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August 28, 2008 Meeting Minutes
        
TOWN OF EAST WINDSOR
CHARTER REVISION COMMISSION


Regular Meeting
August 28, 2008


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



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

ATTENDANCE:

Present:        Co-Chairman George Butenkoff, Members Donald Arcari, Claire                             Badstubner, Karen Gaudreau, Joyce Phillips, Scott Riach, , Madeleine                    Thompson, and Bonnie Yosky (arrived 7:05 p.m.).

Absent: Co-Chairman John Matthews, Edward Farrell, and Charles Riggott.

Guests: Kathy Pippin, representing the Board of Finance.

ADDED AGENDA ITEMS:             None.

PREVIOUS MEETING MINUTES/comments and acceptance:

MOTION: To APPROVE the Minutes of August 14, 2008 as published.

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

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION - The public is encouraged to provide their thoughts as succinct as possible.  CRC Members will not comment on the merits of an idea at this meeting but may ask questions to clarify the proposal.  A time limit may be imposed.

No one requested to speak.

WRITTEN INPUT SUBMITTED TO CRC:

Nothing presented under this Agenda Item.

ADMINISTRATIVE HOUSEKEEPING/(a):

The Recording Secretary advised the Commission a memo had been sent to First Selectman Menard noting the Commission’s receipt of requests from Eric Moffett, Chairman of the Economic Development Commission, and Town Planner Whitten regarding the
Inland/Wetlands Conservation Commission; a copy of those memos were forwarded on to the Board of Selectmen for action.  

Memos were also sent to Chairman Moffett and Town Planner Whitten advising them of the Charter Revision Commission’s referral of their memos on to the Board of Selectmen.   Copies of those memos were given to the Commissioners, and Mrs. Pippen before the meeting this evening.

ADMINISTRATIVE HOUSEKEEPING/(b) Query members for other items:  

Nothing presented.

REVIEW OF CRC MEMBERS input for proposed revisions:

Commission Members directed discussion to Section 8-4 Budget Meeting which was reviewed and revised at the July 14th Charter Revision Commission Meeting.  Commissioner Arcari, who was not present at the previous meeting, questioned the change from three referendums with reversion to the previous year’s budget upon failure of all three referendums to unlimited referendums.  The Commission concurred, noting the vote for the change was unanimous.  Commissioner Gaudreau reitereated her opinion that the Town couldn’t go back to the previous year’s budget because it would then be unable to comply with contractural obligations made during union negotiations.     

The Commission reviewed the revisions made at the previous meeting, noting Board of Finance (BOF) Acting Chairman DeSousa’s request for more time to prepare revised budgets.  Commissioner Badstubner noted that in order to hold a Public Hearing the current wording - 14 days - doesn’t allow enough time.  Commissioner Gaudreau noted the requirements for posting Legal Notices for the Public Hearings and Budget Meetings.  Discussion returned again to the lack of attendance at Public Hearings where the public can offer input; Commissoner Philips reitereated a reoccurring concern that going to automatic referendum takes away the Town Meeting form of government.  Commissioner Thompson noted a requirement in the Granby Charter that attendance at a Town Meeting must be a specific number of  people, then you could go to referendum.  Co-Chairman Butenkoff and Commissioner  Arcari reiterated their preference for the automatic referendum.  

Co-Chairman Butenkoff noted again the Commission’s need to sell the Charter changes; Co-Chairman Butenkoff and Commissioner Yosky volunteered to prepare a Powerpoint presentation.

Discussion returned to reworking the wording to allow a longer timeframe to prepare revised
budgets.

MOTION: To CHANGE THE 14 DAY REQUIREMENT TO TWENTY-ONE DAYS.

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

Commissioners Gaudreau and Badstubner reviewed the revised time line in relation to the

ability to actually acquire revised budget information.  Commissioner Yosky felt the first time the budget is submitted at the Town Meeting should be referred to referendum within 14 days, if the budget is rejected then the timeframe expands to 21 days.  Commissioner Gaudreau questioned that Commissioner Yosky was considering the Town Meeting the Public Hearing, and that no changes could be made to that budget?  Commissioner Yosky replied affirmatively to the concept of  the Town Meeting being the Public Hearing; Co-Chairman Butenkoff qualified that no changes could be made to the budget presented.

