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Charter and Rules Committee Meeting March 25, 2024

Mar 25 2024

6:00 pm City Hall Holyoke

536 Dwight St, Holyoke 01040

Posted March 21, 2024, 4:32 PM

City Council
Holyoke Massachusetts

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A, §§ 18-25,
Chapter 2 of the Acts of 2023,
notice is hereby given of a meeting of the committee on
Charter and Rules

Monday, March 25, 2024
6:00 PM

Meeting to take place at
Holyoke City Hall, 536 Dwight St
and can be accessed remotely on Zoom Meetings
Per order of the Chair: Meg Magrath-Smith

Remote access via www.zoom.us
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85613938815?pwd=bWx1MHhJT3BRQVIxeWFNVjNXZy9xZz09
Meeting ID: 856 1393 8815 Meeting Passcode: 248279 or by call in at 1 (646) 558-8656 with the same Meeting ID and Passcode.

Live Spanish interpretation will be available on local access channel 15 using the television’s SAP option, through the live stream on the city website, as well as on the Zoom feed by clicking the interpretation option and choosing Spanish.

Agenda

Item 1: Minutes of February 5, 2024 meeting.

Item 2: 10-4-22 MURPHY-ROMBOLETTI — That the City of Holyoke, through its Honorable City Council and Honorable Mayor, hereby petitions the Massachusetts General Court to enact legislation “Establishing an Appointed Treasurer for the City of Holyoke” in the form set forth below; provided, however, that the General Court may reasonably vary the form and substance of the requested legislation within the scope of the general public objectives of this petition.
“An Act Establishing an Appointed Treasurer for the City of Holyoke” – This act proposes to change the City Treasurer from an elected position to an appointed one; the appointment will be made by the  Mayor, with approval of the City Council, for a term not to exceed five (5) years and qualifications for the position may be established by ordinance. If adopted, the Treasurer elected in the 2023 municipal election will fill the vacancy in the office for the remaining two (2) years, and a Treasurer will be appointed to the position following the expiration of that term in January 2026 or sooner if the office is vacated.
*Tabled 10-24-22, 7-17-23, referred back to committee 8-1-23

Item 3: 8-1-23 From Atty Kathleen Degnan, Asst City Solicitor, home rule petition for appointed treasurer.

Item 4: 4-18-23 (sent to Ord. copy to Charter for potential home rule petition) MCGEE — Ordered, that the position of Chief Administrative and Financial Officer be created and added to Schedule A.
*Tabled 7-17-23

Item 5: 1-22-24 DEVINE, J. RIVERA, GIVNER — Ordered, – RULE 6 DECORUM section E add the words or city employees after the words “another member”
*Tabled 2-5-24

Item 6: 6-7-22 MURPHY-ROMBOLETTI — Ordered that the City Council amend its rules to create a Vice President position in the City Council.
*Tabled 6-14-22, 10-24-22

Item 7: 6-7-22 MURPHY-ROMBOLETTI — Ordered, that the City Council establish a rule that requires any resident running to fill a vacant city council seat will need to obtain 50 signatures from eligible residents in order to be considered by the full City Council for appointment.
*Tabled 1-9-23

Placed on the Agenda for the Purpose of Giving Leave to Withdraw (Limited Discussion Possible):

Item 8: 4-6-21 MURPHY — Ordered that the city charter be amended so that if there is a vacancy in the mayor’s office and the president of the city council cannot assume the duties full time, the full council would then select another councilor to assume the role of acting mayor by majority vote of the council.  The acting mayor would still continue to represent their constituents as a councilor.
*Tabled 4-12-21, 2-23-22, 4-12-22, 6-14-22

Item 9: 5-3-22 RIVERA_I — Order that the honorable city council add the following committee:
Communications Committee
Senior citizen quality of life Committee
*Tabled 6-14-22, 10-24-22, 1-9-23, 2-27-23

Item 10: 5-3-22 RIVERA_I — Order that the city solicitors office begin drafting a ballot question for next election cycle around marijuana Social consumption sites such as bars and cafes for residents to vote on next election cycle similar to the language below. “The sale of marijuana products, as those terms are defined in G.L. c.94G, 1, for consumption on the premises where sold, is permitted when the sale occurs at Restaurants, Bars, Cafes, or any establishment in which food or beverages are served.”
*Tabled 1-9-23

Item 11: 5-3-22 RIVERA_I – Order that committee chairs limit the amount of public hearings added to an agenda, It is not fair and undemocratic to have the public wait until 10:30 – 11:00 pm so they can be heard.
*Tabled 6-14-22, 2-27-23, referred out 12-11-23, referred back 1-2-24

Item 12: 5-3-22 VACON, JOURDAIN — Ordered, that Establish a City Council rule to allow one City Councilor to call for an end to debate on a spending/bonding issue with referral to the auditor to review the matter and report back to the City Council. This rule is in effect when debate continues for more than 30 minutes, each City Councilor who wishes to be recognized has spoken and the matter has not yet been voted to approve or deny the motion.

