Letter — Oppose charter changes
To the editor;
The changes proposed in three ballot questions are a regression to the changes made in the 2012 revision to the Trumbull Town Charter and should be “no” votes on your ballot.
Question 1: Definition of “Days” and Town Council voting districts. Of significance in this question, is the multiple references to “days” which changes from “business days” to “calendar days.” This shortens the time between a public or board hearing date and the notice given to the public that precedes it. This reduces the public’s time and ability to participate in meetings and decision-making of boards, commissions and the town council.
The requirement of a two-thirds vote of the town council to change the number of voting districts is a legally questionable incursion in the statutory right of the town council to set voting districts for its membership. It is intended to cement seven voting districts, created by a partisan Democratic redistricting committee and town council, which historically favors election of Democratic majorities to the town council.
Question 2: Board of Education: This proposed change to an 8-member board with staggered 4-year terms disenfranchises voters who will no longer elect the board members, but rather will vote for candidates endorsed by the Republican and Democratic town committees only, with the intended result of four members from each party to serve. Your vote will be a mere ratification of party endorsement because four members from each party will be the only choices that you, the voter, will have on your ballot.
Currently, the 7-member board of education is elected every two years just like the town council, and voters hold members accountable by having to be reelected, or not, in a truly contested election.
Question 3: Referendum on bonding: In 2012, this provision was added to the charter to require a vote for bonding of $15 million or more. The proposed provision seeks to increase this number annually as an adjustment for inflation. We believe $15 million dollars is a high threshold for the referendum that does not need to be increased by an unpredictable consumer price index that can grow the threshold substantially over time.
For these reasons, we recommend a “no” vote on the three questions.
Trumbull Town Council Republicans
Carl A Massaro Jr.