FROM THE CONNECTICT GENERAL STATUTES ON THE SUBJECT OF CHARTER REVISION...

      Sec. 7-188. Initiation of action for adoption, amendment or repeal of charter or home rule ordinance. (a) Any municipality, in addition to such powers as it has under the provisions of the general statutes or any special act, shall have the power to (1) adopt and amend a charter which shall be its organic law and shall supersede any existing charter, including amendments thereto, and all special acts inconsistent with such charter or amendments, which charter or amended charter may include the provisions of any special act concerning the municipality but which shall not otherwise be inconsistent with the Constitution or general statutes, provided nothing in this section shall be construed to provide that any special act relative to any municipality is repealed solely because such special act is not included in the charter or amended charter; (2) amend a home rule ordinance which has been adopted prior to October 1, 1982, which revised home rule ordinance shall not be inconsistent with the Constitution or the general statutes; and (3) repeal any such home rule ordinance by adopting a charter, provided the rights or benefits granted to any individual under any municipal retirement or pension system shall not be diminished or eliminated.

      (b) Any action pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be initiated by a resolution adopted by a two-thirds vote of the entire membership of the appointing authority of such municipality, or by petition filed with the clerk of such municipality for submission to the appointing authority and signed by not less than ten per cent of the electors of such municipality, as determined by its last-completed registry list; provided, in the case of a consolidated town and city having a town clerk and a city clerk, such petition shall be filed with the city clerk.

      (c) No signature on any petition filed pursuant to subsection (b) of this section shall be valid unless it has been obtained within ninety days of the filing of the page of the petition on which it appears. Any elector signing such a petition may cause his signature to be removed at any time prior to the filing of such petition with the clerk. The clerk with whom the petition is filed shall proceed forthwith to determine its sufficiency by comparing the signatures thereon with those contained in said registry list and shall certify its sufficiency or insufficiency to the appointing authority.

      (d) After a resolution has been so adopted by the appointing authority or a petition has been so certified as sufficient, as the case may be, the appointing authority shall not adopt any resolution initiating such action and the clerk shall not accept any petition for the initiation of such action until such time as the commission appointed pursuant to such original resolution or petition has been terminated.

      (1953, S. 271d, 272d; 1957, P.A. 465, S. 2; 1959, P.A. 678, S. 2; February, 1965, P.A. 269, S. 1; P.A. 81-451, S. 2, 10; P.A. 84-153; P.A. 85-253, S. 2, 10; P.A. 87-278, S. 2, 5.)

      History: 1959 act added home rule ordinance provisions; 1965 act provided no signature is to be valid unless obtained within 90 days of filing petition; P.A. 81-451 provided that no new home rule ordinances should be adopted after October 1, 1982, and that no new petition could be accepted until a commission appointed pursuant to a previous petition had been terminated, effective October 1, 1982; P.A. 84-153 amended Subsec. (d) to apply provisions to resolutions and to clarify that only one commission can exist at any time; P.A. 85-253 amended Subsec. (a) to replace the word "revise" with the word "amend" and to add language concerning inclusion of special acts in Subdiv. (1); P.A. 87-278 inserted the word "otherwise" in the phrase "shall not otherwise be inconsistent" in Subsec. (a).

      See Sec. 7-328a re home rule action.

      Cited. 140 C. 517. Home rule, so far as it relates to charter changes, may be exercised only in accordance with general statutes. 150 C. 24. Purpose behind act is to enable municipalities to draft or amend charters without necessity of action by general assembly. 152 C. 423. As to method or procedure of assessment, the home rule act, being later in time, takes precedence over any inconsistent provisions in the Waterbury charter. Id. Act exhibits legislative intent to add a new power to those which municipalities already had without affecting existing powers. 152 C. 424. Cited. 178 C. 81. Cited. 180 C. 243. Cited. 182 C. 253. Cited. 188 C. 276. Cited. 190 C. 736. Cited. 193 C. 1. Cited. 216 C. 112. Cited. 234 C. 513.

      Cited. 37 CA 348.

      Adoption of municipal charter does not invalidate special acts prior thereto establishing special districts. 28 CS 413. A charter provision cannot repeal or nullify the general statutes. 31 CS 392.

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      Sec. 7-189. Form of petition. (a) The form of the petition for adopting or amending a charter or amending a home rule ordinance shall be as follows: WARNING: ALL SIGNATURES SHALL BE IN INK OR INDELIBLE PENCIL. We, the undersigned electors of the town, city or borough of (here insert name of town, city or borough), hereby present this petition under the provisions of section 7-188 requesting the appointment of a commission for (insert one of the following: "The adoption of a charter, the amendment of its charter, or the amendment of its home rule ordinance", using such words as are applicable) and we certify that we are electors of the town, city or borough of .... residing at the addresses set opposite our names and that we have signed this petition on the dates opposite our names and not more than once. (Here follow the signatures, dates and addresses.)

