Letter: One-party government no good
To the Editor:
Regarding the letter by outgoing Town Council member Gregg Basbagill, where he said he’s leaving town politics because of dysfunction on the Town Council:
Basbagill said a one-party government is not good for Trumbull, and I agree. Trumbull needs a balanced government, where the outcomes of votes are not predetermined. That’s the way democracy is supposed to work.
Make no mistake: Trumbull will not be well served because of the ill-advised Republican scheme to reduce the Town Council from seven to four districts.
There’s another aspect to this. In Trumbull, we don’t have a truly equal legislative branch of government. The Council is functionally closer to a board of directors, one where the directors are appointed by the executive.
Council people are part-time volunteers. The first selectman has all the resources at his disposal, including town lawyers, town staff and the ability to research an issue. Plus, he has political power that’s too decisive.
We should all want a more equal legislative branch. We ought to look at things we might be able to do. Here are a few:
• Start with a more balanced legislature, and an immediate return to seven districts. That way, one or two independent-minded members can actually make a difference.
• Look at staggered elections, where Council members have more political independence.
• Consider a full-time legislative director and a town attorney who is hired by and reports to the Council.
• Modify the Charter to strengthen the Council.
We certainly can start by having a conversation about these things.