The city solicitor has ruled that the new city charter adopted by local voters in last fall’s election contains provisions that went into effect immediately, but it also has some parts that will not be effective until the next city election.
Colleen M. Mejia’s legal opinion has cleared the way for the mayor to create a chief financial officer’s position via the “administrative code” provision in the new charter.
On the other hand, there’s disappointing news for those who want to see elected officials booted from the city’s group health insurance program.
They’ll have to wait awhile because Mejia’s ruling allows local aldermen and councillors to continue participating in the city’s group health insurance pro-gram until the new 11-member city council takes office in January 2014. After that date, all elected officials will be barred from receiving city insurance.
As for money matters, the city solicitor ruled that the new charter’s “finance and fiscal procedures” provision took effect “upon its ratification by the voters”.
Regarding the budget for the coming new fiscal year that starts July 1, Mejia said the mayor needs to submit his budget to the city council by May 17, which means the school committee must submit its budget to the mayor 30 days earlier (by mid-April).
The city council must take finalizing action on the city budget within 45 days of its submission, or else it is deemed approved and appropriated.
As for the charter’s so-called “transitional provisions”, Mejia noted that the current mayor and city council are allowed “to adopt measures that clarify, confirm or extend any of the transitional provisions in order that such transition may be made in the most expeditious manner possible”.
Ald. Robert Van Campen at Monday night’s board of aldermen meeting observed that it appears the city solicitor’s ruling on the new charter is saying that – except for matters dealing with the new to-be-elected city council and the new expanded term of office for the mayor – “just about everything else is in effect now”.
At Van Campen’s request, the board voted to invite City Solicitor Mejia to its next meeting to discuss her ruling in more detail.