VOTE 'Yes' on Charter Revision #8

This proposal gives MORE voice to the people of Brookfield.

Charter revision #8 reads, “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)?”


Those that have rejected some of the proposed charter revisions, specifically #1 and #2 (Town Manager and BOS to 5 members, respectively), have used a number of arguments repeatedly against these two proposals. Things like:

  • that this is “bigger government”
  • that this is a “sure and steady slide to a form of government that minimizes and limits the direct access, influence and power of Brookfield voters in determining the future direction of the Town.”
  • that this is an “attempt to force through change which is good for the minority seeking to control the majority."
  • that this will “limit or restrict community input and grant more authority to those that are elected or appointed.”
  • that “The First Selectman should remain the person in charge, directly accountable to the voters for his/her actions."
  • that “What we need is LESS government not MORE!!”

All of these are direct quotes from people here on The Patch. These folks, and many others, oppose these first two questions based on their stated rationale.

I don't agree, but OK, fine.

But why would many of them (and I believe all of them in some form have) reject(ed) proposal number 8??? 

This proposal gives MORE authority to the people of the Town.

As it stands now, if enough people in the Town come to the annual Town Meeting about the budget, they can move and vote to DECREASE the recommended budget proposal by line item that has been put forth by the Board of Finance (the proposed budget would still need to go to a Town referendum and be approved by the voters). The people have that power. 

But what the people CAN’T do under the current charter is move and vote to INCREASE the budget line items in the proposal. 

You – the voter, tax payer, and resident - can’t do that. 

Only the BOF (the “government” in this case) has that power and you can’t do a thing about it once they decide.

Why then can’t enough people (the same amount that can LOWER a budget) require that a budget proposal be raised to the level that was proposed by the other Boards?

It should also be noted that there would be a limit on increases under this revision; budgets would only be able to go to the level voted on and approved by the BOE or BOS, so it's not the “wild west.” Increases would only go to the level approved by people elected to boards.

 Also, these actions (increasing and decreasing) are for budget line items, not the general budget. The school budget is a single line item, so that's simple. But suppose the town side included funding for Cadigan Field and the BOF eliminated that. The motion to increase would need to be specific that funds would be restored for this purpose (restored to that line in the budget). Again, not the wild west.

Try this example:

Let’s say, you hear the Board of Selectmen and Board of Education go through their respective budget proposals. Let’s say, you think they are reasonable and you would vote to support them both.

But now those budgets go through the Board of Finance (as they should since the BOF is the Town’s fiscal authority). And let’s say that the BOF cut each budget or line items in, what appears to you to be, a reckless or short-sighted manner.

Guess what? You can’t do a thing to restore those budgets to their original proposed levels. You can show up and make public comment and try to persuade your elected BOF to change their position, but you have no ability to actually restore those levels. You may never get to vote on the original proposals by the BOS and BOE.

But you can reduce those levels at the annual Town Meeting.

How is that democratic??? 

Where is the protest over “big government” and the “nanny state” for this??? 

Why aren’t Brookfielders allowed and/or capable of increasing what they are allowed to decrease?

Proposition #8 gives the people that power and it should be confirmed at the polls on November 6.

