Southbridge voters will be asked to change form of government, bring back Board of Selectmen
By Brian Lee TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
SOUTHBRIDGE — Town councilors voted 8-0 Monday to send a request to voters in the June 24 election to re-establish the selectman-administrator form of government, which was in effect before March 2, 1973.
The alternative would have been to send the petition from the citizens' group "We the People" to the Statehouse for legislative action.
Lauren F. Goldberg of Kopelman and Paige, which is serving as special town counsel, said several provisions in the petition would need to be clarified.
Ms. Goldberg said the request is more broad than deleting one provision of the town's home-rule charter and inserting a new one.
Michael V. Caplette, a Southbridge lawyer representing the petitioners, said sending the matter to voters was his group's preference. He noted the town has suspended its search for a town manager pending the June vote.
More than 700 signed the petition, he said.
Suggesting she had reservations about reverting to selectmen days, Councilor Monique Manna said she spoke to a former selectman who reasoned government had changed to the present councilor-manager form of government because the town was getting too large.
Councilor Catherine E. Nikolla urged voters to do their homework before voting.
She added she would vote no at the polls because she believes in the current system.