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Charter Revision Flyer Printed, Forum Organized

An information mailer and community forum have been put together to get residents involved in November's charter revision vote.

The Board of Selectmen (BOS) approved a finalized version of the November 6 ballot on Friday, including nine revisions to the Town Charter that will appear with the federal and state elections in three weeks.

Voters will have the opportunity to review an explanatory text before casting their ballots on Election Day, however in an effort to provide as much information as possible, the selectmen decided to create an information brochure to send out as a mailer and a community forum has been organized for October 22 in the Brookfield High School (BHS) auditorium.

The information flyer [see attached] will be sent out next week, according to First Selectman Bill Davidson, and will include a sample ballot for voters to familiarize themselves with. (Residents can also find the explanatory text, sample ballot and the Charter Revision Commission’s final report on the town’s website.)

Davidson said that the flyer was sent to the Secretary of State’s office to be cleared for neutrality and that a single line was deemed potentially subjective and removed.

On Monday, residents can gather at BHS at 7 p.m. to hear from former Charter Revision Commission (CRC) members on why each alteration is being proposed and ask questions in a moderated format, led by local resident and WestConn political science professor Chris Kukk.

Each question will be introduced one at a time and a CRC member will explain the reasoning behind it. Afterward, Kukk will summarize the rationale and ask any necessary questions for clarification before opening it up to the audience for questions.

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All nine questions might be considered, but there will be a focus on appointing a Town Manager, electing the First Selectman separate from the Selectmen pool, allowing residents to add to a budget at the Annual Town Meeting, the ability to petition an action of the Board of Finance and increasing the number of signatures needed for certain petitions.

The original intention was to allow time for a response in opposition to each proposal after the CRC member spoke, however, according to Selectman Howard Lasser, one of the organizers of the forum, “no one has come forward to present the alternative view.”

Rob Gianazza October 22, 2012 at 07:43 PM
I won't get into the philosophical differences, but I would like some technical concerns addressed. From Question 1a) C5-1 The First Selectman, during his or her term of office, shall not hold any civil office that provides compensation under the government of the United States, the State of Connecticut or any subdivision thereof, except that of notary public or Justice of the Peace. Why was this stricken? What does this have to do with a Town Manager? Note the old C5-4 and C5-5 have been renumbered C5-3 and C5-4 respectively. They both contain changes, but are not identified in any of the ballot questions. Removing the text "the remaining member of the Board of Selectmen" appears to be in reference to Question 2, however is not referenced. C5-3B. In the event of absence or disability or should the Chairman Pro Tempore be unable to carry out said duties, another member of the Board of Selectmen, elected by his fellow members, shall carry out all of the duties of the First Selectman.
Rob Gianazza October 22, 2012 at 07:44 PM
From Question 1c) C6-11A The Board of Selectmen may appoint an interim town manager during the absence, disability or resignation of the manager. Said interim manager may be an elected town official who may serve as interim town manager for a period not longer than one (1) year. In the event that a current town official is appointed, such appointee shall resign from the town office held before appointment as interim town manager. So if there is a two month interim period, an elected or appointed town official must resign inorder to accept a short term appointment? Why couldn't they do this concurrently? Since the Board of Selectmen can appoint this person, isn't this a means to remove someone from an elected office?
Rob Gianazza October 22, 2012 at 08:14 PM
More from Question 1c) C8-5. Special appropriations and transfers of appropriations. Many of these changes are associated with questions 6 & 7. The reference needs to be more specific in regards to 1c. C6-1 Should be better defined as what is attributable to Question 1c and Question 9f? Section C5-4 is not referenced, nor is it stricken. However it is frequently cited as the means for paying the Town Manager. Unless this language is stricken, the First Selectman can be paid any amount deemed by the Annual Town Budget. C5-4 The First Selectman shall receive such compensation as may be determined by the approved Annual Town Budget.
Rob Gianazza October 22, 2012 at 08:53 PM
Final concerns. The CRC Final Report has changes in C4-12 and C9-1c that are not referenced on the ballot. I believe they should be associated to question 1a and question 4 respectively. Also, the CRC Final Report has the word "adequate" and the ballot has "Appropriate". What, if any, are the legal ramifications of these omissions?
Steven DeVaux October 22, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Look at it another way, like Obamacare - if the language is so convoluted as to put the same face on a person as biting into a lemon....then the answer is it wasn't done right and should be dismissed as too complex. Great ideas are simple ones that need no great expository to explain. If you have to hold a tutorial as to how people want you governed, say no and make them start over again. The answer is simple, you don't have to 1) compromise 2)be insulted as incapable of understanding your government and 3) go to a public hearing to hear other peoples opinions. You are a child of the universe and you have an opinion. Express it in the privacy of the voting booth where the Delphi Technique can't be used on you.

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