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May 8, 2008 Meeting Minutes
TOWN OF EAST WINDSOR
CHARTER REVISION COMMISSION

Regular Meeting - May 8, 2008           
TOWN OF EAST WINDS OR

***** Draft Document - Subject to Commission Review *****


The Meeting was called to order at 7:02 p.m. by Co-Chairman John Matthews in the Town Hall Meeting Room, 11 Rye Street, Broad Brook, CT.

ATTENDANCE:

Present:        Co-Chairman John Matthews, Co-Chairman George Buttenkoff, Members Donald Arcari, Claire Badstubner, Edward Farrell, Karen Gaudreau, Scott Riach, Charles Riggott, Madeleine Thompson, and Bonnie Yosky,

Absent: Jason Bowsza and Joyce Phillips.

ADDED AGENDA ITEMS:

Co-Chairman Matthews referenced the “Call for Public Input Letter” with the Commission, noting their intent was to make this letter available to the general public.  

MOTION: To ADD the “Call Letter” to this AGENDA.

Yosky moved/Buttenkoff seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:  Unanimous

Discussion followed regarding various methods of requesting public input, including press releases to 3 local newspapers, attachment to Town Hall Website, and booth at Community Day.

MOTION: To submit “Call Letter” as a press release this week.

Buttenkoff moved/Reich seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:  Unanimous

PREVIOUS MEETING MINUTES:

MOTION: To APPROVE the Minutes of April 17, 2008 as published.

Buttenkoff moved/Riggott seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:  Unanimous

ADMINISTRATIVE HOUSEKEEPING/a.  Quorum requirements:

Co-Chairman Matthews noted 12 individuals had been appointed to this Commission, however, the resignation of Jason Bowsza, representing the Board of Finance, reduces the present number to 11 members.  Discussion followed regarding defining the number required to establish a quorum.

MOTION: That the quorum requirement be identified as 7 members.

Buttenkoff moved/Riggott seconded

DISCUSSION:  Is the 7 members a requirement for establishment of a quorum, or for voting purposes?  Members cited various documents as research sources.

The above motion was withdrawn.

MOTION: To TABLE the quorum requirement issue until the Connecticut General Statutes can be reviewed.

Gaudreau moved/Yosky seconded/
VOTE:   In Favor:       Arcari/Badstubner/Farrell/Gaudreau/Matthews/Riach,                                      Riggott/Thompson/Yosky
                Opposed:        Buttenkoff
                Abstained:      No one

Discussion continued regarding voting process.  

ADMINISTRATIVE HOUSEKEEPING/b.  Votes to pass non Charter items/c.  Votes required to pass Charter Questions:

MOTION: To ACCEPT a bare majority of the members in attendance as the                   quorum number to advance a question to the final document to                    submit to the Board of Selectmen.

Buttenkoff moved/Yosky seconded/
VOTE:   In Favor:       Arcari/Badstubner/Buttenkoff/Gaudreau/Matthews/
                                Riach/Riggott/Thompson/Yosky
                Opposed:        Farrell
                Abstained:      No one

MOTION: To RESCIND the motion to TABLE the quorum requirement issue until the Connecticut General Statutes can be reviewed.

Gaudreau moved/Yosky seconded/VOTE:     In Favor:       Unanimous

ADMINISTRATIVE HOUSEKEEPING/d.  Meeting calendar:

Co-Chairman Mattews submitted a proposed meeting calendar for the Commission’s review.
MOTION: To ACCEPT the 2008-2009 East Windsor Charter Revision                           Commission Calendar as submitted.

Riggott moved/Buttenkoff seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:   Unanimous

ADMINISTRATIVE HOUSEKEEPING/e.  When to include public participation in meetings:

Discussion followed regarding various options for providing community/public participation.

MOTION: To TAKE PUBLIC PARTICIPATION following the approval of previous meeting minutes, and again towards the end of the meeting.

Riach moved/Buttenkoff seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:  Unanimous

ADMINISTRATIVE HOUSEKEEPING/f.  Selection of Recording Secretary:

MOTION: To HIRE Peg Hoffman as the Commission’s Recording Secretary.

Gaudreau moved/Yosky seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:

Discussion followed regarding the availability of funds for payment.  Co-Chairman Matthews advised the Commission a $300 budget is available through the end of Fiscal Year 2008.  Per discussion with Ms. Hoffman it was agreed the initial meetings would be uncomplicated regarding discussion items and presentation.  Ms. Hoffman agreed to provide meeting minutes for $75/meeting ($300 divided by 4) until review of budget availability during Fiscal Year 2008 - 2009.

MOTION: To HIRE Peg Hoffman for the next 4 meetings at $75/meeting, with                        the amount of payment to be reviewed after the passage of the 2008 -                    2009 budget.

Buttenkoff moved/Yosky seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:  Unanimous

ADMINISTRATIVE HOUSEKEEPING/g.  Query members for other items:  No requests made.

MILESTONE DATES:

Co-Chairman Matthews noted the intent is to present this Charter revision to the public for a vote during the 2009 Election process - Election Day is 11/3/2009.  The following anticipated milestone processing dates were reviewed:


Completion of  Initial Draft    
3/12/2009
45 day period for public review

Final Public Hearing 45 days after draft being published
4/23/2009

15 days after Public Hearing recommendations given to BOS
5/14/2009

BOS has 30 days to respond

Charter Revision Commission makes final report  
6/11/2009

Referral of revised Charter to the Secretary of State the first week in Sept
8/13/2009

Charter, as revised, is published in local newspaper    
9/24/2009

Charter questions appear on November Election ballot *
11/3/2009


*  Commissioners Gaudreau and Badstubner noted Absentee Ballots are available for the public 31 days (10/2nd) prior to the general election vote being held on 11/3/2009.  The Charter revision questions must be printed on those Absentee Ballots.  

