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March 12, 2009 Meeting Minutes
TOWN OF EAST WINDSOR
CHARTER REVISION COMMISSION

Regular Meeting
March 12, 2009


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


The Meeting was called to order at 7:00 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 Claire         Badstubner, Karen Gaudreau, Joyce Phillips, Scott Riach, Charles Riggott, Madeleine Thompson, and Bonnie Yosky (arrived at 7:05 p.m.).
Absent: Member Donald Arcari, and Ed Farrell.

Guest:          Attorney Steve Mednick, consultant to the Commission.

ADDED AGENDA ITEMS:

Co-Chairman Butenkoff advised the Commission that Commissioner Phillips had submitted a fourth preamble for consideration.  This request will be heard under Agenda Item 8a. Review of CRC Members input for proposed revisions:


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.

There was no one from the public present.

Attorney Steve Mednick – discussion of proposed revisions/report on status of drafting committee:

Attorney Mednick presented the Commission with a copy of his recommended revisions for Chapter VII - Taxation and Finance.   The material is the result of discussion which occurred at a Drafting Meeting held on March 10th.  If the Commission needs more time to review the changes Attorney Mednick indicated they can approve the material after the Public Hearing (to be held on March 26th).  Attorney Mednick suggested the Commission consider holding a Special Meeting before the Public Hearing to review the changes.

MOTION: To HOLD A SPECIAL MEETING on next Thursday, March 19th, 2009, at 7:00 p.m.   Location of Special Meeting to be determined after review with the Selectmen’s Office.

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

Attorney Mednick reviewed briefly the proposed changes for Chapter VII: - Taxation and Finance:
Subsection 8-1  General Authority and Powers of the Board of Finance:
        Nothing changed.

Subsection 8-2  General Authority and Powers of the Board of Selectmen:
Entirely new language, which replaces references to specific dates for department and agency submissions.  New language gives the Board of Selctemen (BOS) the ability to provide data to the Board of Finance (BOF) under a timeframe necessary to accomplish budget review.

Subsection 8-3  General Provisions:
        Completely new language, which replaces the previous Subsection 8-2.

Subsection 8-3 (mislabeled) Budget Procedures:
        New language replaces current language, which sets specific dates and                   requirements for budget submission.

Subsection 8-4 Submission of the Budgets in Referendum:
New language, replaces current language. New language includes sending the budget to an automatic referendum (which replaces the need for petition) rather than possible acceptance at a Town Meeting.

New  language also provides the ability for a failed budget to go to a second, and a third referendum.  Should the budget fail at the third referendum the budget would revert back to the previous year’s budget figures.  Previously the Commission had considered including a cost of living/consumer price index increase to be adopted with the previous budget; the current proposed language no longer provides for the cost of living/consumer price index provision.

Discussion followed; the Commission is divided on the need for the cost of living increase.  Commissioner Riggott noted the increase in the cost of utilities facing everyone, including the Town.  Commissioner Gaudreau concurred with Commissioner Riggott regarding the need for a cost of living increase to meet increasing costs.  Commissioners Phillips, Yosky, Riach, Thompson, and Badstubner disagreed.  Co-Chairman Matthews offered one-half the current cost of living increase as a compromise.  

        Co-Chairman Butenkoff called for another vote:

        MOTION: If the budget fails after the third referendum the budget                               reverts back to the previous year - with no cost of living                                      increase.

        Phillips moved/Riach seconded/
VOTE: In Favor: Matthews/Phillips/Riach/Thompson/Yosky/Badstubner
                 Opposed:  Gaudreau/Riggott
                 Abstained:  Co-Chairman Butenkoff didn’t cast a vote.

Subsection 8-5 Duties of the Board of Finance on Other Financial Matters:
        Addition of one new paragraph regarding items the need for items which                  require bonding are now required to go to an automatic referendum.

Subsection 8-6 Purchasing:
        No Change.

Subsection 8-7 Unexpended Appropriations:
        No Change.

Subsection 8-8 Annual Audit:
        No Change.

Subsection 8-9 Annual Town Report:
        New language summarizes the current deleted language.

