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Lunenburg Town Charter Update is Work in Progress

August 25, 2018

LUNENBURG -- Don’t expect a draft for a new charter until spring Town Meeting.

“We want to take as much time as we need,” said Charter Review Committee Chair Bob Ebersole.

That will involve more public outreach and a public hearing process to explain proposed changes for the town’s guiding governmental document.

The committee, which has brought on new members, has been working on the charter since last fall. Initially, members planned to present the updated charter to voters at the 2017 Spring Town Meeting.

Since then, the committee has met few times over the summer to consider what changes to keep in the document, including whether to make the town clerk position appointed rather than elected and establish an annual fall Town Meeting, Ebersole said.

He said members haven’t voted yet on what changes will be included in the charter.

Previous revisions the committee proposed included changing the Board of Selectmen’s name to a gender neutral “Select Board,” establishing an annual Fall Town Meeting, and making the Town Clerk’s position appointed.

The committee also proposed changes give the town manager more hiring powers and bar elected board members from getting involved in “day to day” town employee operations.

At a public hearing in April, residents and town board members spoke out against some of the revisions. The committee unanimously decided not to bring the charter voters at Town Meeting.

The last time Lunenburg updated its charter was in 2008.

Some of the changes that could become part of the charter would set the town apart from other towns.

Most towns elect its own town clerk and have one annual Town Meeting in the spring.

Ayer switched from an elected to an appointed clerk in June. The town did that through a home-rule petition approved by the state Legislature because it doesn’t have a charter.

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