Claremont Charter Commission looks to Manchester as future guideBy MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent
April 14. 2014 6:57PM
CLAREMONT — The City Charter Commission is using the Manchester City Charter as its guide, Chairman George Caccavaro Jr. said Monday.
Friday night the commission revised the first and second sections of the Manchester City Charter to suit Claremont.
“We adopted the Manchester charter as our guidelines,” Caccavaro said, since Manchester has a strong mayor and city aldermen form of city government.
“The big part of it is they’ve agreed to adopt a Manchester template,” Caccavaro said of the commission.
Manchester also has city committees designated to oversee different departments and the city budget. Claremont had a similar set of committees in the past, but dissolved them several years ago, Caccavaro said.
In March the Charter Commission voted 5 to 3 to drastically change Claremont’s city government by proposing the elimination of the city manager position.
Currently, the city is run by a city manager and city council. The proposed change would replace that form with a mayor and aldermen run system now y in place in cities such as Manchester and Nashua.
Joe Osgood, Rusty Fowler, Ron Gilbert, Cynthia Howard and Paul LaCasse voted for the motion to convert to a mayor/ aldermen form of city government while Robert Porter, Raymond Gagnon and Nick Koloski voted against it.
As chairman, Caccavaro only votes in ties, so he didn’t vote on the matter, but said Monday the proposed change may be too big for voters to swallow in November. Any proposed changes to the Claremont City Charter will be presented to voters in November.
There is a vocal group of residents who want to see the city government run more closely by residents and not a city manager, he said.
However, what they don’t realize is that “a strong mayor is a city manager. He’s just been elected city manager,” Caccavaro said.
The Manchester City Charter is being used as a template to move the process along, now that the commission has set a course. The commission has until June to send a draft of its proposed new charter to the Attorney General’s office, he said.
Caccavaro added there are some who oppose the elimination of the city manager position and are circulating a petition against it. At this point the Charter Commission could reverse its course, he said, by suspending the Roberts Rules of Order it has adopted and by taking a vote to reconsider the matter. The commission was established by voters in November. In June the commission is expected to submit a preliminary report to the city and then it will be up to voters.
“It’s the people that are finally going to decide this not us,” Caccavaro said.