AMENDED MOTION: To CHANGE CONTINUE THE WORDING: “.....THE PROCEDURE FOR ADOPTING THE ANNUAL BUDGET SHALL BE BY REFERENDUM ON A DATE TO BE HELD WITHIN FOURTEEN DAYS AFTER THE ANNUAL BUDGET MEETING........”, AND TO CHANGE THE WORDING “..........SHOULD THE REFERENDUM VOTE REJECT THE BUDGET, ADDITIONAL REFERENDUMS AS NEEDED TO ADOPT A BUDGET SHALL BE RECONVENED BY THE MODERATOR WITHIN FOURTEEN  TWENTY-ONE  DAYS.......”.

Gaudreau moved the amended motion/Philips seconded the amended motion/VOTE:  Unanimous

The Commission also noted the following minor language change:  “THE SUM OF THE ESTIMATED EXPENDITURES AS RECOMMENDED BY THE BOARD OF FINANCE SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO THE QUALIFIED VOTERS FOR A YES OR NO VOTE ON THE BUDGET VIA VOTING MACHINES AND   AND/OR  PAPER BALLOTS.........”

PROPOSED CHARTER CHANGE:
Section 8-4  Annual Budget Meeting
Page 39-40

REVISIONS TO NEW PARAGRAPH 4:   
(NOTE:  Changes made at this meeting appear in grey shaded boxes)

THE ANNUAL BUDGET MEETING SHALL RECEIVE AND DISCUSS THE BUDGET AS SUBMITTED BY THE BOARD OF FINANCE.   AFTER DUE CONSIDERATION AND EXPLANATION OF THE BUDGET AS RECOMMENDED BY THE BOARD OF FINANCE, THE PROCEDURE FOR ADOPTING THE
ANNUAL BUDGET SHALL BE BY REFERENDUM ON A DATE TO BE HELD
WITHIN FOURTEEN DAYS AFTER THE ANNUAL BUDGET MEETING, AS SET BY THE ANNUAL BUDGET MEETING MODERATOR.  THE SUM OF THE ESTIMATED EXPENDITURES AS RECOMMENDED BY THE BOARD OF FINANCE SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO THE QUALIFIED VOTERS FOR A YES OR NO VOTE ON THE BUDGET VIA VOTING MACHINES AND AND/OR   PAPER BALLOTS BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 6:00 A.M. AND 8:00 P.M.  THE VOTING MACHINE LABELS AND BALLOTS SHALL BE PROVIDED BY THE TOWN CLERK.  THE BUDGET SHALL, IF APPROVED BY A MAJORITY OF THOSE VOTING IN THE REFERENDUM, BE ADOPTED.   SHOULD THE
REFERENDUM VOTE REJECT THE BUDGET, ADDITIONAL REFERENDUMS AS NEEDED TO ADOPT A BUDGET SHALL BE RECONVENED BY THE MODERATOR WITHIN FOURTEEN DAYS  TWENTY-ONE DAYS.  HOWEVER, A PUBLIC HEARING WILL BE HELD WITHIN SEVEN DAYS PRIOR TO EACH REFERENDUM.  PRIOR TO EACH REFERENDUM THE BOARD OF FINANCE SHALL REVISE THE REJECTED BUDGET.   A SUMMARY OF REVISIONS MADE BY THE BOARD OF FINANCE TO THE REJECTED BUDGET SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE PRIOR TO ANY SUCCEEDING REFERENDUMS.

THE NUMBER OF BUDGET REFERENDUMS SHALL BE UNLIMITED AND THE FINAL ANNUAL BUDGET WILL BECOME EFFECTIVE ONLY UPON APPROVAL BY A MAJORITY OF QUALIFIED VOTERS IN A REFERENDUM VOTE.  IN THE EVENT THE PROPOSED BUDGET IS NOT ADOPTED BY JUNE TWENTIETH, THE BUDGET ADOPTED FOR THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR SHALL BE DEEMED TO BE THE TEMPORARY BUDGET FOR THE COMING FISCAL YEAR AND EXPENDITURES MAY BE MADE ON A MONTH TO MONTH BASIS UNTIL SUCH TIME AS A SUBSEQUENT REFERENDUM VOTE FINALLY ADOPTS A NEW BUDGET.

