TOPSHAM — The committee reviewing Topsham’s government is recommending selectmen form a charter commission to study if changes can be made to help the town run better.

The town’s code of ordinances requires the town form a committee to review Topsham’s form of government at least every 10 years.

The commission would review local government and recommend updates to the charter, which is a local constitution governing the form and powers of municipal government.

The town voted down a proposed charter in a 2008 election that would have moved the town to a representative town council form of government.

Matthew Abbott, chair of the government review committee formed in 2019, said Thursday the committee analyzed the town’s current selectmen, town manager and town meeting government. They got input from Topsham department heads, boards and committees and surveyed other towns similar to Topsham.

The main subjects that arose were recalls, budgets, grants and ordinances, Abbott said. He said the town should look at how decision making happens, how the board of selectmen is set up, as well as recalls. Topsham’s current government is managed by state statute which doesn’t legally allow for the recall of a selectman who violates a code of conduct.

Abbott said the town could set up a charter that keeps the government running just as it does now but that relies on its own charter and not state statute.

Selectman chair David Douglass said once the government review committee submits its final report, it will go before selectmen for action.

 

 

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