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February 26, 2009 Meeting Minutes
TOWN OF EAST WINDSOR
CHARTER REVISION COMMISSION

Regular Meeting
February 26, 2009

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


The Meeting was called to order at 6:55 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, Co-Chairman John Matthews, Members Donald Arcari (arrived at 7:32 p.m.), Claire Badstubner, Karen Gaudreau, Joyce Phillips, Scott Riach, Charles Riggott, Madeleine Thompson, and Bonnie Yosky,

Absent: Edward Farrell

Guests: Attorney Steve Mednick, consultant to the Commission.

ADDED AGENDA ITEMS:

Ø       Co-Chairman Butenkoff acknowledged the following Agenda additions:  
Ø       Appearance of Charter Members at March 3rd Board of Selectmen Meeting
Ø       Review Preambles - choose one
Ø       Review number of referendums required before going to the previous year’s budget + CPI
Ø       Review change of date of Annual Budget Meeting
Ø       Appearance, or information from, Assessor and/or Tax Collector regarding process to create annual tax bills
Ø       Review of Section 4-6:  emergency Powers A) Declaration of an Emergency (See Attorney Mednick’s revisions)/Commission to decide the minimum                              number of Selectmen required to call an emergency
Ø       Commissioner Gaudreau to report on her review of ordinances relative to creations of boards/commissions/ do they need to be listed in the charter?
Ø       Administrative Housekeeping/Community Day.

DISCUSSION OF TOP 5/follow up to discussion with Attorney Steve Mednick:

Attorney Mednick submitted a revised draft of proposals discussed during the February 24th Drafting Meeting.  He summarized the revisions as follows:

Ø       Preamble - choice of three

Ø       CHAPTER II - ELECTIONS AND ELECTED OFFICIALS.  Attorney Mednick reported he has combined much of the information presented in the current charter under         CHAPTER III - DUTIES OF TOWN OFFICERS, BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS with Chapter II.  He is listing the various elected officials, defining their term of office, and noting staggered terms as Group A and Group B.   Chapter III is therefore significantly reduced.

Co-Chairman Butenkoff questioned Attorney Mednick if the Commission could recommend the elimination of Constables as an elected position?  Attorney Mednick indicated the position could be eliminated but the decision was that of the Commission.  Discussion moved on.

Ø       Section 4-6   Emergency Ordinances (changed to Emergency Powers).  Attorney Mednick has redrafted the powers of the First Selectman and a number of the members of the Board of Selectmen to declare a public emergency.  The Commission must decide the        number of members of the Board of Selectmen that are required to declare the emergency.  This redrafted section also eliminated Section 8-6 (Emergency Appropriations) of the current charter.  Attorney Mednick has suggested the Commission consider if they prefer to put a cap on the amount of funding appropriated for a public emergency.

Ø       CHAPTER V - No changes proposed.

Ø       CHAPTER VI - DEPARTMENTS AND APPOINTED OFFICIALS.  Attorney Mednick  has added sub-sections giving the Town the ability to create such departments      and officials deemed necessary to carry out the functions of the town, and outlining the qualifications of appointed officials.   “Other Appointed Officials” now deletes specific positions (town planner, or director of emergency management) and replaces those positions with functions/disciplines to be managed (such as town planning, emergency management)

Ø       CHAPTER VII - BOARDS, AUTHORITIES, COMMISSIONS AND
ASSOCIATIONS.   Attorney Mednick continues to work on revisions for this chapter.

Ø       CHAPTER VIII - FINANCE AND TAXATION - The Commission will review their previous revisions to this chapter at the March 3rd Drafting Meeting.   Commissioner Gaudreau reported the Assessor and Tax Collector will attend that meeting to discuss the affect of the passage of the budget on setting the mill rate and processing tax bills.

LET THE RECORD SHOW Attorney Mednick left the Meeting at 7:30 p.m.

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.

PREVIOUS MEETING MINUTES/comments and acceptance:

MOTION: To APPROVE the Minutes of February 12, 2009 as written.

Riach moved/Badstubner seconded/
VOTE:  In Favor:  Badstubner/Gaudreau/Riach/Riggott/Thompson/Yosky
          Opposed:  No one
          Abstained: Phillips

WRITTEN INPUT SUBMITTED TO CRC:     Nothing presented.

ADMINISTRATIVE HOUSEKEEPING/(a) Community Day:

Ø       Co-chairman Butenkoff reported a meeting is being held on March 3rd regarding preparation for  Community Day (May 9th); he felt the Commission should be available at a booth to discuss the proposed charter changes with the public.  Commissioner Riach      volunteered to attend the meeting and report back to the Commission.

Ø       Commissioner Gaudreau volunteer to prepare the legal advertisement for the Commission’s Public Hearing scheduled for March 26th.

ADMINISTRATIVE HOUSEKEEPING/(b) Query members for other items review of Added Agenda Items:

Ø       Appearance of Charter Members at March 3rd Board of Selectmen Meeting:

Co-Chairman Butenkoff and Commissioner Yosky volunteered to attend the Board of Selectmen Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 3rd, at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Hall Meeting Room to discuss the status of the charter revisions.  

Discussion points to be:  1) automatic referendum, 2) splitting the annual budget into two referendum choices - town and education, 3) charter to become the town’s     constitution, and 4) what questions should be presented on the November ballot?

