(Mike Coughlin provided Tinytown Unleashed with a copy of the letter he sent to Rep. Sara Peake, who is chair of the Committee on Municipalities & Regional Government. This Tuesday, July 23rd at 10 a.m., Peake and her comittee will hear testimony on why or why not the act shold be amended. Cohasset’s First Town Manager’s Act was brought forth by a citizen’s petition to a town meeting with very low turn out. Neither the original nor the amdended act being herad toorrow have ever seen the likes of a town-wide ballot. Coughlin makes a strong argument for a Charter, and for a town-wide ballot vote.)
Dear Chairperson Peake:
I am aware that I sent you multiple submissions but I hope you share my view that changing a constitution even for a small town is something that is not done on a whim or when the political winds change direction.
I attach information for the committee from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue who strongly advised the Town of Cohasset to seek change via charter in their report issued in February of this year.
Change by charter under Chapter 43B as opposed by special legislation such as H 3486 would resolve any number of issues which others and I have with H 3486. First under charter provisions of the proposed act would have to be reviewed by the Attorney General before the legislature would act on the bill. This provides the General Court with a safeguard that it passes a bill in compliance with Massachusetts Law.
Secondly, the proposed act would be submitted to town wide ballot vote. This would settle whether the proposed act truly is the voice of the community.
Even if alternative procedures were used under Section 10, a vote of town meeting would have to be 2/3.
It is the cornerstone of American constitutional government that changing a governing document should not be an easy task.
As you aware, John Adams and Samuel Adams who drafted the Massachusetts Constitution- the model for our nation’s- required be achieved only through a very long and difficult process. Likewise our nation’s constitution requires amendment a 2/3 concurrence of the 50 states.
The point is that our forefathers if not our foremothers wanted to protect the rights of all people including those with another view point. There lies the opposition to H 3486 in Cohasset.
Michael J Coughlin Jr.