Charter Review 2021

This morning, I proudly testified before the State's Joint Committee on Election Laws in full support of Medford's Home Rule Petition to create a local Charter Commission. You can read the full text of my testimony below. If you would like to sign on in support of our Home Rule Petition, you can visit the following link to add your name to a petition we will send as part of the formal record later this week.

Text of my testimony:

Thank you for the opportunity to speak today in favor of the City of Medford’s Home Rule Petition for local Charter review.
I want to quickly thank Representatives Donato, Barber, and Garballey, and Senator Jehlen for sponsoring this Bill and advancing our request in the best interests of our community. I would like to also thank the Medford City Council for approving this Home Rule and advancing this cause to the State House.

As you know, a community’s Charter is critical to its overall governing practices, defining how Chief Executives, councils, elected and appointed boards and commissions, and municipal staff provide the best possible services in the best interests of our constituents in a representative, fair, and equitable way.

The City of Medford’s Charter has not undergone significant or meaningful review in over four decades. As a result, our Charter is not reflective of the needs of a 21st century community and falls far short of meeting the needs of any modern community, let alone a diverse community of 60,000 residents within a major metropolitan region.

The City of Medford has made great strides in advancing our core goals and strategies. This year we launched a Comprehensive Planning process that will guide our community’s development and progress for the next 10 years and beyond. We created a comprehensive 6-year Capital Improvement Plan that includes major proposed investments in infrastructure, development, and in daily service delivery. It is critical that we also have a City Charter that establishes policies for a modern government that will support these long-term plans and the overall forward movement of a 21st century city.

If you were to review our City Charter today, you would find a brief, four page document that was adopted in 1986 and mirrors the state statute for a Plan-A form of city government, and that does not adequately plan for nor explain critical functions of city government. It is time for the City to undertake this important process of designing a system of local government that works for everyone, not just a few.

For all of these reasons, and many more, I ask that this Committee fully support the City of Medford’s Home Rule Petition so that we may begin a full, transparent community process to update our City’s Charter to meet the needs of our forward-thinking, 21st century city.

Thank you again for your consideration and for the opportunity to speak today.