Item 13: 6-7-22 MALDONADO VELEZ — Ordered, that we add to our charter that if a councilor is absent from  full council meeting for more than 3 consecutive meetings without written notice, their seat is considered open.
*Tabled 1-9-23

Item 14: 6-7-22 MURPHY-ROMBOLETTI — Ordered that the City Council create a rule where any candidate or elected official must disclose with the City Clerk’s office any federal or state litigation that may be pending related to the individual seeking or holding office.  The candidate or official should have the opportunity to include a written explanation of the offense and any mitigating circumstances.

Item 15: 10-4-22 MALDONADO-VELEZ — Ordered, that a fund be created to implement a series of studies rotating between city departments each year to study best practices and methods of implementation for improvement of processes. Our city should constantly be seeking to improve how the public is served and that requires regularly looking at internal processes.
*Tabled 10-24-22

Item 16: 10-18-22 PUELLO, VACON — Ordered, That recall provisions be established for every elected official in the city. These provisions should be fair and equitable to allow citizens a path to recall but also protect the system from nuisances.
*Tabled 1-9-23

Item 17: 1-3-23 MALDONADO-VELEZ – Order that we create a ballot question asking if there should be a recall process for all elected officials. The question should include a recall process and the decision should be binding.
*Tabled 1-9-23

Item 18: 5-16-23 From Mayor Joshua A. Garcia letter of VETO regarding the following order: that the City Council retain independent legal counsel to work with the City Council and legal department to review its rules and powers under the Charter, state law, city ordinances and its rules.

Item 19: 8-1-23 MCGEE, JOURDAIN — Order that city council rule 7b be amended to add to the end : that 10 minutes of response time will be allowed for councilors to address and answer questions or comments, no councilor shall have more than 2 minutes of response time.

Item 20: 8-1-23 GIVNER — With community support, order that a 30min public comment period be added to City Council meetings, in an effort to give the public a true platform in person, written, and/or remote as long as a remote option for council meetings exists. Consideration should be given to having meetings begin earlier in an effort to accommodate Holyoke residents and inspire participation.
*Tabled 12-11-23

Item 21: 11-21-23 PUELLO — Ordered, That we consider a ballot question to determine if the term of office for mayor should be reduced to 2 years, amid historically low voter turnout and pending administrative changes under consideration.

Item 22: 12-19-23 Communication providing article on Juan Montano arrest

Item 23: 12-19-23 MALDONADO VELEZ — Ordered, Order that the city council takes necessary steps towards imposing term limits for all elected officials. Maximum 5 terms per elected official. Send to Charter and Rules.

Item 24: 12-19-23 PUELLO, VACON — Ordered, That a new rule regarding proclamations be established: When a proclamation is issued by the City Council recognizing good citizenship of a person, it shall be withdrawn upon discovery & documentation of repeated criminal convictions (such as illegal guns and drugs).

Item 25: 1-22-24 DEVINE, J. RIVERA, GIVNER — Ordered, that RULE 8 DECORUM/SPEAKING section C “During debate, if objection is made thereto, no member shall speak more than twice to the same question without leave if the City Council, no more than once until all other members choosing to speak have spoken. CHANGE: Delete the words “without leave of the Council.”

Item 26: 1-22-24 DEVINE, J. RIVERA, GIVNER — Ordered, RULE 7 AGENDA section ii Delete all the words after “The Pledge of Allegiance.”

LAID ON THE TABLE (Discussion is not expected)

Item 27: 1-18-22 MURPHY-ROMBOLETTI, JOURDAIN — Ordered that the City Council adopt a rule to establish a two-year legislative term.  Any orders pending in committee or not acted on by the end of the legislative term must be re-filed at the start of the subsequent legislative term.
*Tabled 2-23-22, 4-12-22, 6-14-22, 2-27-23

Item 28: 1-17-23 MCGEE — Ordered that City Council Rule 9H be amended and re-worded in order to make the process of changing or updating an ordinance a smoother process.
*Tabled 2-27-23, 12-11-23

