Marblehead seeking members for town charter committee

The Town of Marblehead is seeking residents interested in serving on a new committee with the goal of creating a town charter. 

An announcement on the town’s website states that it is looking for letters of interest and resumes from residents. The committee will spend close to a year “studying the town’s existing government structure, conducting analysis, and seeking public input and engagement,” according to the announcement. 

Letters of interests and resumes are due by March 22 and should be submitted to the Select Board at Abbot Hall, or by emailing Town Records Access Officer Kyle Wiley at wileyk@marblehead.org.

Unlike other towns in the region, Marblehead does not have a town charter, a document that establishes and details the structure of a town’s government. Town Administrator Thatcher Kezer said that in his year-and-a-half in the role, he has been approached by numerous groups and residents asking about the creation of a charter. He explained why now is the right time to start the process of developing a charter.

“It’s sort of a convergance of desires of some folks, League of Women Voters, residents, who’ve been pushing on this and my coming in and saying ‘Hey, we need to do an update on how we do our municipal business here,” Kezer said.

He added that after talking with Select Board members, there were differences in opinion on how to approach the process, but all were in agreement when it came to getting the process started.

As the defining document to how the town’s government is structured, the charter could include many articles, like the Select Board terms increasing to three years, rather than having those individually presented at yearly Town Meetings. At the very least, it could provide more guidance on how to approach amendments to bylaws and articles presented at Town Meeting.

“A lot of those types of issues can be articulated in the charter or a process to contemplate those type of things. in the charter,” Kezer said. “The charter could dictate the configuration or the charter could say ‘here’s the process within the town to make those kinds of decisions.”

There are multiple ways that a town can put together a charter, ranging from simply defining the town’s current governmental structure, to changing it completely. However, Kezer said that Marblehead’s charter will likely be a combination.

“Most likely, it’s going to be something in between,” he said. “It’s going to be some changes and otherwise defining what’s not going to change, defining how it’s organized without changing it.”

The town is hopeful to have the committee’s research and work done in time to have an article placed on the Town Meeting warrant for 2025, though Kezer called that an “ambitious schedule.”

“It’s doable, but ambitious,” he said.

The Select Board will also be holding an information session for those interested during its regular meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 28. at the Collins Center

  • Ryan Vermette is the Item's Marblehead reporter. He graduated from Springfield College in 2021 with a Bachelor's degree in Communications/Sports Journalism. While in school, he wrote multiple sports articles for the school newspaper, the Springfield Student, and joined Essex Media Group in August, 2022. Ryan is a college basketball fanatic and an avid Boston sports fan and in his free time, enjoys video games and Marvel movies.