Tyngsboro Can Make

March 26, 2018 GMT

The Town of Tyngsboro can take another step toward government efficiency and professional management Tuesday night when Town Meeting voters decide on a new municipal charter proposal

The Sun endorses the proposal. It is an outgrowth of three years of discussions and public hearings held by the town’s Government Study Commission.

We applaud what has been a very open and transparent process. Townspeople owe a great deal of gratitude to the long hours and hard work turned in by the GSC panel, headed by chairwoman Karyn Puleo.

The commission has received input from many residents and civic and business leaders. Members have crafted a comprehensive document based on Massachusetts General Laws on how Tyngsboro’s new and improved municipal government would work.

The biggest change creates a clear line of command in the government’s day-to-day operations, placing important decision-making authority in the hands of a Town Manager who is held accountable by the Board of Selectmen.

The board retains the right to evaluate the town’s CEO based on performance, as well as to hire and fire the manager.

This is a key distinction in the town’s existing government, where the board is charged with fiscal, hiring and policy duties that are best reserved for a full-time professional CEO. Where applicable by law, the manager would make recommendation to selectmen for approval, such as negotiated employee and/or vendor contracts.

This is no different than what takes place in the majority of Massachusetts municipalities where the town manager form of government has been adopted.

It leads to consistent day-to-day management and serves to eradicate -- or at least diminish -- the so-called “politicization” of local government. The CEO is expected to run an ethically and fiscally responsible government, and hold town workers accountable without interference from selectmen.

Tyngsboro’s charter proposal also creates an “omnibus” Department of Public Works, bringing a number of branches under one roof. In addition, the elected positions of town clerk, tree warden and constable(s) now become appointed positions. These are sound moves for a responsive government.

Tyngsboro’s come a long way since Colonel John Tyng founded it in 1675 under a land grant chartered by the King of England. It was incorporated into a town in 1809. The new charter change for the town of 11,000 residents marks a positive milestone in its history.