Pittsfield to Begin Charter Review

Sep 17, 2012

A special committee has been selected to review Pittsfield’s city charter, and the process of updating the document will begin later this week. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

Pittsfield’s city charter has remained nearly unchanged since 1932, and now, 80 years later,  city officials say that the antiquated governing document requires some modern updates. Pittsfield mayor Dan Bianchi proposed an update in April of this year, 3 months after he took office.

Currently, Pittsfield elects a mayor every 2 years, and has an 11-member city council. The mayor had indicated that he’d like the charter review committee to also look at the governing structure of the city and determine if things can be done more effectively or efficiently.

The review committee will comprised of seven members, which includes two former city councilors, and those with legal, judicial, and educational experience.

Pete Marchetti, who previously served on the city council is on the review committee. He said that the group is willing and capable to meet its goals within the next year.

The committee will also work with a hired consultant. Marchetti outlined what Thursday’s meeting of the Pittsfield Charter Review Study Committee will hope to look at.

And fellow committee member William Barry is also pleased with the makeup of the Pittsfield Charter Review Study Committee.

Saratoga Springs, NY is also in the process of reviewing its city charter. This November, city residents will vote on a Citizen charter that has been in the works since 2009.  The group Saratoga Citizen is a grassroots organization that is seeking to replace the current commission-style governing system with a council-manager form. A vote by the City Council tomorrow evening will determine the language for the ballot.

Meanwhile, Scott Johnson, current mayor of Saratoga, has said that will form a new commission to study a charter change. Johnson has previously spoken in favor of Saratoga’s existing commission government.