      (b) Each page of such petition shall contain a statement, signed under penalties of false statement as defined in section 53a-157b, by the person who circulates the same, setting forth such circulator's name and address, and which shall be in the form as follows: "Each person whose name appears on this page signed the same in person in my presence and such person is known to me or has satisfactorily identified himself to me." Any page of a petition which does not contain such a statement by the circulator shall be invalid.

      (c) Such petition may also include, immediately after the statement provided in subsection (a) of this section, a list of general or specific recommendations for consideration by such commission.

      (1957, P.A. 465, S. 3; 1959, P.A. 678, S. 3; February, 1965, P.A. 269, S. 2; P.A. 81-451, S. 3, 10; P.A. 85-253, S. 3, 10.)

      History: 1959 act added home rule ordinance provisions; 1965 act added provision for placing date of signing on petition; P.A. 81-451 added Subsec. (b) concerning the statement of the circulator and Subsec. (c) concerning recommendations for consideration by the commission and revised wording of petition form in Subsec. (a), effective October 1, 1982; P.A. 85-253 amended Subsec. (a) to refer to amendments of charters and home rule ordinances rather than to revisions.

      Cited. 188 C. 276. Cited. 193 C. 1. Cited. 196 C. 623. Cited. 234 C. 513.

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      Sec. 7-190. Commission: Appointment, membership, duties, report, termination. (a) Within thirty days after such action has been initiated by vote of the appointing authority or by certification of a petition, the appointing authority shall by resolution appoint a commission consisting of not fewer than five nor more than fifteen electors, not more than one-third of whom may hold any other public office in the municipality and not more than a bare majority of whom shall be members of any one political party, which commission shall proceed forthwith to draft a charter, or amendments to the existing charter, or amendments to the home rule ordinance, as the case may be.

      (b) The appointing authority shall direct the commission to consider those recommendations included in the petition and may make other recommendations to the commission. The commission may also consider other items for inclusion in the proposed charter, other changes to the charter or home rule ordinance and such other items as it deems desirable or necessary. The commission shall in its reports comment on each recommendation which it has been directed to consider, if any, and on such other changes or items. The appointing authority shall specify by resolution when the commission shall submit its draft report, which shall be not later than sixteen months from the date of its appointment.

      (c) The commission shall terminate upon acceptance or rejection of its final report by the appointing authority.

      (1957, P.A. 465, S. 4; 1959, P.A. 678, S. 4; 1967, P.A. 76; P.A. 75-179; P.A. 81-451, S. 4, 10; P.A. 83-188, S. 2; P.A. 85-253, S. 4, 10.)

      History: 1959 act added home rule ordinance provisions; 1967 act made minor change in wording; P.A. 75-179 distinguished between charter commissions and charter revision or home rule ordinance commissions re report deadlines; P.A. 81-451 divided section into subsecs., clarified language of existing provisions, required consideration of recommendations in petition and recommendations of appointing authority, changed deadline for report from 18 to 16 months from date of appointment and added Subsec. (c) re termination of commission, effective October 1, 1982; P.A. 83-188 made minor change in wording of Subsec. (b), requiring submission of draft report rather than of final report; P.A. 85-253 replaced the words "revision of" with the words "amendments to" and made certain technical changes.

      Cited. 150 C. 27. Cited. 184 C. 30. Cited. 188 C. 276. Interpretation of statute not unconstitutional. Id. Cited. 193 C. 1. Cited. 196 C. 623. Cited. 234 C. 513.

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      Sec. 7-191. Charters, charter amendments and home rule ordinance amendments: Hearings; draft and final report; public notice; referendum; effective date; filing of copies with Secretary of the State; file maintained by State Library. (a) The commission shall hold at least two public hearings on the proposed charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments; one prior to the beginning of any substantive work on such charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments, and one after the draft report to the appointing authority has been completed, but not submitted, after which hearings the commission may amend such report. The commission may hold such other public hearings as it deems necessary.

      (b) The commission shall submit its draft report, including the proposed charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments, to the clerk of the municipality, who shall transmit such report to the appointing authority. The appointing authority shall hold at least one public hearing on the draft report and shall hold its last hearing not later than forty-five days after the submission of the draft report to such clerk. Not later than fifteen days after its last hearing, the appointing authority shall make recommendations to the commission for such changes in the draft report as it deems desirable.

      (c) If the appointing authority makes no recommendations for changes in the draft report to the commission within such fifteen days, the report of the commission shall be final and the appointing authority shall act on such report. If the appointing authority makes recommendations for changes in the draft report to the commission, the commission shall confer with the appointing authority concerning any such recommendations and may amend any provisions of the proposed charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments, in accordance with such recommendations, or the commission may reject such recommendations. In either case the commission shall make its final report to the appointing authority not later than thirty days after receiving such recommendations.