Co-Chairman Matthews queried Attorney Mednick regarding the Police Commission; he questioned if the current charter allowed changes regarding adding members or changing the scope of the commission?  It was noted the Police Commission had been adopted by Ordinance; any changes would require an Ordinance Revision.   Discussion followed; Co-Chairman Matthews cited his concern for the ability of the Police Commission to approve multi-year contracts, as was previously done for the Chief of Police.  Attorney Mednick will review current charter language.

Co-Chairman Matthews referenced Subsection 8-8B, which addresses the need for submission of audits.   He cited concern for the cost of audits for smaller organizations, and questioned the BOS ability to waive that requirement for organizations with perhaps a smaller dollar amount of assets.  Attorney Mednick to review language.

Attorney Mednick advised the Commission he will be available via phone for consultation during the March 19th Special Meeting, and will be available after the March 26th Public Hearing as well.

He reviewed the timeline for future meetings, and submissions, including the Charter Revision Commission’s Public Hearing (March 26, 2009), submission of the proposed document to the BOS, and the timeframe and process of the BOS’s review.  Attorney

Mednick noted the BOS make a determination as to what the ballot questions will be, but the Charter Revision Commission can make suggestions to the BOS regarding the Commission’s preference.

Attorney Mednick advised the Commission there should be a transmittal letter from the Commission to the BOS when the revision is passed along for their review.   He will prepare the transmittal letter for the Commission.

LET THE RECORD SHOW Attorney Mednick left the Meeting at 8:12 p.m.

Review of CRC Members input for proposed revisions/a)  Preamble:

The Commission had approved a preamble (new to this charter) at a previous Commission Meeting.  Commissioner Phillips offered a new/fourth preamble she felt more appropriately the Town of East Windsor.  

MOTION: To RECONSIDER the preamble previously approved by the Commission.

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

MOTION: To ADOPT the preamble submitted this evening by Commissioner Phillips.

DISCUSSION: Commissioner Matthews objected to the word representative in the
proposed preamble.

AMENDED MOTION: To AMEND the previous motion by striking the word                       “representative” from the preamble submitted this                       evening by Commissioner Phillips.

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

The new/fourth Preamble for the Charter revision is as follows:

“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, Town Meeting form of government, do herby 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, political leadership, citizen participation, with the flexibility to serve the people, conserve public resources, efficiently organize the administration of government, and meet the needs of the public.”


REVIEW OF CRC MEMBERS input for proposed revisions:

The Commission considered the following for ballot questions:
  • automatic referendum
  • Splitting the budget between the education and the municipal side.
Commissioner Yosky reported that when she and Co-Chairman Butenkoff appeared before the BOS and mentioned the intent to split the budget she felt, by watching the body language of the BOS, that the split budget would not be approved as a charter revision proposal.   She suggested the Commission should reconsider that proposal.

After polling Commission members it was determined to delete the language/proposal regarding the split budget.   On review of the charter proposals submitted by Attorney Mednick it was noted that language has already been removed.

  • Approval of technical/general revisions.
  • What should occur after the 3rd referendum?  
Attorney Mednick had suggested to the Commission that the question is covered in the automatic referendum question, and the budget process.

WRITTEN INPUT SUBMITTED TO CRC: Nothing presented.

ADMINISTRATIVE HOUSEKEEPING:  
  • Agenda for March 19th Special Meeting.
  • Clean copy of proposed revisions to be available in the Town Clerk’s Office for Commission members.
  • Co-Chairman Butenkoff reported he and Commissioner Yosky will have a Powerpoint presentation for the March 26th Public Hearing.
        
ADMINISTRATIVE HOUSEKEEPING/(b) Query members for other items:

Nothing presented.

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

Further discussion to be considered at Special March 19th, 2009 Special Meeting.


BRAINSTORM FOR ADDITIONAL ITEMS, NO COUNTER POINTS:     

Nothing presented.

2nd PUBLIC PARTICIPATION:       No one present.

GUIDANCE FOR NEXT MEETING:      Nothing.

PREVIOUS MEETING MINUTES/comments and acceptance:

MOTION: To APPROVE the Minutes of  February 26, 2009 as amended to include the presence of the Town Treasurer under discussion items on Page 2 and Page 5.

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

ADJOURN:

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

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

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