What can contract chief opponents do now? It may be time for a referendum.
Today’s city council vote in favor of a contract fire chief does not have to be and should not be the end of the line for this issue.
Pursuant to Massachusetts General Law chapter 43 section 42, now that the city council has approved the contract fire chief switch, the citizens of Fall River can overturn the decision through implementing a referendum.
We, the voters, have twenty days to get a referendum petition signed by at least 12% of the registered voters of the city and submitted to the city council. The petition would then be filed with the city clerk and it would immediately suspend the measure from taking effect. According to Massachusetts law, the city council must immediately reconsider the measure. If the city council does not rescind the measure within twenty days after the date of the certificate of the registrars, the city clerk shall submit the petition, to a vote of the registered voters of the city in a special election.
Given the firefighters ability to get 4,000 signatures on their internet petition in a few short days, I have no doubt these persuasive firefighters would be able to get the support of 12% of the city’s registered voters to initiate the referendum. The city has approximately 45-50,000 registered voters, 12% of 50,000 is 6,000 signatures. I will happily offer my signature, so only 5,999 more to go!