The Town Governance Study Committee, appointed by the Select Board in March of 2022, this week delivered a final report that includes several recommendations, including that a Charter Commission be formed to guide the future of Natick government.
The nine-member committee based its recommendations in part on a review of the town’s current structure and operations, identifying strengths and weaknesses, plus studied the most common forms of municipal government in comparable communities (Natick’s is based on representative town meeting and a Select Board). The committee, which overall met dozens of times, also reaped information by conducting a mix of interviews and surveys with past and current town employees and office holders, as well as the general public.
Committee Chair Carol Gloff presented on the report at the June 28 Select Board meeting (about 21 minutes into the Natick Pegasus recording embeded below).
In short, the committee found that if Town Meeting sticks around, it needs to be more efficient. It also concluded that clearer lines of authority are needed, the process of appointed positions needs to be rethought, and that communications/engagement should be strengthened.
The committee made recommendations regarding executive, legislative, and operational processes. These included forming a Charter Committee to initiate a possible change to the town’s form of government. The committee advised that Town Meeting should be reformed or replaced.
Changes to the town’s charter and bylaws can be made via different processes, some involving Select Board and voter action, some requiring Town Meeting approval.
A separate Charter & Bylaw Review Committee is also examining the town’s governance documents as a requirement under the town’s charter. Whereas the Governance Study Committee reports to the Select Board, the Review Committee was appointed by the Town Moderator and issues its findings to Town Meeting for review and approval.