Mayor of Abington? Charter Review panel to discuss on Oct. 13

A recent survey of Abington residents found that 33 percent are supportive of switching to a mayoral form of government.

Most Abington residents who responded still want to keep the existing form of government, which consists of an Open Town Meeting, a Board of Selectmen, and a strong Town Manager.

But the amount of interest in having a mayor of Abington surprised the town’s Charter Review Commission, who have been meeting as required by the charter to evaluate improvements to the town’s framework of government.

“There was definitely more interest in having a mayor than we expected, ” said Pete Walters, a member of the Charter Review Commission.

The panel will discuss the idea at its next meeting on Oct. 13, at 6 p.m., at Town Hall. Ted Langill, who serves as chief of staff to Weymouth Mayor Bob Hedlund, will be on hand to discuss the pros and cons of having a mayoral form of government. Langill served as chairman of Braintree’s Finance Committee when that town voted to switch to a mayor.

But don’t start mayoral campaign committees just yet. Commission members say they aren’t yet sold that having a mayor would be best for Abington, and Thursday’s meeting is just part of their standard due diligence.

“Considering one-third of town residents who responded say they are interested in an entirely new form of government, we wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t at least have a conversation about it,” said Walters. “I’m still skeptical that a mayor makes sense for a small town like Abington.”

Thursday’s meeting is open to the public, which will have an opportunity to ask questions.

[DISCLOSURE: The author of this article is chairman of the Charter Review Commission.]