Brookfield OKs 2 Charter Revisions; Major Changes Fail

Voters pass two of nine revisions but deny both major governing changes as well as technical changes.

Correction: There were only 613 'yes' votes cast for Question 1 in District I, not 1,613 as originally reported, and 1,803 'no' votes cast in District I on Question 3, not 1,003. The amended returns do not change the final results, however the following vote analysis has been corrected.

Brookfield voters chose to approve two of the nine Charter Revisions proposed on the ballot Tuesday, amending the Town Charter to now allow for non-binding advisory questions on budget referendums and for residents to petition actions of the Board of Finance (BOF), as they can the Board of Selectman (BOS).

Participation in the voting for the questions ranged from just over 7,100 in the defeat of Question 3 (electing the First Selectman separate from the Selectmen) to just under 8,000 in the defeat of Question 2 (increasing the BOS to five members).

With just over 10,000 registered voters in Brookfield, approximately 79 percent of voters turned out to vote on the increased BOS proposal. The proposition failed by 2,047 votes, 5,016-2,696. (See chart below for full breakdown.)

Approximately 72 percent of registered voters cast a ballot for Question 1 (hiring a Town Manager), which was soundly defeated by margins of 3:1 at both polling places. The proposal gained a bit more support in absentee voting but ultimately failed 5,169-2,042, a difference of 3,127 votes.

Voters also rejected Question 9, a list of technical changes to the charter that were not meant to be substantive, 4,417-3,146.

The two questions to pass Tuesday night — No. 4 and No. 6 — looked to be narrowly defeated when returns came in from Huckleberry Hill Elementary School (HHES) and Brookfield High School (BHS), however a strong showing for both questions in absentee balloting brought the ‘yes’ votes ahead.

Though the margins are slim — 257 and 94 votes, respectively — they are not narrow enough to require a recount, according to Republican Registrar of Voters Jeff Dunkerton.

The seven revisions that failed all did so by more than 1,000 votes, with Question 8 (allowing residents to increase the budget at the Annual Town Meeting) failing by 3,471 votes, 5,667-2,196.

“Voters voted to keep the system in place that has served us well for years and will continue to serve us well into the future,” Republican Town Committee (RTC) Chairman Marty Flynn said from the RTC election night party.

“This wasn’t just the RTC against it,” Flynn said, referencing the Committee’s stance against Questions 1, 2, 3 and 8. “This was a win for the people of Brookfield… They took the time to research this — it was an educated vote and they don’t want a Town Manager and bigger government.”


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Question District 1 District 2 Absentee Total Yes Total No Difference (Yes-No) Total Votes Cast Yes No Yes No Yes No 1 613 1818 1189 3045 240 306 2042 5169 -3127 7211 2 910 1780 1719 2957 340 279 2969 5016 -2047 7985 3 878 1803 1741 2902 319 288 2938 4993 -2055 7931 4 1247 1349 2325 2230 433 169 4005 3748 257 7753 5 846 1721 1598 2886 281 314 2725 4921 -2196 7646 6 1212 1383 2286 2241 407 187 3905 3811 94 7716 7 942 1648 1851 2670 314 284 3107 4602 -1495 7709 8 662 1990 1311 3298 223 379 2196 5667 -3471 7863 9 932 1615 1884 2558 330 254 3146 4427 -1281 7573


Charter Questions

For an individual explanation of each charter question, see this article, with language approved by the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC).


Shall the Charter be amended to provide for a Town Manager with the following changes:

  • a) Modify the duties of the First Selectman (Article C5-1, C5-2);
  • b) Grant the Town Manager the authority to hire and fire town employees (C5-3);
  • c) Designate the duties of the Town Manager (C6-11, C8-2, C8-5, C8-7A, C8-7B, C6-1, C4-13)?


Shall the Charter be amended to provide for a five (5) member Board of Selectmen (C4-1), with the following changes:


Shall the Charter be amended to provide for the election of the First Selectman separately from the other Selectmen (C3-2A1 & 2)?


Shall the Charter be amended to allow the Board of Selectmen to place “non-binding” questions on the ballot for the town and education portions of the budget; the questions shall be limited to the following responses, “Too Low”, “Appropriate” or “Too High”?


