Everett Residents to Vote on Future of Unique Form of Government
By Keith Spencer
There is a lot at stake in this year’s local election in Everett. While the mayoral race will certainly shape the city in the coming two years, the long-term future of Everett’s government has taken center stage.
After a two-year review process, residents will now decide whether or not to continue with the only bicameral form of local government in the Commonwealth.
Residents must decide to accept all or none of the proposed changes, which includes the elimination of the city’s unique bicameral city council for a single-branch, 11-member council. The new city council would consist of 6 ward councilors and 5 at-large councilors, serving two-year terms.
Currently, the Everett City Council is a bicameral legislature, composed of a seven-member Board of Aldermen and an eighteen-member Common Council
The new charter would also adopt a four-year term for mayor “in order to maximize efficiency and effectiveness for the entire city administration”. An additional provision also establishes a recall process for elected officials, and requires any elected official convicted of a felony to be immediately removed from office.
The new charter also calls for periodic reviews of the new charter and a re-codification of the city’s ordinances.
Supporters of the proposed changes believe the existing form of government is too cumbersome for a 21st century municipality of Everett’s size and demographics.
Backers of Everett’s current structure believe legislation is only enacted after a thorough review, and allows for more residents to participate and foster the city’s future.
If adopted, changes would begin taking effect by the primary election in September of 2013.
Everett’s charter is 119-years old. While other municipalities have seen this form of government come and go, Everett has remained the only municipality in the nation with a bicameral form of local government.