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Charter may remove term limit provision

Council slates discussion for October session

September 19, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Term limits would be eliminated for town council members under a proposed change to the town's governing document, its charter.

The Town Council plans to discuss the change at its first October meeting as part of its review of the Charter Review Committee's final report, according to Council Chairman Steven Lazo. Currently, councilors must leave the council after serving three consecutive terms.

If the council approves the new charter, which includes other changes, the document would then go to state Sen. Richard Moore, D-Uxbridge, and state Rep. Geraldo Alicea, D-Charlton, to submit the changes to the General Court as special legislation. After both chambers have passed it, Gov. Deval Patrick would have to sign it.

After more than a year of work on the possible changes, the committee issued its final report Wednesday, Sept. 8. The council had originally planned to discuss the proposed changes on Monday, Sept. 27, but Lazo said Charter Review Committee Chairman Laurent "Butch" McDonald could not be there to present the report, pushing the meeting back to October.

The committee explained its position on term limits in its final report, but the idea is already receiving mixed support from current and former councilors.

"The committee believes this limitation upsets the balance of power as it relates to checks and balances on the government," the group wrote in its report. "A review of the past elections since the adoption of our current charter shows that elections do not always favor incumbents as several incumbents have lost to newcomers in nearly every election."

For more on this story, please see Monday's Southbridge Evening News.

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