Voter's Guide to the Newton Municipal Election


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Tuesday, November 4, 2003
Polls open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

About the Election

The Newton Municipal General Election is Tuesday, November 4, 2003. The polls will be open from 7:00a.m.until 8:00p.m. The positions on this ballot will be for Alderman-at-large, (where you can vote for two candidates), Ward Alderman (where you can vote for one candidate from your ward) and School Committee (where you may vote for one candidate from each Ward).

If you are unable to get to the polls on Nov 4th, you may vote absentee. Call the election commission at 617-796-1359 or visit the website at

Newton municipal elections are nonpartisan in the sense that candidates are not designated as members of political parties.

About this Voters' Guide

The League's Voter Service Chairman Susan Rosenbaum prepared this guide with the Assistance of Vice President Bonnie Carter, Membership Chairman Pat Acton, and the Board of the League. It is the compilation of responses to a questionnaire sent to all candidates whose names will appear on the municipal ballot on November 4th.

Responses were limited to 50 words for biographical information and 75 words for each question. The responses were not edited, or subject to spell check by the League, so you are reading the candidates' own words. If the answer exceeded the permissible number of words, it was cut off at exactly the number of words allowed.

About the Board of Aldermen

The legislative branch of Newton's government is a 24-member Board of Aldermen. There are 16 at-large aldermen and 8 ward aldermen elected every two years. In addition to deliberating legislation, the Board of aldermen conducts land use proceedings. It also appoints the City Clerk/Clerk of the Board and Comptroller of Accounts and confirms various appointments made by the mayor. The board acts on the budget proposed by the mayor. The aldermen cannot increase the budget, but they can reduce it or they can request that the mayor increase the budget.

All meetings of the Board of aldermen are open to the public and begin at 7:45 p.m. at City Hall. They are held on the first and third Mondays of each month, except in July and August when meetings are held on the second Monday of each month. Committees of the Board meet at various times, primarily in the evening during the week.

Members of the Board of Aldermen receive a salary set at 10 percent of the Mayor's salary. They are eligible for dental, medical, and life insurance as city employees. Elected employees are also entitled to participate in the city's retirement program that is vested at 10 years of service.

Questions for the Board of Aldermen candidates

Biographical information (including why you chose to seek this office) 50 words maximum

Question 1

What are your ideas to increase city revenues and decrease city expenses? (75 words maximum)

Question 2

How should the city's experience with Avalon Bay development on Needham Street inform the planning and development process? (75 words maximum)

About the School Committee

The Newton School committee oversees the Newton Public Schools. It is made up of one representative from each of the city's eight wards. Voters from the entire city elect the entire committee every two years. The mayor is a member of the School Committee ex officio. The School Committee meets on the second and fourth Mondays of the month from September through June. It is responsible for recommending the school budget to the mayor, hiring the superintendent, approving system-wide policies and establishing the overall philosophy of the system.

There are term limits to service on the School Committee. Each member may serve only four consecutive terms of two years. He or she may, however, run for election again after waiting a two-year period. Members of the School Committee receive a salary set at the rate of 5 percent of the Mayor's salary. They are eligible for medical, dental, and, and life insurance as city employees. Elected officials are also entitled to participate in the city's retirement program, which is vested at 10 years of service. The superintendent of schools directs the educational activities of the fifteen elementary schools, four middle schools, and two senior high schools and carries out the policies and philosophies of the School Committee.

Questions for the School Committee Candidates

Biographical Information (including why you are seeking this office). (50 words maximum)

Question 1. How do you draw the line between publicly supported services versus those paid for by user fees? (75 Words Maximum)

Question 2. What responsibility does the school system have to inform parents when controversial topics will be taught in the classroom? Define these topics. (75 Words Maximum)

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Last updated: 09-Sep-2003