IMMEDIATELY UPON APPROVAL OF A NEW BUDGET, THE BOARD OF FINANCE SHALL MEET TO SET THE TAX MIL RATE AND SHALL NOTIFY THE TAX COLLECTOR FORTHWITH.  OFFICIAL COPIES OF THE BUDGET AS FINALLY APPROVED SHALL BE FILED BY THE BOARD OF FINANCE WITH THE TOWN CLERK WITHIN FIVE DAYS OF THE APPROVAL.

DISCUSSION OF TOP 5(a)/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:

Commissioner Farrell had suggested this charter revision; at the July 10, 2008 Charter Revision Commission Meeting he offered the following language for consideration.  Co-Chairman Butenkoff read the draft language FOR THE RECORD.

NOTE:  For informational purposes only, the following is FIRST DRAFT language
proposal.  No action was taken on this proposal.

        The First Selectman is the Chief Contracting officer for the Town of East Windsor.  This means the First Selectman is the sole person with the authority to enter into, administer, and/or terminate contracts, purchase orders, or, without limitation, labor contracts or agreements of any kind which obligate the Town of any and all financial responsibility.  The First Selectman has the authority to contract for any dollar amount on his/her         signature up to $100,000.   Any amounts exceeding $100,000 require the approval of operating unit manager, the Chief Financial Officer, and the Board of Selectmen.  As the Chief Contracting officer the First Selectman may delegate signature authority to those persons who with the approval of the Board of Selectmen are deemed to require such authority for the effective operation of Town of East Windsor.  

Commissioner Gaudreau felt expenditures, such as office supplies, which are already approved via the budget process, should be signed for by department heads, rather than referred to the First Selectman; Commissioner Yosky felt the intent was to refer larger expenditures to the First Selectman.  Commissioner Philips questioned why the figure of $100,000 was specified, and why should that expenditure be approved again if already approved under the budget process?  Commissioner Yosky felt the intent regarded labor contracts.

Commissioner Philips cited the Commission’s previous addition of NEW Section 9-2 Employee Status:  ALL EMPLOYEES ARE “AT WILL” EMPLOYEES BY DEFINITION.  IF EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS ARE ISSUED THERE SHALL BE A TERM LIMITATION OF THREE (3) YEARS, AND ALL CONTRACTS MUST BE APPROVEWD BY THE BOARD OF FINANCE, BOARD OF SELECTMEN, AND TOWN MEETING.   FINANCIAL CONSIDERATION WILL BE DETERMINED ON THE BASIS OF THE ANNUAL BUDGET AND PERFORMANCE.  Commissioner Philips felt this section addressed employee contracts.   Commissioner Gaudreau was in disagreement with employee contracts going to Town Meeting, citing micro-management of the Selectmens’ job.  Commissioner Yosky suggested taking out “approval by Town Meeting”; Commissioner Gaudreau suggested taking out “approval by the Board of Finance” as they are not a policy-making board.  (No changes were made to NEW Section 9-2 Employee Status as a result of this discussion.)

Discussion returned to Commissioner Farrell’s draft language,  which would either become subsection E of Section 5-2 Power and Duties (of the First Selectman), or a new Section 5-3.    
Commissioner Gaudreau felt this section addresses General Town Government, not the Board of Education; the First Selectman is the negotiator for the Town for labor contracts, and signs for individual contracts and labor contracts.  Commissioner Gaudreau also questioned the need for the monetary figure in the draft lanaguge; Commissioner Yosky agreed; Co-Chairman Butenkoff felt it was appropriate.   Commissioner Arcari didn’t feel the First Selectman should have so much power.   Commissioner Riach cited language in the Ellington Charter regarding duties of the First Selectman which referenced signing contracts.  The Commission made the following language change:

MOTION: To CHANGE THE WORDING OF THE SECOND SENTENCE TO “THIS MEANS THE FIRST SELECTMAN IS THE SOLE PERSON WITH THE AUTHORITY TO ENTER INTO, ADMINISTER, AND/OR TERMINATE CONTRACTS, PURCHASE ORDERS, OR, WITHOUT LIMITATION, LABOR CONTRACTS OR AGREEMENTS OF ANY KIND WHICH OBLIGATE THE TOWN OF ANY AND AND ALL FINANCIAL RESPONSIBLITY.  

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

NOTE:  For information purposes only, further review and discussion found the Commission considered making the following additional changes (shown in BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS).  The following is A REVISED DRAFT language proposal.  No
action was taken on these additional language changes, other than the language reflected in the previous motion.  

