Charter Revision Commission recommends keeping mayoral government

Published on Thursday, 5 September 2019 16:00


PLYMOUTH - The Charter Revision Commission informed the Town Council Wednesday that they do not recommend switching to a town manager style government.

The commission had, for several months, been exploring the possibility of a switch. However, Mark Malley, chair of the commission, said that the commission now recommends keeping a mayor and town council government.

“A majority of the board felt that the mayor and council is an effective form of government,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter what type of government you have, you need the right people for the job. We feel as a group that it would be much more expensive to have a town manager. It would be more money spent for not necessarily a better running option.”

The commission has been working on some other revisions to the charter, but described them as “removing redundant and ambiguous language” and “trimming down to achieve the same result.” He said it included eliminating a requirement for mandatory positions.

“If you look at the Constitution it doesn’t say much; it leaves it for the government to do,” said Malley.

Councilor Dan Gentile thanked the commission for their efforts, but said he felt that the proposed revisions to the charter may have trimmed it down too far.

Mayor David Merchant said that a public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 9 regarding the revision proposals. Nothing will be on the budget for this year’s election.

Merchant also announced at Wednesday’s council meeting that he has been reaching out to Bristol for further community collaboration. He said he has had preliminary talks with the Bristol Boys & Girls Club about opening a satellite office in Plymouth.

Merchant added that he is also speaking with the city of Bristol about their senior programs.

“We want to see if we can’t have more things to offer for seniors,” he said.

Merchant added EdAdvance has made significant progress with renovations at The Partnership Learning Academy, formerly Main Street School.

“They are about a month away from opening,” he said.

Merchant said that request for proposals are also going out for two local projects.

The Police Building Committee is looking to do a “needs assessment” for a new building. This has been an ongoing discussion since the current facility is too small for the current needs of the department.

Additionally, an RFP will go out for the excavation and removal of potential Native American artifacts in a parcel adjacent to Nutmeg Spice on Bombard Court. Nutmeg Spice has expressed a desire to expand onto the parcel.

“Twenty years ago, Indian artifacts were found on the site so it was designated a site of archeological interest,” said Merchant. “I have spoken with DECD (The Department of Economic and Community Development) and told them that we want to sell the site. They have agreed to pay for 100% of the excavation work. We just need to put out an RFP to find a company. We need to do this as quickly as we can.”

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or

Posted in The Bristol Press, Plymouth on Thursday, 5 September 2019 16:00. Updated: Thursday, 5 September 2019 16:02.