Charter Commission

Thank you to the 125+ people that turned out for our February, March and April Feedback Sessions. More sessions have been scheduled. They will take place in the Woodbury Room of the Jones Library. Mark your calendars now.

  • Tuesday, June 6th, 10 am - noon
  • Tuesday, June 13th, 6-8 pm
We have also scheduled the Public Hearing required under MGL Ch. 43B to be held after the publication of the draft charter. It will be held on August 31st from 7-9 pm. The location is yet to be determined.
We have a new Council Manager Feedback Form. It asks questions specific to the current draft proposal. Send us your thoughts on that proposal now--complete the feedback form today.
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The Charter Commission, elected by the voters of Amherst, is guided by State Law, MGL  c.43B. By law, we are charged with preparing a written document which establishes and defines the structure of the government for Amherst. This document, called a Charter, may create local offices, distribute powers, duties and responsibilities among local offices, and may establish and define certain procedures to be followed. Our work must be completed within 18 months of our election, and when completed, the final recommended Charter is submitted to the voters. If approved by the voters, the Charter would serve as Amherst's constitution.

Upcoming Meetings

All meetings at the Police Station Community Room, unless otherwise noted
  • Monday, May 22 - 5:30 -- 9:30 pm
  • Thursday, June 1 - 5:30 – 9:30 pm
  • Wednesday, June 7 - 5:30 – 9:30 pm
  • Wednesday, June 28 - 5:30 – 9:30 pm
  • Wednesday, July 5 - 5:30 – 9:30 pm
  • Wednesday, July12 - 5:30 – 9:30 pm
  • Wednesday, July 26 - 5:30 – 9:30 pm
  • Thursday, August 31 - 7-9 pm - Public Hearing
    Find the complete Charter Commission meeting schedule here.

    Collin Center DRAFT Timeline: Gives an overview of what portions of the Charter we will be discussing during certain weeks. Updated on January 11, 2017

    Public Outreach

    The Charter Commission welcomes input from the residents of the Town about Amherst and its values about Town government. During the upcoming months, there will be several opportunities to submit your comments, through public forums, hearings and meetings. Thank you to all who attended the four recent Feedback Sessions. We had over 125 people in total at the four sessions. We are currently scheduling more sessions for May and June. Dates will be posted when confirmed.

    You may also submit input in other ways:
    • Send an email to the entire Charter Commission by emailing
    • Complete the Feedback Session Comment Form (print out and email back to us, or drop off at the Town Manager's Office)
    • Complete the new Draft Charter Proposal Feedback Form, by clicking here.
    • Complete the Public Input Form, by clicking here.

    Comments received from the public by the Charter Commission can be viewed here.


    Draft Charter Proposal

    For those interested in learning more about participatory budgeting, check out the website You can also watch this video for a quick overview.

    At the May 6th meeting, the Charter Commission voted 7-0, with one abstention and 1 absent, to propose a Council-Manager structure.

    At the April 24th meeting, the Charter Commission had a robust and detailed discussion regarding the structure of the executive branch. The Commission also reconsidered the size of the council. By a 5-4 vote, the Commission voted to adopt a Mayor-Council model, with 13 members of the council, and a manager/town administrator reporting to (and hired by) the mayor. The manager/town administrator will supervise and hire the department heads. A picture of the structure can be found here.

    At the April 6, 2017 meeting, the Charter Commission has a discussion about the size of the council. By a 504 vote, the Commission voted to enlarge the size of the council to 60.

    At the February 8, 2017 meeting, the Charter Commission had a detailed discussion of the various benefits and drawbacks of both a mayor as the chief executive and a manager as the chief executive. During the meeting, the Commission voted by a 6-3 margin to affirm pursuing a mayor as the chief executive.

    At the December 12, 2016 meeting, the Charter Commission had a robust discussion of various Commissioners' proposals for Amherst's government structure. During the meeting, the Commission voted by a 5-4 margin to pursue a mayor-council form of government with robust citizen participation.

    Town Meeting Presentations

    The Charter Commission presented an update to Town Meeting on April 27, 2017 as part of Article 1. Click here to view the PowerPoint Presentation.

    The Charter Commission presented an update to Town Meeting on November 14, 2016 as part of Article 1. Click here to view the PowerPoint Presentation.

    Stay Informed

    We have created an email list in order to keep residents updated on what we're doing. Subscribe to it here. Also, connect with us on Facebook to keep updated.

    Group Decision Making Process

    Here is the link to a website Irma Gonzalez sent the Commission that discusses group decision making: "Making Group Decisions - Six Options". A number of residents have asked that we post the link.

    Videographers Wanted

    We are looking for many volunteers willing to attend our meetings and videotape them for ACTV. Please contact Irv Rhodes if you are willing to do so, as he is looking at arranging a schedule for the volunteers.
    Year  Elected
    Andy Churchill, Chair
    Tom Fricke
    Meg Gage
    Nick Grabbe, Clerk
    Mandi Jo Hanneke, Vice Chair
    Irv Rhodes
    Diana Stein
    Julia Rueschemeyer
    Gerry Weiss