The one thing missing from the Portland Charter Commissions painstaking review of the city’s government structure has been input from the people of Portland.

Sure, there was the vote to create the commission last year and to elect nine of its 12 members, but since then it’s been kind of quiet. Except for the very public discussion about the possibility of permitting non-citizens to vote in local races, most of the commission’s work has been done before an audience of commissioners.

That will have to change. In November, voters will again be asked to weigh in and decide whether Portland should change its system. But in the next few weeks, they will get a chance to influence the choices that will be on the ballot then.

The charter commission has completed a preliminary report, which will be published on Friday. A public hearing is scheduled for June 10, giving the commissioner a month before voting to deliver a proposal to the City Council.

If anyone in the public wants to influence the final product, this is their chance. Anyone who has been waiting until the last minute to get involved, the last minute has arrived.

Whether Portland should exchange its current system for one with a popularly elected mayor is one question. Whether the proposed mayor is too strong, or not strong enough and how much the position should pay are others.

The proposed charter also deals with the School Committee (which it proposes to rename the Board of Education).

There is a lot to chew on, and residents should start chewing if they want to have a voice in this important civic endeavor.

 


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