Council names new charter review panel

Council names new charter review panel

SMITHFIELD - A nine-member charter review commission, appointed Oct. 1 by the Town Council, will spend the next several months debating whether changes are needed in the way municipal government operates here.

Scheduled to hold its first meeting at 7 p.m. on Oct. 28 in Town Hall, the volunteer agency includes three former Republican Town Council presidents, Michael J.Flynn, Richard Poirier, and John Emin Jr.

Flynn, a former long-time state senator, chose not to run for another council term last November. Poirier gave up his council seat last year to oppose Democrat Stephen Archambault, the eventual winner for the District 22 Senate seat.

Emin is president of the Smithfield Preservation Society, which is renovating the historical, former Resolved Waterman Tavern-Smithfield Exchange Bank building on Putnam Pike.

Other members are John Serapiglia Jr., a former member of the Conservation Commission; Henry Cipriano Jr., former chairman of the municipal Asset Management Commission; Bernice Butera, a past member of the Sewer Board of Review; Robert Buonaccorsi, a retired educator; and Tracy Ahmadian and Tyler J. Choquette, the latter two described by Town Manager Dennis Finlay as residents who wished to become involved in municipal government.

The town charter mandates creation of a review commission every five years to examine its contents and make recommendations for any necessary changes, which could range from minor housekeeping issues to basic revisions in government structure.

For example, the 2008 commission recommended expanding Town Council terms from two years to four, but voters defeated the proposal at the polls.

Charter commissions make recommendations to the Town Council, which in turn decides which of them should go on the ballot. Suggestions from the newly appointed group will be debated for inclusion on the general election ballot in 2014.

It's expected that the new commission will deliberate until next March or April, considering ideas from its own membership, town employees, and the public before making its report to the council.