Letter: Vote no to questions 2 and 3

To the Editor:

There are three questions on the ballot this Election Day. Questions 2 and 3 address modifications, deletions and additions to our Town Charter. I will be voting NO on both questions 2 and 3.

Question 2 groups together several changes to the Charter. Most of these modifications are minor and supportable, however, one change included in this question is unacceptable. By voting yes to Question 2 you will be agreeing to remove a subsection of our Charter that provides every Trumbull citizen with the basic fundamental right to face your accuser in an ethics proceeding. This provision has been in our Charter for decades. We must amend our Code of Ethics first before any changes are made to this subsection of the Charter. No logical argument was provided for its removal, because there is none. This is big government taking away your rights.

Question 3 addresses the funding of our Town and Police Pensions by adding a new Charter section. This new language mandates the funding of both pensions to the Annual Required Contribution (ARC). While we should always strive to fund both pensions to the ARC we should never agree to place mandatory language in our Charter. This could have a devastating impact for our community.

Here are some facts:

• The Charter Revision Commission (CRC) found only one town in Connecticut that requires mandatory pension funding in their Town Charter, Greenwich, one of the wealthiest towns in Connecticut.

• The CRC did not seek professional pension advice outside of this administration.

• This administration in five years has never funded the Police pension to the ARC and has done it only twice for the Town Pension. Why are they pressing for this change now? Why force others to do what they chose not to do?

• In any given year the funding of the town pensions could be cost prohibitive because of various unanticipated situations. The Town would then be forced in difficult times to do any of the following: raise taxes, cut programs and services such as education, senior services, or public works, bond the expense, remove money from the general fund or a combination of all of these in order to fund this unwise mandate.

• The language inserted by the CRC to allow the Board of Finance and the Town Council to override mandatory funding is so restrictive it is meaningless.

• The CRC did not discuss the possible impact of a budget referendum coupled with this funding provision.

Trumbull in the past has found the better way by being disciplined in addressing our pension issues. By systematically raising pension funding each year, we have been able to achieve ARC funding in our town plan and will reach ARC funding in our police plan in the next few years. This was done without having to place a crushing burden on our taxpayers and without limiting flexibility to react to unforeseen circumstances. Let’s stay the course that has served us well.

Please VOTE NO on Charter Questions 2 and 3.

Vicki Tesoro