Changes to North Kingstown Home Rule Charter on Ballot November 6th

There are important referendums on the ballot that will need your consideration November 6th. This will change the Home Rule Charter for our town and make major changes in our town government.

There are several referendums on the November 6th ballot that if approved will change the North Kingstown Charter.  They include the following;

#8 Term Limits: This would make the longest anyone could serve 12 years consecutively.  Is this really necessary?  It applies to an elected position as well as an appointed position.  I would rather have shorter terms for appointed positions to make it easier to replace people that prove to be unacceptable, but not necessarily term limits. Vote NO on this.

#9 Advice and Consent: This would require that all department heads or persons that report directly to the town manager have a majority vote of approval by the town council.  This is a good thing as it makes the elected town council part of the process.  Vote Yes on this.

#10 School Committee: This would reduce the size of the committee from 7 members to 5 members which is not enough to adequately handle all of the work that this committee does.  Changing the size of the committee will not reduce the problem with poor or under-performing members and could ultimately create more problems.  The diverse make up of this committee is essential.  Vote No on this.

#11 Budget Referendum:  This would change the number of voter signatures needed to call for an budget referendum.  The voter list is full of names that have moved, died or haven't voted in years.  This change would only inflate the number of signatures needed to put a budget before the taxpayers for adjustment. This is a move by the town manager to make it harder for informed taxpayers to have a referendum on the budget which is not a good thing. When our town gave up the town financial meeting the current situation was a compromise with the voters.  This should really be left alone.   Vote NO on this.

The town under the current council and manager have failed in almost every area of government and management of our community.  They fail to follow their own policies (no bid contract on the IT Dept. relocation), sue everyone and create horrendous legal bills (school suit $130,000. and firefighters $230,000. with more to come), put all of our lives at risk with the 24 hour firefighter schedule, allow the 413' wind turbine to be built in a residential neighborhood, done nothing to improve the business climate on Post Road and handed out raises every year for the past four years.  Have you received a raise every year for the last four years?Frankly we can't afford their kind of management and government any longer. 

We need a change on November 6th or we will be saddled with two more years of the same.  Vote for a change, vote for Richard Welch and Tracy McCue if you think that it is time for our town to run like a business rather than an out of control social program.  Visit my website at www.richard-welch.net for more information.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

