NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 1, 2013

Review may eliminate certain boards

AMESBURY — As stipulated by the revised City Charter, Mayor Thatcher Kezer will soon form a special committee to review the city’s existing boards and commissions and determine if any of them are no longer necessary.

The review will be conducted as a way to hit the refresh button on Amesbury’s government makeup, which Kezer said includes numerous boards and commissions that originated back when Amesbury still had a town form of government and have fallen dormant over time.

“There are a lot of boards and commissions made back in the town government days by volunteers with functions that we may not even need anymore,” Kezer said. “So this will be the opportunity to look at that and prune out what’s not necessary and then look at how we want to go forward.”

There are currently 26 boards and commissions in Amesbury, not including the mayor’s office, the City Council and the numerous subcommittees that proliferate in city government. Over 130 people make up those boards and commissions, and Kezer said that finding people to fill all of those seats is often a struggle.

“It’s been a challenge overall of filling boards,” Kezer said. “That’s just an ongoing thing.”

In order to scale back on the unnecessary boards, a new provision was included in the City Charter approved in 2011 dictating that every 10 years starting in 2013 a committee would be formed to review the city’s boards and commissions. A similar provision was included for the city’s codes and ordinances as well, with the first 10-year cycle scheduled to begin in 2018.

The intention is that every five years, a review process will be carried out to ensure that outdated aspects of the government can be identified and dealt with.

Kezer didn’t specify what the timetable for this process would be, only that it would be happening this year, but said he wants the City Council to be involved and is looking for their feedback.

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