Item 29: 2-7-23 JOURDAIN, VACON — Ordered, that City Council Rule 9P be modified to add: Only those items that are reasonably expected to be taken up at the meeting (per open meeting law) will be published on the meeting agenda.  Items “deemed tabled” by virtue of their existence in the committee jacket for 45 days will not be published on the active agenda.  Listing every item in the entire committee jacket on every agenda will create confusing agendas for Councilors and the general public when the vast majority of items will never be considered at that meeting and create the false impression that they will be.  This will create an absurd result that appears to be a violation of the Open Meeting Law.
*Tabled 2-27-23

Item 30: 4-4-23 RIVERA_I, GIVNER, MALDONADO VELEZ, MURPHY-ROMBOLETTI, RIVERA_J — Ordered, that Section 34 of the Holyoke City Charter be amended to establish a Police Commission by virtue of a Special Act in Accordance with the provisions of Articles of Amendment, Article II, Section 8 of the Massachusetts Constitution.
*Tabled 4-19-23, 7-17-23, 12-11-23

Item 31: 4-4-23 From Atty Jane Mantolesky, Supplement to legal opinion on voting requirements
*Tabled 4-10-23

Item 32: 8-1-23 From City Solicitor letter re: Provisions of charter impacted by implementation of a Police Commission
*Tabled 12-11-23

Item 33: 8-1-23 From Lisa Ball, City Solicitor, Legal Opinion from KP Law, Mark R. Reich Esq. regarding Community Preservation Act Surcharge Reduction.

Item 34: 8-1-23 From City Solicitors Ballot Question language.

Item 35: 10-3-23 GIVNER, TALLMAN — With community support, order that all ordinances and charter rules reflecting city council and city council subcommittee meeting notices be updated to reflect acceptance of email as sufficient method of notice, and city website posting as sufficient method of public notice.
*Tabled 12-11-23, 2-5-24

Item 36: 10-3-23 GIVNER — With community support, order that the following section of our Codes of Ordinances and charter be updated to reflect use of email as sufficient for special meeting notice:
Sec. 12. – Special meetings of city council.
The mayor may at any time call a special meeting of the city council by public posting through the city website along with written notifications thereof, together with a statement of the subjects to be considered thereat, to be deposited in the post office, postpaid and addressed to the persons to be notified, at least forty-eight hours before the time appointed for such meeting, or to be left at the usual place of residence of each member of the council, by email at least forty-eight hours before the time appointed for such meeting.  (Acts 1965, c. 187; Acts 1992, c. 189)
*Tabled 12-11-23, 2-5-24

Item 37: 10-17-23 VACON, JOURDAIN — Ordered, That the City of Holyoke, through its Honorable City Council and Honorable Mayor, hereby petitions the Massachusetts General Court to enact legislation “Establishing an Appointed Treasurer for the City of Holyoke” in the form set forth below; provided, however, that the General Court may reasonably vary the form and substance of the requested legislation within the scope of the general public objectives of this petition. “An Act Establishing an Appointed Treasurer for the City of Holyoke” – This act proposes to change the City Treasurer from an elected position to an appointed one; the appointment will be made by the City Council, for a term not to exceed five (5) years and qualifications for the position may be established by ordinance. If adopted, the Treasurer elected in the 2023 municipal election will fill the vacancy in the office for the remaining two (2) years, and a Treasurer will be appointed to the position following the expiration of that term in January 2026 or sooner if the office is vacated.

Item 38: 12-5-23 VACON — Ordered, That we amend our charter and ordinances to change from an elected Mayor to a City Manager/Chief Administrative Financial Officer, appointed by the City Council.

Item 39: 2-6-24 JOURDAIN, BARTLEY — Ordered, That Charter Sections 19 and 34 be amended and elsewhere as appropriate to allow for all appointments to the Fire Commission and DPW Commission to be appointed by the Mayor subject to confirmation by the City Council.

Item 40: 2-6-24 DEVINE, I. RIVERA — Ordered, Under City Council rules, please add the following: New Rule: Every 2 years after being sworn in, the City Council President shall set the seating arrangements of the City Council. Consideration shall be taken for any legitimate handicap preference.

 

Administrative Assistant: Jeffery Anderson-Burgos

The listing of matters are those reasonably anticipated by the chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law. Also one or two items may require the committee to enter into executive session at this meeting. Agenda subject to change up to two business days (48 hours) prior to posted meeting time.

Jeffery Anderson-Burgos
Administrative Assistant to the City Council

Holyoke City Hall
536 Dwight St, Room 10
Holyoke, MA 01040
Regular hours 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Meeting days 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
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