Charter review off to questionable start

March 11, 2010
By

The story is told that the newly convened Charter Review selection committee at its organizational meeting last week considered the suggestion that the Charter Review Committee yet to be chosen be picked randomly by writing names on a piece of paper, folding them up, placing them in a hat and then picking them out one by one.

We regard this strategy as dangerous and way out of bounds.

We believe the consideration of such a flimsy choice protocol at the beginning of a Charter Review process, bodes ill for what might come to follow if such a process were agreed upon.

Picking random names out of a hat to fill Charter Review positions is ill conceived and ill advised. Everything about such a process cries out as not being what it ought to be.

Can the councilors or anyone else around here imagine how it would be for any of us to choose our doctors this way as part of our health care packages?

Or how would it be to have a college entrance policy that depended on random names being pulled randomly out of a hat?

How about hiring our police and firefighters with such a selection process?

That such a policy could even be considered by a committee yet to be convened is a devastating thought for many of us who believe that Chelsea’s success today is closely attached to a protocol that requires in depth judgment and high moral and legal standing to be considered before any changes are made in the legal document by which this city is construed to run itself.

The process of choosing members of the Charter Review Committee must remain almost as sacred as the choices that will ultimately be made.

This is a city that collapsed under the weight of pervasive public corruption and moral, social and economic bankruptcy.

It is an easy step to fall back to that wretched place that nearly ruined the city by bringing it to a moment when it could not pay its schoolteachers and the state sent Chelsea into receivership.

The present city Charter is not a perfect document.

Some changes are needed and necessary.

The Charter Review Committee to be named cannot be made up of random citizens whose names are picked out of a hat.

There can be nothing random about government here.

There can be nothing so ill conceived for an important Charter Review process as random choice selection.

Those who serve on this committee must know about the city, its laws, its finances, and they must be qualified to be chosen and to serve.

A lot hangs in the balance with the creation of the Charter Review Committee.

We urge the selection committee to explore more meaningful choice selections than pulling names out of a hat.

Doing so would be a crime – and in a way – it would mark the beginning of the end of the success that has been achieved in recent decades.


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