To the editor:
On behalf of the dedicated volunteers collecting signatures to create a Gloucester Charter Commission, we are writing to update you on our efforts.
To recap: The Charter is the city’s constitution. It outlines the basic form of our local government (mayor, City Council, School Committee) and details the scope of authority for those positions. Our charter was passed in the 1970s and updated in the 1980s but has not been reviewed by the citizens since then. Changing a city’s charter is not easy. We needed to get 3,200 signatures of registered voters by July 26.
We turned in 2,972 signatures. Because we were short of the necessary 3,200, the city clerk’s office was not required to verify the signatures so we do not have a definitive final figure but the fact that nearly 3,000 signatures were obtained is a notable achievement. By way of comparison, 300 signatures are required to run for mayor.
It has been deeply moving to witness the dedication of the volunteers who stood in front of supermarkets, at train stations, at block parties and parades, and numerous other events, asking friends and strangers to sign their petitions, and to get so much enthusiastic support from the citizens who signed. We would list all of the volunteers here but are afraid of missing someone. We also appreciate the patient assistance of City Clerk Joanne Senos and Marie Giambanco, the assistant registrar for elections.
We are disappointed but not defeated. The charter still needs to be reviewed. We intend to re-launch our effort at the first opportunity, applying the lessons that we learned in the past 18 months.
Ruth Pino, chair
Meredith A. Fine, treasurer