Tesoro — Vote ‘Yes’ on charter revision questions

To the editor;

I urge all Trumbull voters to vote yes on all three charter revision questions on the ballot this year.

The three proposals, when passed, will benefit our community. They will bring our current charter up to date, encourage compromise on the Board of Education, and provide the ability to update the limits on major town project expenses without having to open the charter every few years.

The majority of the changes in Question 1 are technical and language updates such as changing “days” in some places from business days to calendar days, requiring notices to be posted on the town website and adding commissions on youth and aging.

Question 1 also adds a requirement that two-thirds of the town council members must agree to change the number of voting districts. This means that there needs to be substantial community support for any change to the number of voting districts. I believe that is appropriate for a change of that magnitude.

Question 2 deals with a fundamental change in how our Board of Education (BOE) operates. In the past, our BOE was a six-member board with no party holding more than three seats and with staggered four-year terms. It worked very effectively for years. Then, a seventh seat was added making the BOE much more political. That mistake was compounded when all seven seats became two-year seats with all terms expiring at the same time.

The proposal on this year’s ballot is to have an eight member BOE with no party holding more than four seats with staggered four-year terms. The board managed successfully with an even number in the past. This is not a new concept. By returning to staggered four-year terms, we ensure continuity as the members change. The BOE should be nonpolitical and act as an advocate for our system. Compromise and consensus will be needed for the board to manage its affairs. What we have now is, in my opinion, not as good as what we had in the past. Let’s return to what worked better.

Nothing in the proposed charter prevents a third party candidate from serving on the BOE. Also, nothing prevents a person of either party from engaging in a primary.

Question 3 deals with the modification of the $15 million threshold for an automatic referendum on a major town project. The Charter Revision Commission did not change the $15 million threshold but put in a provision that allows increasing that number for inflation based on the Consumer Price Index. The commission recognized that the purchasing power of the dollar declines over time. This mechanism allow us to upgrade the threshold. The charter, as proposed, includes a safeguard so the threshold cannot fall below $15 million.

The bipartisan commission did its work in revising our charter to require Trumbull government to be more transparent, less political, and more inclusive. If passed, this revision will make Trumbull government better.

I urge everyone to vote yes on all three questions.

Vicki Tesoro, first selectman