MeanE November 01, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Like him or not, he is not beating around the bush on what he wants you to do at the polls.
Mike November 01, 2012 at 02:49 PM
I agree with every referendum recommendation except #1 -- 12 years is long enough. Even if the issue is has more to do with appointed commissions, voting this down does nothing to help that situation, while voting it UP does. So I'm voting yes on #1 and hope others do as well. And I will point out that voting Independent may well be a better path to obtaining the much needed change that Mr. Welch alludes to. There are some fantastic independent candidates this year.
Alan La Flamme November 01, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Politicians and diapers need to be changed regularly...and for the same reason!
Scott Madison November 01, 2012 at 07:45 PM
LOL - That's a good one!
Govstench November 01, 2012 at 08:23 PM
You need term limits to get clean out these boards. When cob webs engulf the person, they have been there too long. Queston 9 and 10 should be yes - you need to downsize government and school committees should be no larger than 5. I have always been a supporter of financial town meetings. The power of the people was shown at the Coventry Fire District meeting - when the fire personnel could not put the cards on the table, the people balked. Now the fire district is closed. NK should never have given away that right to the financial town meeting - voting no on question 11 is correct.
Daniel Jordan November 01, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Sides with me and everyone will get extra rations of ol'e jack carter rum.
NK_Voter November 01, 2012 at 09:44 PM
"Put all our lives at risk." Seriously? How?--because his union pals say so? Why, then do most localities use a 24 hour schedule? Sue everyone--you mean, like our entitled public servants--the FF'ers, are suing the town? Who rundns this town--the elected council or the unions? Does everyone remember the budget referendum we paid for because the union wanted more $ for the schools? Yeah--we need to make that easier--not. Vote as you will, but a vote for this man is a vote for higher taxes/less services.
Politics Sheriff of NK November 02, 2012 at 06:37 AM
Gov, Harriet Powell takes offense!
Politics Sheriff of NK November 02, 2012 at 06:37 AM
Thank you Mr Welch, and you'll have my support on Tuesday.
Nicholas Dewhurst November 02, 2012 at 03:16 PM
As Chairman of the Charter Review Commission (a group appointed by the Town Council to study requests and proposals by the Town Council to make changes to the Charter) I felt the need to chime in on this discussion and provide a little more information that Mr. Welch has left out or was unaware of. The Charter Review Commission held meetings between May and July of this year and concluded them with a public hearing on July 9th before forwarding our recommendation to the Town Council. I will provide additional information on each of the points Mr. Welch raises that might be helpful in reaching your own decision to either approve or disapprove these changes. #8 The Commission voted unanimously (7-0) to APPROVE this change. The actual language of the change includes the following wording “unless the person has special qualifications required by the board, or for other good reason, with a unanimous vote of the Council concurring with the reappointment.” This provides a mechanism by which the Council can keep members on boards or commissions longer than the 12 year limit should they desire.
Nicholas Dewhurst November 02, 2012 at 03:16 PM
(Continued from previous comment) #9 The Commission voted (6-1) AGAINST this change. When the Charter was adopted a section of the Charter was included titled Noninterference by Council (Sec. 503) and it opens with “The Council or any of its members shall not direct or request the appointment of any person to or his/her removal from by the Manager…..” The Commission felt that it would be prudent for the Manager to inform the Council as a hiring process progressed but that the potential ramifications of the Town Council effectively being given the authority to hire and fire department heads was something we wanted to avoid. #10 The Commission voted (4-2) AGAINST this change. The Commission felt that even though a reduction in the size of the School Committee might help them move more quickly as a body the fact that something like 70% of the Towns budget funds the School Department made it important to have more voices represented.
Nicholas Dewhurst November 02, 2012 at 03:17 PM
(Continued from previous comment) #11 The Commission voted unanimously (7-0) to APPROVE this change. This proposed change is to correct an error on the 2010 general election ballot. In 2010 the Charter Review Commission unanimously voted on this wording, however when the question was prepared it did not reflect the Commission’s recommendation that the required signatures of 3% of the qualified electors of the town as certified at the pervious general election.
Richard Welch November 02, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Thank you for your information Mr. Dewhurst. It does not change my vote however. #8: I believe that we have elections to vote out poor performing officials and don't need term limits, however appointed officials should have shorter terms which would make the commitment easier for some to agree to as well as to be able to remove a poor appointment. Six years on Planning is too long. #9: I believe that the elected officials should be the ones to apporve these empolyees, not someone that the public can not hold responsible. Too many important decisions in our government are left to the un-elected, there needs to be an accountability to the voters. #10 We agree. #11: There is an agreement that was originally worked out and that should remain. The voter list is bloated with names that should be removed. This will make it more difficult for the public to be heard and that is why I will vote NO. We are trying to be more open and transparent in our government, leave this alone.
NK PARENT November 02, 2012 at 06:33 PM
#9 So Mr. Welch are you saying as a member of the Town Council you would want to micro manage the town and not use your ultimate authority over the town manager to get the job done? Maybe this is why you have been so ineffective on the school committee? Hire the right person like Mr Embury and let him do his job.
Politics Sheriff of NK November 05, 2012 at 06:42 AM
thats not what he said mark.
Concerned NK School Parent November 05, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Mr. Welch, You wrote “the TC & TM have sued everyone and created horrendous legal bills.” What a hypocritical statement to make! What about the legal suits and grievances the SC has generated by imposing unilateral cuts on the ESP? One law suit is personally against YOU! You are in NO position to be criticizing the TM & TC concerning law suits!


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