The First Selectman, WITH THE MAJORITY APPROVAL OF THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN, is the Chief Contracting officer for the Town of East Windsor.  This means the First Selectman is the sole person with the authority to enter into, administer, and/or terminate contracts, purchase orders, or, without limitation, labor contracts or agreements OF ANY KIND  which obligate the Town of any and all financial responsibility. The First Selectman has the authority to contract for any dollar amount on his/her signature up to $100,000.   Any amounts exceeding $100,000 require the approval of operating unit manager THE DEPARTMENT MANAGER, the Chief Financial Officer, and the Board of Selectmen.  As the Chief Contracting officer the First Selectman may delegate signature authority to those persons who with the approval of the Board of Selectmen are deemed to require such authority for the effective operation of the Town of East Windsor.
 
No decision was made on listing a dollar amount presently shown in the third and fourth Sentence.

MOTION: To TABLE DISCUSSION ON AGENDA ITEM 8(a) - 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.

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

DISCUSSION OF TOP 5/(b) Regarding the Warehouse Point Library, the Ambulane Associatin, and the Cemetery Association the Town needs to deal with these organizations on a contractual basis, and the parameters for those trnasactions needs to be set by Charter:

This item of discussion had been raised by Commissioner Farrell; the Commission decided to TABLE further discussion until the next meeting.

MOTION: To TABLE DISCUSSION ON AGENDA ITEM 8(b)  - Regarding the Warehouse Point Library, the Ambulande Association, and the Cemetery Association the Town needs to deal with these organizations on a contractual basis, and the parameters for those trnasactions needs to be set by Charter - UNTIL THE COMMISSION’S NEXT REGULARLY SCHEDULED MEETING AT 7:00 P.M. IN THE TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM, 11 RYE STREET, BROAD BROOK, CT.

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

DISCUSSION OF TOP 5/(c)  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:

The Commission preferred to TABLE DISCUSSION ON AGENDA ITEM 8(c) - 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.  (Table of discussion made by the Chair.)

DISCUSSION OF TOP 5/(d)  Discussion of separate referendum for additional appropriations requested midway in the fiscal year:

The Commission felt this issue has been addressed already under the Section dealing with Additional Appropriations.
DISCUSSION OF TOP 5/(e)  Report of the Ordinance Sub-Committee (including review of addition of the Code of Ethics):

Commissioner Yosky continues to work on this Item of Business.

DISCUSSION OF TOP 5/(f)  Review timeframe of scheduling of referendum:

See discussion under AGENDA ITEM Review of CRC Members input for proposed revisions..

BRAINSTORM FOR ADDITIONAL ITEMS, NO COUNTER POINTS:

Co-Chairman Butenkoff suggested there is presently no provision for recall of the Charter as there is no General Statute allowing that provision.  He noted the Commission could request the recall provision via special legislation; he queried the Commission for their interest in pursuing that legislation.  The Commission was reluctant to begin that action.

Commissioner Yosky submitted copies of e-mail sent to her Charter Revision e-mail address (bkycrc@sbcglobal.net) ; the Commissioners can review the following for discussion at the next meeting:

        1)      E-mail of John Zawilinski dtd 7/27/2008

        2)      E-mail, unidentified sender, dtd 8/10/2008 regarding Windsted charter

Commissioner Gaudreau also noted the Commissioner had agreed earlier that residents could send e-mail correspondence to Commissioner Gaudreau’s Town Hall e-mail address:  KGaudreau@eastwindsorct.com.  

Co-Chairman Butenkoff called a RECESS at 8:40 p.m.   The Commission RECONVENED at 8:45 p.m.

2nd PUBLIC PARTICIPATION:       No one requested to speak.

GUIDANCE FOR NEXT MEETING:

a) - 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.

b) 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:

c)  Review of the 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:

d)      E-mail of John Zawilinski dtd 7/27/2008

e)      E-mail, unidentified sender, dtd 8/10/2008 regarding Windsted charter

f)  Report of the Ordinance Sub-Committee (including review of addition of the Code of Ethics)

ADJOURN:

Co-Chairman Butenkoff ADJOURNED this Meeting at 8:47 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

________________________________________________________________________
Peg Hoffman, Recording Secretary, East Windsor Charter Revision Commission


FOR PUBLIC INFORMATION:

E-mail correspondence regarding charter suggestions/changes can be sent to: KGaudreau@eastwindsorct.com    or   bkycrc@sbcglobal.net.