Vote “YES” on charter revision #8.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Victor Katz November 05, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Wow, small minded? This comes from a guy who resorts to reading cliff notes? People will make their own conclusions when they read this thread in its entirety and see that the same guy who began all the unfounded accusations deflected to a topic completely irrelevant and since the start could not provide a simple answer to the subject of the original post, not to mention the insults have now begun as well. The same guys who blatantly and publicly lied and therefore holds zero credibility, And let's not talk about the vast majority of the republicans in this town who have turned away from the BRTC simply because they don't agree with anything that this organization stands for anymore. Anyway, back to the original subject - Charter Revision.
Chris Delia November 05, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Victor, I am done playing this little game of yours. Say what you want but I have more credibility, honor and morals in one finger than you, Ray and Jane put together. I have done more for this community and this country than you could ever hope to achieve and I did it for love of country, not self-interest. Now if you want to debate the issues, i.e. why Jane and Ray will not tell the parents how they got their email addresses or why they do not think parents have a right to know who they are obtaining their private email accounts I will discuss it. Once that is answered I will talk about the charter. If you want to continue to act like a child by calling names like a child I am done with you. Funny, to my face your all smiles and polite, but you talk like a tough guy when you’re behind a computer. Just like a child.
Glenn Hofsess November 05, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Dr. Appleby, While I often find your posts to be based on speculation and/or unverifiable/questionable sources, picking on the Center School PTO is truly hitting rock bottom. As you should know, the PTO is a volunteer group of hardworking parents who support the school, the staff, and raise money privately to purchase a myriad of items for the school. Let me repeat, they raise money privately to purchase items for the school. This is a concept I am sure even you can appreciate. I find your inference about the CES PTO completely baseless and particularly disgraceful coming from an elected town official. Volunteer organizations in our town should be supported by our elected officials, not disparaged.
Dr. Robin Appleby November 05, 2012 at 10:18 PM
I would like to say something about Mr. Delia that he would never say himself. He is a United States Marine who was wounded in combat protecting America. He worked for the New York Police Department on the streets fighting gangs. He worked for the F.B.I fighting gangs and violence in this country. He is a decent, honest hardworking guy who gives 110 % in everything he does. He loves this town. He has coached many sports teams for Brookfield's youth. He is a loving husband and parent who always puts his family first. He is a good Catholic person who exemplifies what it means to be a Christian. If I am not mistaken he works for security protecting very important people in this country. I think that to denigrate the character of this fine American is beneath contempt. Semper Fi .... Chris Delia.......We are very lucky to have a man of your caliber in Brookfield.
Victor Katz November 05, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Right, it's those who boast about what and how much they have done for this country... There is actually nothing funny about this, and I WAS tolerating you until today. You don't know anything about me so do yourself a favour and stop blaming me for calling you names while you are calling me names in the same breath. Dr. Appleby, pick a side and stick with it. At least with Chris it's crystal clear.
Aaron Boyd (Editor) November 05, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Hey everyone, This thread has gotten pretty far off track — can we call the slate even and start over talking about Charter Revision 8 or the others up for consideration Tuesday.
Catherine Malek November 05, 2012 at 10:35 PM
I am on the directory committee and we absolutely do not give out those e-mails. It's for correspondence if we have questions about their order. I have hundreds of checks I need to stamp in my spare time and then prepare the deposit from the spreadsheets I have been sent from our VOLUNTEER order processors. If you want, Dr. Appleby, I'll send you the spreadsheets to prove that e-mails were not entered on the spreadsheets. You sure have nerve accusing the PTO. Unbelievable.
Catherine Malek November 05, 2012 at 10:37 PM
And I'm sure you'll come back saying something like YOU weren't the one accusing the PTO, you were merely relaying what the parents thought. Spare me, please.
Steven DeVaux November 05, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Oh no. First the "Mail incident of 2001" and now an "email incident". At least it the schools and not the post office resolving it this time.
Steven DeVaux November 05, 2012 at 10:40 PM
...and then there was the issue of a former First Selectman's mail for those who remember - and that was United States Postal mail to boot.
Steven DeVaux November 05, 2012 at 10:41 PM
More like Germany ala 1930's.
Ray DiStephan November 05, 2012 at 10:42 PM
I have answered all that I am going to answer on this. If you suspect wrongdoing, I have directed you as to where you need to go to file. I hope people will vote YES on # 8 tomorrow.
Steven DeVaux November 05, 2012 at 10:44 PM
