What is the Charter?

A Home Rule Charter is a document that establishes a city’s government structure and defines the organization, functions, specific powers, legal control and essential procedures of a city government. 

In Watertown, the Charter explains the responsibilities of the Town Council, Town Manager, School Committee, Library Trustees, Boards and all aspects of government, from how elections are run to how our budget is developed and approved.  The Charter is a city’s constitution & its most important legal document.

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1. What is the Charter?
2. Where can I find a copy of the Charter?
3. Why is Watertown reviewing its Charter?
4. Why are we reviewing the Charter in 2021?
5. Why is Charter Review important?
6. What can (& can’t) be accomplished through changing the charter?
7. When does the Charter Review Committee meet?
8. How do I keep current with the Charter Review Process?
9. What information can I find on Watertown’s Charter Review website watertown-ma.gov/charter?
10. What is Watertown’s current form of Government?
11. Is Watertown a town or a city & does it matter?
12. Is Watertown going to change its official name from “The City known as the Town of Watertown” to just the City of Watertown?
13. Who decided who is on the Charter Review Committee?
14. How were the resident members of the Charter Review Committee chosen?
15. Who’s on the 2020 Charter Review Committee?
16. How can I contact the Charter Review Committee (CRC)?
17. Who approves changes recommended by the Charter Review Committee?
18. What is the timeline for Charter Review?
19. This sounds complicated; does Watertown have any help sorting this out?
20. Who should participate in Charter Review?
21. Why should I participate in the Charter Review?
22. How can I participate in Charter Review?
23. What are the main components of Watertown’s Charter?