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Claremont commission talks mayor for city

CLAREMONT — In a rowdy meeting Friday night, the Claremont Charter Commission reconsidered a proposal to shift from a city manager and city council run city to a mayor and board of alderman run system, but ultimately decided to stick with the latter, charter Chairman George Caccavaro Jr. said Monday.

Caccavaro lobbied commission members to reconsider the proposal, saying changing the form of city government could be too big a change for residents.

Commission members Joe Osgood, Rusty Fowler, Ron Gilbert, Cynthia Howard, Robert Porter and Paul LaCasse voted for the review, while Caccavaro, Raymond Gagnon and Nick Koloski voted for it.
“You look at all the towns that have that form of government,” said commission member Paul LaCasse on Monday, like Manchester. “They are all growing. … Claremont is stagnant; we need a change of government.”
The commission is using Manchester’s city charter as a guide, but has proposed a slightly weaker mayor, LaCasse said.

Residents frustrated that voters don’t have more control over city spending asked the charter commission to propose the change. The charter commission agreed to adopt the proposal in a 4 to 3 vote in March.
Caccavaro said last week that with the deadline nearing, he fears voters who oppose the monumental change will vote it down in November, and with it all of the other proposed changes from the charter commission.
Friday night many commission members said it was too late to change course, Caccavaro said.

“It’s a major issue whether you have a manager or whether you have a mayor,” Caccavaro said. “I said it’s never too late to do the right thing, but that fell on deaf ears.”
LaCasse said, “I have a feeling it’s going to pass.”

The charter commission plans to finalize its proposed changes to the city charter on Friday. By July 10 the draft charter must be in the hands of state officials for review, including the Secretary of State’s office, the Attorney General’s office and the Department of Revenue Administration.
After that review, the finalized draft would be presented a series of public hearings before going to a vote in Nov., Caccavaro said.

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