Monday, May 5, 2008

Ward representation: will the city have made any progress?

The Civil Rights and Race Relations Committee will be meeting again on Wednesday, May 7, 4:30 at the City Council office to figure out how to implement ward representation.. This is a just about when Chair Jose Tosado said the next meeting would take place-- six to eight weeks from the first meeting, which was March 12.

The key item on the agenda, from my point of view, is how elections for School Committee members will play out. When the ward rep bill was placed in the city's ballot last November, it turned out that the City Council had failed to think through what would happen to the staggered terms of those three School Committee members who were elected last fall. Although they're supposed to serve four year terms, there doesn't seem to be any way to implement ward rep without all school committee members starting out on the same foot-- new elections-- in 2009. This didn't make Antoinette Pepe, Chris Collins and Thomas Ashe, who were elected to four year terms last fall, very happy.

I can't think of any other way to resolve this situation, but we'll see what happens Wednesday, when City Attorney Ed Pakula. is supposed to present a legal opinion about how to resolve this situation.

Of course I'm not surprised that the City Council didn't think this through before they submitted the proposed ward rep law to the Legislature for approval to be placed on the ballot. I believe councilors were only thinking about themselves, and how to look like winners in the face of the community's federal lawsuit against the city.

So we shall see what they come up with on Wednesday! I'll report back.

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