Ø       Review number of referendums required before going to the previous year’s budget + CPI:

Co-Chairman Butenkoff recalled for the Commission that Attorney Mednick had suggested that there are specific statutory requirements to have a budget in place by July 1st annually, and that there are specific rules as to what must be done.  He has suggested       what the Commission is currently proposing is in conflict with those requirements.      Discussion followed with various Commissioners voicing opposing views.   Commissioner Gaudreau clarified that the discussion which occurred during the workshop/drafting meeting was that the town needs to have a final budget in place before July 1st.   The recommendation from the workshop was that if the budget were not approved by June 15th the budget would revert to the current budget.  Commissioner Gaudreau reported that Attorney Mednick is not in favor of unlimited referendums.  

Commissioner Badstubner favored unlimited referendums but that language should be drafted to prevent the Town from being in conflict with the Statutes (C.G.S.)  Commissioner Riggott felt a lot of money is wasted for the cost of unlimited referendums, cuts to the budget cause cuts to public services; he is against unlimited referendums.  Commissioner Arcari likes 3 referendums, with the budget reverting back to the previous year’s budget, as he feels that forces the presentation of realistic budgets.  Co-Chairman Butenkoff felt June 15th is a more realistic date.  Commissioner Thompson recalled she and Commission Phillips proposed language which allowed 21 days between referendums, which essentially limited the referendums to 2.  Commissioner Gaudreau indicated she is against unlimited referendums, as the Town needs to have a budget in place before July 1st to be able to set the mill rate and process the tax bills to collect revenue.  The consensus of the Commission, with the exception of Commissioners Gaudreau and Riggott, was to have continuous referendums until the budget is approved by the people, but to have an interim budget as allowed by the C.G.S.

MOTION: To have an automatic and continuous referendums until the budget is passed by the people.

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

Ø       Review Preambles - choose one:

MOTION: To approve preamble #2 as written by Attorney Mednick.

Phillips moved/Arcari seconded/
VOTE: In Favor:  Arcari/Phillips/Riach/Thompson/Yosky
                Opposed:  Gaudreau/Riggott/Badstubner
Abstained:  Matthews

Preamble approved:  “We, the people of East Windsor, Connecticut, desirous of achieving a more perfect state of civil society, grateful for the liberty we enjoy as a matter of right, and fully cognizant of our duties as free men and women, hereby adopt this Charter for the more efficient, efficacious and equitable transaction of our public business.”

Ø       Review change of date of Annual Budget Meeting:

To be discussed at March 3rd Drafting Meeting.

Ø       Appearance, or information from, Assessor and/or Tax Collector regarding process to create annual tax bills:

The Assessor and Tax Collector will attend the March 3rd Drafting Meeting to discuss this issue.

Ø       Review of Section 4-6:  Emergency Powers A) Declaration of an Emergency (See Attorney Mednick’s revisions)/Commission to decide the minimum number of Selectmen required to call an emergency:

See discussion under Attorney Mednick’s remarks at the beginning of the meeting         regarding the Declaration of a Public Emergency.

The Commission decided to leave the language as it now appears; two (2)          members of the Board of Selectmen (in addition to the First Selectman) are required to declare a public emergency.

Ø       Commissioner Gaudreau to report on her review of ordinances relative to creations of boards/commissions/ do they need to be listed in the charter?

(This discussion actually occurred after discussion of the position of constables, but is presented at this location in the Minutes as it is an Added Agenda Item).

At  previous Commission Meetings and during the Drafting Meetings two questions came up repeatedly:  1)  Were Commissions/Boards/Associations created by Statutory authority, Ordinance or appointment; 2) If Commissioners/Boards/Associations were listed in a charter but might NOT have been created by the C.G.S, Ordinance or appointment did listing them in the charter take precedence and make the entity a permanent/official Commission/Board/Association?  Commissioner Gaudreau presented the Commission with a chart of  Commissions and Boards which were created by Ordinance, and then specified the Ordinances which created or amended those entities.

No action was taken on this Item of Business this evening, but is available for the March       3rd Drafting Meeting when further discussion may occur regarding CHAPTER VII - BOARDS, AUTHORITIES, COMMISSIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS.  

REVIEW OF CRC MEMBERS input for proposed revisions/a)  Discussion Section 3-2:  elected Officers, Boards, and Commissions regarding position of Constables:

Commissioner Arcari felt the position of Constable should be ceremonial only, with no enforcement powers like a cop, or collecting taxes.  Commissioner Gaudreau clarified that the Tax Collector would have to give a warrant to a Constable to enable him/her to collect delinquent taxes.  Other Commissioners voiced varied opinions.   The consensus of the Commission was to leave the position of Constable in the charter as an elected official.

DISCUSSION OF TOP 5/(a)  Review of currently proposed changes/review for consistency, clarity, and compatibility:

Review tabled.

BRAINSTORM FOR ADDITIONAL ITEMS, NO COUNTER POINTS:

Nothing presented.

2nd PUBLIC PARTICIPATION:  No one was present to present discussion.

GUIDANCE FOR NEXT MEETING:      Nothing presented.

ADJOURN:

MOTION: To ADJOURN this Meeting at 8:20 p.m.

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

Respectfully submitted,
_______________________________________________
Peg Hoffman, Recording Secretary
East Windsor Charter Revision Commission