melrose City Charter Revision Committee:
There are several key components of the Melrose City Charter that need to be changed if Melrose is to confront some of its most confounding problems.
1. First, the provision regarding qualifications of a winning mayoral candidate to give up any interest in any other professional commitments must be addressed if the city hopes to correct the obstruction that stands in the way for qualified candidates to run for this key position. The need to place the mayoral tasks as first priority is obvious, but this should not require professionals to give up a law or accounting practice, for example. This obstruction in the current charter has left Melrose with uncontested mayoral races for many years, something that is never healthy for any community.
2. The next change that should be made is for the placement of a Recall of Elected Officials provision for voters. This is a standard feature elsewhere and should be in Melrose as well. While it is hoped that this is never need for such a provision, this recourse should be present for the protection of the community.
3. Third, the mayor should be removed as a voting member of the School Committee. Regardless of who holds the office of mayor, the inclusion of the mayor on this body creates an imbalance of power. Even prior to this inclusion in the last charter change, the mayor had an inordinate amount of influence over hiring and budget decisions. Having the mayor on the School Committee has not worked well, despite the good intention of bringing the executive voice more directly into the school decisions; in effect the executive voice became the controlling voice. This must be changed in order to see a return to appropriate checks and balances among the three branches of Melrose governance.
As it stands now, even the legal representation of the School Committee has now lost any independence and instead is under the direction of the mayor’s political appointee, the city solicitor. While this may appear superficially to be a sensible cost-saving measure, in fact it is anything but. The significant findings of repeated violations of federal and state laws, with the OCR complaints as a key example, have revealed the chronic failures of executive branch control over the school district legal issues under the current structure. The School Committee needs independence from the executive branch in order to assert more appropriate oversight.
4. Along the same lines, the additional powers granted to the School Committee chair in our charter should be rescinded to those of the state law which afford only the statutory basics of organizing the agenda and running the meetings. Imbuing the School Committee chair with additional powers, such as choosing committee leadership, has led to chronic abuses and harms, further compounded by the Norms approved by the committee and city solicitor last year. In order for the School Committee to perform its appropriate oversight role, information needs to circulate freely to and from each duly elected member, not censored or controlled by the chair, mayor, city solicitor, or superintendent. There have been countless examples in the last few years of key information that the committee as a whole never saw, including the contents of the proposed teacher’s contracts (representing the largest portion of the city budget) prior to a legally required vote, or the details of legal settlements that reference the Committee by name, and yet were or are completely unknown to most of the members though their collective name was signed to the agreements.
The chair’s dictatorial control over the flow of information flies in the face of informed oversight by each duly elected member; the voters did not vote to place one member above all the others, and yet the current Charter has set the stage for this to occur. Centralizing authority towards a unitary executive, whether it is the mayor and/or the school committee chair has already caused great harm and runs counter to the notion of a democratic representational process.
The necessity of restoring checks and balances into the City Charter, with a meaningful firewall between branches of local governance, is key to correcting some of the imbalances in power the community has witnessed. By having appropriate checks and balances all processes become stronger and carry greater credibility with the voting public. This would not negate having close cooperation and collaboration among the branches, but in fact strengthens all processes.
5. Finally, correction of embarrassing spelling and grammar errors must happen. Whatever process that did not include a final check of these basics needs to be corrected this time around. Melrose citizens deserve a foundational document that is professional in its presentation and represents the best interests of the city in all regards.
Carrie Kourkoumelis, of Cargill Street, is a former member of the Melrose School Committee.
According to Zillow,my home value has increased by 24% over the last 24 months. Everyone please STFU and don't change a d#mn thing!
to "No thanks": If you are a parent, shame on you. Your brazenly disrespectful words and tone indicate exactly how low your baseline values are. If you have managed to reproduce, no doubt you are raising bullies like yourself. You do not make Melrose a better, more civilized community, but quite the contrary. Perhaps you are a Trump voter, or another of the fake Dems of Dolan's nasty Machine. Either way, your words indicate someone who is not thoughtful, not polite, and not someone interested in respectful dialogue, which is exactly what this city has descended to under this bullying mayor who openly calls anyone who disagrees with him a "hater".
OK, let me add to my earlier statement. I think everyone should STFU and let our home values continue to rise AND ALSO let the graduates of MHS continue to go to excellent colleges and universities. Is that better? We don't need a bunch of bleeding heart liberals inserting themselves into our city's government and screwing up what has been a fabulous run for this city.
Well what MHS graduates have to do with this only points to the ever-nasty Vuvu/ClownPatrol as the deranged poster (now posting as "No thanks") who can only spew a broken-record litany of small-minded, circular non-arguments centered around how great Melrose/MHS is/are, and that anyone who challenges her fake facts must be a hater, the purest Dolanesque variety of rubbish. Nothing to see here, folks, just the same rubbish spin that has been defecated many times on this message board already.
MZ is the Charter Chair. Say no more. Wife's job in Planning Office buys his silence and ensures he will be the Mayor's puppet. The Zwirko's have no kids so he is a kiss ass supporter of the schools and school committe. Hope he loses his BOA seat this year.
family situation prevented attendance
Did anyone go? What happened? Didn't see any articles printed or online. Anything anyone?