Shall the Charter be amended to modify the number of electors required to sign a petition on a referendum to overrule the Board of Selectmen, or to initiate an Ordinance (C4-7, C4-7A, C4-7C, C4-8, C4-8A, C4-8C, C4-9B, C9-5)?


Shall the Charter be amended to provide for the right to petition actions of the Board of Finance or transfer to a special town meeting or referendum relative to special appropriations (C8-5B)?


Shall the Charter be amended to allow the Board of Selectmen to approve special appropriations in an amount not to exceed $50,000 (C8-5)?


Shall the Charter be amended to provide that if the number of electors present at the annual Town Meeting equals at least 4% of the registered town electors, then the annual Town Meeting may increase the Town Budget or Board of Education budget (C9-3B)?


Shall the Charter be amended to make certain technical changes:

  • a) Defining when appointees’ term ends in the event of a vacancy (C2-6D);
  • b) Adding specific authority allowing the Board of Selectmen to prosecute or defend lawsuits (C4-2);
  • c) Eliminating certain procedures at the first meeting of Board of Selectmen (C4-3);
  • d) Eliminating the word “bi-annually” relative to the requirement of First Selectman to review all Ordinances (C4-10B);
  • e) Adding words “at his or her expense” relative to legal representation at a suspension hearing (C4-11B2);
  • f) Changing the titles of certain named officers of the Town (C6-1);
  • g) Making language change relative to the Board of Selectmen’s authority over the Chief of Police (C6-9);
  • h) Eliminating alternates and thereby increasing the number of regular members on the Police Commission, Economic Development Commission and Library Board of Trustees (at their request), deleting the Gurski Commission from the list, bringing the Housing Authority language into compliance with State Statute and reordering the lists of Boards and Commissions to reflect those changes (C7-6);
  • i) Changing the number of days the Board of Finance has to act on a matter from thirty (30) days to forty-five (45) days (C8-5F);
  • j) Allowing Board of Selectmen to extend a previously authorized appropriation for an additional two (2) years (C8-7D);
  • k) Amending Addendum A, I, II, and III per Section C7-6?


Democratic Town Committee Supports Charter Revisions
Ron Jaffe: Why Opposition to Revisions is Wrong
Art Kerley: Revisions Would Mean Bigger Government
David Propper: Improve When Appropriate
Ray DiStephan: Vote Yes on Question 8
Howard Lasser: Charter Questions Deserve Support
Chris Delia: Vote No to Changing Brookfield Government

Letters to the Editor

Past and Present Board of Selectmen Members Oppose Revisions
Heather Creagh: Proposed Revisions are Bad for Brookfield
Stanley Parker: Against 5-Member Board of Selectmen
Dan Smolnik: Brookfield Needs a Town Manager
Audrey Standt: Longtime Resident Opposes Town Manager
Kerry Swift: Vote No on Charter Changes
Michelle Berg: Charter Revisions are Not Good for Brookfield
Bob Belden and Matt Grimes: Former Board Chairs Against Revisions

Michael Gianfranceschi November 07, 2012 at 07:58 PM
for someone who just insulted perhaps as much as 70% of the people that voted I'm "wondering" that it might be you who is out of touch..... just sayin'
Steven DeVaux November 08, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Holy Smokes! They're playing Deliverance's Dueling Banjos in Brookfield!
emily l. mcpadden November 09, 2012 at 12:49 AM
the outcome of the charter vote makes me very proud to be a brookfield resident.............it shows that we deeply care, and are fully educated........... we have taken our time to do things right.............one must forever live with their everyday choices....now we can sleep better at night................. no need to wonder who " wondering " is................emcp
paul gonzales November 09, 2012 at 06:56 AM
you all sound like a bunch of kids .i have a good idea now hear me out =.since nobody can agree on any thing lets just hire a manager to run the towns the state even the united states government. activate a draft system for congress -an senate.. 4 year terms[ 2 terms an your out] you must be a legal citizen with no felony convictions. after your tern is up you get your job back or equivalent to what you once had to your satisfaction-just think of the money we will save no graft back room deals an none of this school kid bickering- etc= something to ponder
Steven DeVaux November 09, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Paul, No one should hold office for more terms that the big kahuna, the president. Therefore your idea is completely sound in my view. And yes, I support constription - but for the military as well.


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