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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

White, Gewirtz Seek Rules Changes

This week's Board of Aldermen agenda features a few change requests to the rules of the Board by both Alderman at Large/President Bill White and Ward 6 Alderman Rebekah Gewirtz.

On the heels of Ward 1 Alderman Bill Roche's resignation and the appointment of Maureen Cuff-Bastardi, Gewirtz is asking the Board to consider a rules change to make the replacement of members of the Board of Aldermen subject to a time limited community review process when a vacancy occurs mid-term, aiming to increase public involvement in the selection process. The good Alderwoman from Ward 6 was on a trip to Israel at the time of Bill's resignation and was not able to vote on Maureen's appointment. Gewirtz has long been a proponent of transparency, so this piece of legislation should come as no surprise. The School Committee took matters into their own hands regarding Cuff-Bastardi's resignation, citing the City Charter, and convening their own search for the new Ward 1 representative.

Alderman Gewirtz is also seeking the Board to consider a rules change eliminating carry over items to the next Board of Aldermen and instead require the re-filing of bills and resolves that have not been addressed or concluded within the two year term of office. This would certainly clean up the committee filing cabinets and keep the amount of agenda items low, granted, of course, the chairperson of a committee convenes more than twice a year :)

Also looking for rules changes is Board President Bill White. In a minute track attachment, White makes a number of changes for the full Board to consider, specifically, to rules 17, 24, 28, 32, and 51. These changes are made in red in the attachment and feature, mostly, language clarifications, although, the change to rule #51 asks that an item not be recommended to more than one committee. This should speed up the journey of legislation through committees and then back to the full Board for voting.

He also goes on to request the creation of an Ad Hoc Rules Committee, appointing himself along with Aldermen Connolly and Gewirtz. All of these changes will probably be sent to committee for discussion before being voted on by the full Board.

These items, along with other agenda items, will be taken up at Thursday's Board of Aldermen meeting at 7pm in the Aldermanic Chambers of City Hall (second floor).

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