Newton Board of Aldermen has a new name

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Written by Michael Norton

The Massachusetts House on June 30 passed legislation changing the name of the Newton Board of Aldermen to the gender-neutral  Newton City Council.

“I’m thrilled,” Board of Aldermen member Emily Norton told the State House News Service. “Every incremental step forward is very exciting.” Norton on June 16 pitched the bill to the Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government, saying the change was “really about modernizing our terminology to reflect our values.”

She said the term chair is now used instead of chairman and policemen are often now called police officers. And she drew chuckles at the hearing when she suggested the notion of calling her colleague Alderwoman Rick Lipof. The bill (H 3563) now moves to the Senate where Norton said Sen. Cynthia Creem of Newton is expected to push for its passage.

Asked about feedback she’s received on the bill since testifying, Norton said “most citizens aren’t paying much attention” and many think the home rule petition took effect when it was approved locally.

“People are already starting to use the term councilor,” she said.