Historic vote changes town government in Amherst - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Historic vote changes town government in Amherst

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AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

A historic vote in Amherst last night has everyone talking today.

Residents have chosen a new form of government, doing away with the old town meeting structure.

58% of voters voted in favor of changing the way their town governs for the first time since the 1930s.

They will change from a town meeting to a town council at the end of the year.

Some people in Amherst liked the town meeting format, saying they enjoyed going to the meeting and having their voices heard.

Others said the system was outdated and it was time for a change.

Residents like Eric Einhorn said the new town council meeting will be more efficient

“Town meeting has had a lot of dedicated people and a lot of thoughtful people but it also had an awful lot of showmanship and wasted time,” Einhorn said.

However, that will soon change.

With the new process starting in only a few months, residents told Western Mass News they are excited for the future.

“Now the hard part is to find good people to serve on the council,” Einhorn said. “Which will be a demanding job certainly initially, but I think we have some talent in town.”

The interest is there from community members to get involved in this form of government.

Paul Bockelman, Amherst Town Manager, said he thinks many residents will be stepping up.

“I think it’s going to be very competitive,” Bockelman told us. “There will be 13 seats. There are five districts, two from each district. Plus, three at large.”

The town manager position will remain, making this government unique for Amherst and its needs as a community. The council will also have a president.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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