By Barbara Taormina
Malden is appointing a new committee to review and update the City Charter.
Adopted in 1881 and amended more than 50 times, the charter outlines how Malden’s municipal government works and includes detailed instructions on such matters as elections, appointments of city department heads and the roles and responsibilities of city commissions and commissioners.
Thanks to former City Clerk Karen Anderson, former Clerk of Committees Sheila Fermano and Communications Director Ron Cochran, who put in what must have been some long hours of work steeped in excruciating detail, the charter has been organized and consolidated. The charter is now available on the city’s website, and it’s not a bad read.
However, publishing a readable version of the charter was just the first step. This week, the City Council shared a letter from Mayor Gary Christenson announcing a new City Charter Review Committee. “Not surprisingly, the consolidated charter revealed a number of organizational inconsistencies, outdated provisions and operational inefficiencies,” explained Christenson. “I think we owe it to the city to work toward modernizing and strengthening this important document.”
It will now be up to a new five-member committee to revise and update Malden’s City Charter. Two of the members of the committee are mayoral appointments, and Christenson has named Special Assistant to the Mayor Maria Luise and Ron Hogan, who heads up the city’s parking department, to serve on the committee. The remaining three seats on the committee will go to city councillors.
The committee will start working at the beginning of next year with the goal of completing their review and recommendations by the late spring or early summer. That schedule gives the city enough time to ensure that any changes that need voter approval will be on the ballot for the 2019 municipal election.
Christenson said the committee will be providing the community with regular updates on its work. They may also reach out and gather public input on different questions and topics.