Dave Copeland/Andover News

A group of Andover residents, including former town officials, is collecting signatures in hopes of pushing Andover to do away with its open town meeting form of government.

The Committee for a New Andover Charter plans to collect 4,500 signatures by November, representing over 15% of registered voters. If successful, they will pursue a ballot item to form a charter commission. This commission, composed of nine elected representatives, will explore potential governmental changes.

Recent concerns about the chaotic nature of open Town Meetings led to the establishment of the Town Governance Study Committee in 2020. This committee evaluated three options allowed by state law: a representative Town Meeting with 150-200 elected individuals, a 13- or 15-member town council, or an elected mayor.

Despite these alternatives, the Town Governance Study Committee reaffirmed Open Town Meeting as the best choice for Andover. Former select board member, Richard Howe, who is helping with the effort, expressed disappointment, suspecting that some committee members were predisposed against any change in town government.

“I thought open Town Meeting became increasingly chaotic,” Howe told the Andover Townsman, which first reported this story.

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