EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 6, 2013

Zanni wants smaller City Council

(Continued)

The commission then has two years to put together a written report detailing their proposed changes to the charter. The report is then presented to voters as a ballot question at the next municipal election.

Residents are required to vote “Yes” or “No” on the report in its entirety.

Between 2009 and 2011, the last Charter Commission held more than two dozen meetings and three public hearings.

“It’s a long, drawn-out process,” said Joe Pappalardo, who chaired the commission.

Both Pappalardo and former Charter Commission member Jack Cronin said it is unclear whether Zanni’s proposals could be enacted through a home rule petition, which only requires approval of the City Council and state Legislature.

“I would think it’d have to be brought before the voters in the community (via ballot question), because it would be a major change to the charter,” said Pappalardo. “If he wanted to propose that, I would hope he’d put it before the voters.”

City Council Chairman Sean Fountain agreed.

“If there’s major changes to the charter, that should be up to the community — not the mayor,” said Fountain. “There’s a lot of people who have put a lot of time into this charter over the years. I think it would be a disservice to the people who have worked on the charter for years to have one person implement changes.”

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