They should worry about the education of Brookfield's children. They are too heavily involved in other things and it's clear that this board of education has taken it's eye off the ball for too long. Remember next November. In the mean time protect your rights Robin and vote no on all the resolutions. It's clear there are personal agendas on the CRC.
Steven DeVaux November 05, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Robin, Only two people showed up at the Veterans Memorial on Veterans day besides myself. Apparently, there was a ceremony of convienience some other day that fit into the First Selectman's schedule better. Besides it was cold and windy like most years. All the previous selectmen, who were veterans, were always there on that day because they understood.
LFerrara November 05, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Parent email addresses are public knowledge. Once we add our information to the PTO and/or public school directories it is out there for anyone to have basically. I'm pretty certain Ray and Jane did not go creeping in the dark with a flashlight while we were all sleeping to steal these precious email addresses! Who cares how they got them, anyone of us can acquire the same list. What is disappointing is that they were used for this purpose. When we provide our information, we do so assuming it is for school purposes, to faciliate communication between our families and school/town events. The email was basically spam. It sets an ugly precedent that two people who hold positions in the Bd of Ed used it for their own personal agendas. Now what? How many others will do the same for a variety of other reasons. The result of this will be parents questioning making their information public at all...and communication will be stifled.
Tami Doto Coleman November 05, 2012 at 10:55 PM
The Center School PTO does not share or distribute e-mail addresses. Additionally, the Directory does not fall under CES PTO as it is a system-wide effort. I did speak with the coordinator for the Directory and she confirmed that while e-mail addresses are requested on the form, they are exclusively used to contact someone should a question arise from the order. She stated that these e-mail addresses are never published or released in any way. The only e-mail addresses that appear in the directory are those of the PTO board members, the school administrators and the faculty.
LFerrara November 05, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Thank you for that clarification Tami. So then parent email addresses are not public knowledge? I stand corrected.
Tami Doto Coleman November 05, 2012 at 11:26 PM
The PTO’s success relies almost solely on active parent involvement and participation. We use the e-mail addresses to drum up our volunteer pool for all the various programs and activities that the CES PTO provides for the children at Center Elementary. We have never been approached by anyone to share that information and if we were, we would respectfully decline.
Steven DeVaux November 06, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Steven DeVaux November 06, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Who's selling Sleepy matresses...yes Sleepy matresses in public buildings and advertising it using the school email system? The PTO's is who.
Steven DeVaux November 06, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Brookfield really does need a third party like A Brookfield Party to create tri-partisanship.
Steven DeVaux November 06, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Welcome to the "new" Brookfield Bob.
Catherine Malek November 06, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Surprise, wrong again. That wasn't the PTO.
Steven DeVaux November 06, 2012 at 12:54 AM
It was: For additional information please contact Bob Tonne of Custom Fundraising Solutions: btonnecfs@gmail.com
LFerrara November 06, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Tami, I'm not in any way saying the PTO handed over the emails, I thought they are public information. I think the reasons you use parent emails are appropriate...obviously. I don't think the PTO, not the realm of it that i am familiar with anyway, has anything to do with this nonsense. I'm sure you already know this, since you know me, I just want to be extra clear ;) Center school's PTO rocks! Hands down!
Tami Doto Coleman November 06, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Thanks, Laila! I know you and I do appreciate your comments. I just wanted to make it perfectly clear that the assumptions being made were incorrect.
Catherine Malek November 06, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Mr. DeVaux, you really need to read your Brookfield Public School e-blasts more carefully! Not every fundraiser is organized by the PTO, but I'm sure the BHS Special Chorus appreciates you giving the contact information to help their cause. Are you on Danbury School's e-mail distribution list, too?
Johnny Toto November 06, 2012 at 02:37 AM
How have Chris D's comments not been removed? All he has done is lied and insulted people. Really speaks to what kind of person he claims to be...
Chris Delia November 06, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Fair enough Victor, the names have been flying on both sides and it has taken away from all our arguments. Having said that, I am not sure what you mean by “you have been tolerating me” but by all means feel free to stop tolerating me at any time.
Bill Tinsley November 06, 2012 at 03:29 PM
In my opinion, as a former Board of Finance member and Chairman, the passage of Charter Revision Question 8 will assure that Brookfield taxpayers will be faced with runaway spending proposals at budget referendums. So if you want "sky is the limit" spending, and higher and higher property taxes, then a Yes vote will do it. My vote is NO! on Question 8.


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