[From 5/3/17 Newton Tab]
While I thank the members of the Charter Commission for all their hard work, I am very disappointed in their decision to eliminate the position of “ward councilor” as part of the new composition of the city council. I lived in Ward 6 for 20 years, and I have lived now in Ward 5 for another 20 years. I have always viewed my ward alderman as my “go to” person for any city related issues. They have provided me with their quick, focused, thoughtful and persistent attention on any issue until it was addressed and/or resolved.
The first concern for the councilor who is elected by the ward is to attend to the unique issues and needs of the residents of that ward. I praise and value our diversity, but we are a big city. Without the ward designation, if all representatives are elected by the city at large, we will lose that special and well-informed attention. I don’t believe it would be sufficiently helpful to have one councilor residing in each ward but elected by the full city electorate.
I prefer to see a reduction in the size of the board to 16 members with eight ward councilors and eight members-at-large, one from each ward. I feel so strongly about preserving the ward councilor position that I will oppose the charter revision as now drafted when it comes to a vote in November, despite the other valuable provisions included in the proposed new charter.
Rebecca Cohan, Beacon Street, Waban