FIRST PUBLIC HEARING SCHEDULE:

The Commission reviewed the process for publication of the Public Hearing, funding for the advertisement, and postage for mailings in lieu of e-mail posting.

MOTION: To HOLD THE FIRST PUBLIC HEARING ON MAY 22ND, 2008,                     AT 7:00 P.M., IN THE TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM, 11 RYE                     STREET, BROAD BROOK, CT.

Buttenkoff moved/Yosky seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:   Unanimous

HANDOUT OF DOCUMENTS/a.  Ellington, Granby, Somers, Suffield Charters/b.  East Windsor prior failed Charter/c.  Ellington’s Latest Questions on 2007 ballot:

Review prior to next meeting.

HANDOUT OF DOCUMENTS/d.  Atty McKenna’s opinion on Reval Phase In:

Co-Chairman Matthews referenced letter dated 4/24/2008 from John F. McKenna, Esquire (Town Counsel) regarding his opinion on the petition for the phasing-in of the recent property tax re-evaluations, and the petitioners request for a Special Town Meeting to address that issue.  That letter indicates that the authority to determine that decision has been conferred to the Board of Finance via State Statutes and those duties have been stated in the current Town Charter; the opportunity to address the petition request can be made via a BOF Public Hearing.  He further states that the request for a Special Town Meeting is unnecessary as the Town Charter provides the opportunity for the phase-in request to be discussed at the Budget Hearing.  Attorney McKenna’s recommendation is for the BOS to deny the petitioners request for the Special Town Meeting for the reasons stated in his letter.  

HANDOUT OF DOCUMENTS/e.  Robinson & Cole opinion on Police Commission authority for writing long term contracts:

Co-Chairman Matthews cited an employment contract initiated by the Police Commission with the Police Chief, and the terms of that contract.  The question had been raised as to whether the Police Commission had the authority to negotiate and sign that contract.  Co-Chairman Matthews referenced letter dated 10/29/2007 from S. Frank D’Ercole, Esquire citing the Town Charter created the Police Commission as an elected Board  subject to the powers granted under the Connecticut General Statutes (rather than an appointed Board with limited powers answerable to the BOS).  It is Attorney D’Ercole’s opinion that the neither the BOF, nor the BOS, can intercede in that contract obligation under the current Charter language.  Any change in that authority would require a Charter revision.   

BRIEF DISCUSSION OF HANDOUTS:   Review for next Commission meeting.

CRC MEMBERS INPUT FOR PROPOSED REVISIONS/a.  Brainstorm only, no counter points:

Co-Chairman Matthews polled members for possible Charter revisions.    The following suggestions/recommendations were made and are reflected in order of importance to the highest number of Commission members:


Split acceptance of Budget presentations - Board of Education vs. the Town
Automatic referendums, but continue Town Meeting process for public input
Revision of the timing of the budget process, review the effect of the Grand List issue on that process, move process up at least a month so as to not delay issuance of tax bills
Add questions to the Budget amount, i.e. would you like it lower?
Limit the number of Referendums offered, if Budget doesn’t pass after reaching that limit the Budget goes back to the amount which passed the previous year, also set the change at a specified percentage
Upgrade position of Treasurer to Finance Director
Simplify the Budget process, clarify if the BOF or the BOS sets the mil rate
Clarify if the ability to sign contracts for the Town lies with the Selectman, set specifics on the contract obligations, i.e. a cap on the amount of monetary obligation
Regarding the Warehouse Point Library, the Ambulance Association, and the Cemetery Association the Town needs to deal with these organizations on a contractual basis, and the parameters for those transactions needs to be set by Charter
Increase the amount (currently $20,000) requiring approval of a Town Meeting
Establish an East Windsor Fire Department - volunteer
Review of Cemetery Association, possibly integrate with Public Works or Parks and Recreation
No employee contracts can be signed unless approved by the BOF/BOS and Town Meeting
Planning and Zoning Commission should be elected
Have an annual budget process which is approved by the public, limit the ability to circumvent that process by individuals or individual Commissions
Improve voters rights and privacy, set a requirement for secret ballots for items of significant value
Uniform reductions to major line items, i.e. BOE, Police Department
Clarify the responsibilities, authorities, and procedures for filling vacancies for various Boards
Annual Report to provide more financial information and employee number information, annual report to include 5 year summarization of where the         Town has come from and where it’s going, create more transparency in reporting information

LET THE RECORD SHOW Commissioner Arcari left the meeting at 8:45 p.m.

MOTION: To TAKE A FIVE MINUTE BREAK.

Riach moved/Buttenkoff/VOTE:  In Favor:  Unanimous

The Commission RECESSED at 9:05 p.m. and RECESSED at 9:12 p.m.

BRIEF DISCUSSION ON PRIOR FAILED CHARTER IF TIME PERMITS/a.  What is salvageable, what’s not:

No discussion.

GUIDANCE FOR NEXT MEETING AGENDA:

Limit public participation to 10 minutes per speaker, allow for second round of public input if necessary, use sign-in sheet for those wishing to speak.

ADJOURN:

MOTION: To ADJOURN this Meeting at 9:23 p.m.

Buttenkoff moved/Riach seconded/VOTE:  In Favor:  Unanimous     



Respectfully submitted,

_______________________________________________
Peg Hoffman, Recording Secretary