Shocking news at the charter commission meeting last night. It turns out they are not a real charter commission due to a technicality.
The bad news was brought to the commission's attention by the State a few weeks ago, but they were waiting for guidance from the city solicitor before admitting defeat.
The problem stemmed from the wording on the ballot, and a misunderstanding about the need for collecting signatures.
Currently, the charter commission may continue as an advisory to the city council, but they aren't thrilled about that idea. There was a lot of frustration among commissioners over how this went so wrong. Several did not want to continue if they have no power. Not being a real charter commission also raised questions about spending the money appropriated by the city council for their work.
The city solicitor felt the ballot issue wasn't a fatal mistake. She said one way they can validate the ballot is with special legislation from Boston.
More than one person mentioned the Crush group as a possible resource to help get signatures to put the charter review on the ballot again.
A motion was made to immediately disband the commission, but that motion eventually failed. So it looks like they will continue for at least a few more weeks to get more answers from the city solicitor in the hope of finding a way forward.
After the meeting Carl Eager told me, "I think we were all blindsided by this".
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