Below are Alex Morse for Mayor’s recommendations for four questions that will appear on Tuesday’s ballot. Please contact us if you have any questions or would like more information. Sample ballots are available at holyoke.org.
Should the City Council be reduced to 13 members —consisting of seven by ward and six at large—from the current format of 15, with 7 ward and 8 at large?
A YES VOTE supports reducing the 15-member City Council to 13 members. Holyoke currently has more city councilors than Boston. A 15-member council makes no sense for a city of our size. Moreover, as the system is currently designed, with 7 ward and 8 at-large councilors, the council is more likely to reflect the preferences of particular segments of the population, and not the whole. The 8 at-large councilors will necessarily represent the views of higher-turnout voters. A smaller council would be more efficient and more representative of the city’s whole makeup.
Should the mayor’s term be increased to 4 years from the current 2 years?
A YES VOTE supports increasing the mayor’s term from 2 to 4 years. The 2-year term places the chief executive of the city in the position of having to gear up for citywide reelection campaign just as his or her policy agenda is beginning to be implemented. The 4-year term would give the mayor a better opportunity to pursue the longer-term vision he or she was elected to enact. If the voters of Holyoke decide they want a mayor with different priorities, the 4-year term still provides a baseline level of accountability to the public.
Should the terms of city councilors be increased to four years from the current two years?
A NO VOTE supports not increasing city councilor terms to 4 years. The legislative branch of government is essentially different from the executive. By design, the legislature is meant to represent the democratic will of a given moment. The ability to change councilors every two years provides an important check on the government’s power.
Should the city treasurer be changed from an elected to an appointed position?
A YES VOTE will support changing the selection method of treasurer from elected to appointed. Imagine a company whose CEO has no meaningful say in appointing members of a financial team, and very little ability to deal with daily operations in financial offices. That, in effect, is what Holyoke has. Changing the method by which the treasurer is selected would be the first step toward centralizing the city’s financial operations. The Department of Revenue recommends the formation of a Central Financial Officer position, which would oversee the city’s whole finance team. Such a step would greatly increase efficiency and improve our city’s overall financial health.