CHARTER REVISION COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
August 25, 2005
*Minutes taken by viewing Cox Cable Television broadcast of meeting.
I. Call Meeting To Order
Mr. Leborious called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. at the East Windsor Town Hall, 11 Rye Street, Broad Brook, CT.
In attendance: Richard LeBorious, Chairman, Noreen Farmer, Kathy Bilodeau, Ralph Saunders, Ed Filipone, Ralph Saunders, John Parda, Joe Roberts, Peter Nevers
Unable to attend: Cliff Nelson
III. Added Agenda Items – None.
IV. Public Participation – None
V. Previous Minutes
MOTION: To table the regular meeting minutes of August 8, 2005 to the next meeting
Made by Mr. Nevers, seconded by Mr. Filipone
VI. Continued review of the existing Charter and potential revision(s), specifically focusing on the following chapter(s) and related section(s):
a. Chapter I
b. Chapter II
c. Chapter III
Discussion regarding the August 8 meeting took place, specifically regarding the referendum idea and numbers and caps that need to be in place. This was felt to be an item that can be determined as the Charter is revised. The Commission again expressed concerns about how this process will play out, whether the Board of Selectmen will split the question and if the minor, necessary changes will take place, or the whole idea voted down due to the professional manager concept. The Commission discussed several ideas on how they can accomplish the task of making sure the necessary changes are made, while the form of government question can be decided separately. How to divide the question without voter confusion with the various scenarios was a large concern. The Commission discussed several
ideas on how to split the question or the possibility of providing two Charters to choose from. There can be several questions, but they need to be yes/no questions. The voters can chose no for everything and the current charter remain in place, as is.
The idea of designing the current Chapter 5 to read so that you could input the name First Selectmen or Professional Administrator, depending on the vote, but still give the powers that need to be given to a government leader, that way the stronger language is present, its just the specific title, be it elected or hired, needs to be input after the vote. The potential changes to various existing boards and commissions from powerful agencies to advisory agencies was discussed. This will evolve as the Charter is drafted, some will remain according to State Statute.
The Commission again outlined their consensus and support for the Professional Administrator concept for the Town of East Windsor and shared ideas of how to present it correctly to the citizens so they may see the benefit as well.
By Consensus the Commission wants to add the following preamble before the Charter:
We the people of the town of East Windsor, under the constitution and laws of the state of Connecticut, in order to secure the benefits of local self-government and to provide for an honest and accountable Board of Selectmen government do hereby adopt this charter and confer upon the town the following powers, subject to the following restrictions, and prescribed by the following procedures and governmental structure. By this action, we secure the benefits of home rule and affirm the values of representative democracy, professional management, strong political leadership, citizen participation, and regional cooperation.
No changes were suggested for Chapter One.
Brief discussion ensued regarding a comment made by the public that maybe more voting districts were necessary due to long lines seen in the past. The Commission felt this was an administrative issue, not a Charter issue, that could be resolved by a new location for voting or even maybe more voting machines.
No changes were made to Chapter Two.
** Legal Opinion to be obtained regarding what constitutes eligibility and if physical residence is required.
The structure of the First Selectmen, Board of Selectmen was discussed. A different chapter addresses definitions, this chapter addresses elections. Currently the practice is a cascading effect for First Selectmen, if the loser of the First Selectmen race garners enough votes, they become a member of the Board of Selectmen. This is not written in the charter, but is current practice. It was felt that this is not what needs to be done. The loser of the First Selectmen race does not automatically become a member of the Board of Selectmen if enough votes are received. This language will be incorporated into the Charter. Also, the term of the Board of Selectmen and the First Selectmen will be changed to two years terms, if, and only if, the Professional Administrator is in
place, otherwise it remains the same.
The Commission consensus was to draft the Charter with a six member Board of Selectmen, along with the First Selectman, constituting a seven member Board of Selectmen. No compensation will be given to Board of Selectmen members.
The Board of Finance was felt to be null and void if a Professional Administrator was in place. The checks and balances would still be in place, the Professional Administrator makes recommendations, the Board of Selectmen consider them and over a certain monetary amount items go to town meeting. The Board of Finance will be removed from the Charter if Professional Manager in place.
The Board of Education has been spoken to about input for any charter changes they are interested in, including member numbers, but no suggestions have been made to the Commission.
An elected Police Commission is not necessary if there is a Professional Administrator in place to take over the management responsibilities. Often times the Professional Administrator is named The Director of Public Safety so oversight can be provided when needed. It was suggested that an appointed Citizens Advisory Board would be appropriate in lieu of a Police Commission.
The Zoning Board of Appeals section will read as follows as the extra language was removed: “Zoning Board of Appeals - At each regular Town election, there shall be elected a sufficient number of members to the Zoning Board of Appeals to maintain its number at five members and three alternates for a term of four years each.”
The need for elected constables will be explored as they may be a bygone and no longer necessary.
MOTION: To adjourn 9:50 p.m.
Made by Ms. Bilodeau, seconded by Ms. Farmer.
ALL MEMBERS IN FAVOR. MOTION CARRIED.
Cynthia D. Croxford