      (d) Not later than fifteen days after receiving the final report, the appointing authority, by a majority vote of its entire membership, shall either approve the proposed charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments or reject the same or separate provisions thereof. Not later than forty-five days after a vote of the appointing authority to reject such matter, a petition for a referendum thereon, signed by not less than ten per cent of the electors of such municipality, as determined by the last-completed registry list thereof, and filed and certified in accordance with the provisions of section 7-188, may be presented to the appointing authority. Not later than thirty days after approval by the appointing authority or the certification of such a petition (1) the proposed charter shall be published in full at least once in a newspaper having a general circulation in the municipality, or (2) the portion of the charter or home rule ordinance being amended shall be published at least once in a newspaper having a general circulation in the municipality with a notice that a complete copy of the charter or home rule ordinance and amendment is available in the town clerk's office and that a copy shall be mailed to any person who requests a copy. The town clerk shall mail or otherwise provide such copy to any person who requests a copy.

      (e) The appointing authority shall, by a majority vote of its entire membership, determine whether the proposed charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments shall be submitted to the electors for approval or rejection at a regular election or at a special election warned and held for that purpose, which shall be held not later than fifteen months after either the approval by the appointing authority or the certification of a petition for a referendum.

      (f) The proposed charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments shall be prepared for the ballot by the appointing authority and may be submitted in the form of one or several questions; and, if approved by a majority of the electors of the municipality voting thereon at a regular election or if approved by a majority which number equals at least fifteen per cent of the electors of the municipality as determined by the last-completed active registry list of such municipality at a special election, such proposed charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments shall become effective thirty days after such approval unless an effective date or dates are specified therein, in which event the date or dates specified shall prevail.

      (g) Not later than thirty days after the approval by the electors of any proposed charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments, the town or city clerk shall file, with the Secretary of the State, (1) three certified copies thereof, with the effective date or dates indicated thereon, and (2) in the case of the approval of charter or home rule ordinance amendments, three certified copies of the complete charter or ordinance incorporating such amendments. The Secretary of the State shall distribute two copies, whether tangible or intangible in form, to the State Library, where a file of such charters, charter amendments and home rule ordinance amendments shall be kept for public inspection.

      (1953, S. 271d; 1957, P.A. 465, S. 5; 1959, P.A. 678, S. 5; 1963, P.A. 184; P.A. 75-358, S. 1, 2; P.A. 77-196, S. 1; P.A. 79-207; P.A. 81-451, S. 5, 10; P.A. 82-472, S. 14, 183; P.A. 83-188, S. 3; P.A. 84-161; P.A. 85-253, S. 5, 10; P.A. 87-387, S. 3; P.A. 96-134, S. 6, 9; P.A. 00-92, S. 6; P.A. 02-89, S. 7; P.A. 03-99, S. 1; P.A. 07-227, S. 19.)

      History: 1959 act added home rule ordinance provisions and changed "general" election to "regular" election; 1963 act specified subject matter of mandatory hearing by commission and provided for referendum re rejected matter on petition of electors; P.A. 75-358 made specific provisions re effective dates for charters, home rule ordinances etc., re validations of actions of municipality or its administrative agencies or officials; P.A. 77-196 required filing with secretary of the state within 15 days rather than 7 days; P.A. 79-207 required two public hearings rather than one, one before the substantive work and one after report is drafted but before its submission; P.A. 81-451 divided section into subsecs., clarified language of existing provisions, changed time for hearing from 30 to 45 days after submission of draft report, reduced the percentage of electors necessary to force a referendum from 15% to %10, required that election be held within 15 months rather than one year after approval or certification of petition and provided that the appointing authority shall prepare the ballot, effective October 1, 1982; P.A. 82-472 made technical corrections; P.A. 83-188 made minor changes in wording of Subsec. (b); P.A. 84-161 amended Subsec. (h) to provide for 30-day filing period rather than 15-day period; P.A. 85-253 changed "revised charter" to "charter amendments" and "revised home rule ordinance" to "home rule ordinance amendments"; P.A. 87-387 added Subsec. (h)(2) re filing requirements in the case of approval of charter or home rule ordinance amendments; P.A. 96-134 added the word "active" before "registry list of such municipality" in Subsec. (f), effective May 29, 1996; P.A. 00-92 amended Subsec. (b) to require hearing "not later than" 45 days "after the submission" rather than former "within" 45 days "of the submission", and throughout the section substituted "not later than" for "within"; P.A. 02-89 deleted as obsolete former Subsec. (g) re effective date of any proposed charter, home rule ordinance or amendment or repeal thereof approved at any election on or after November 5, 1974, and prior to July 1, 1975, and re the validation of actions of a municipality or agency or official thereof taken prior to July 1, 1975, under a previously effective charter or home rule ordinance, and redesignated existing Subsec. (h) as Subsec. (g); P.A. 03-99 amended Subsec. (d) to insert Subdiv. designators (1) and (2), to delete requirement that charter or home rule ordinance amendments be published in full and to provide that the portion of the charter or home rule ordinance being amended be published and that a copy be provided by the town clerk upon request; P.A. 07-227 added reference to tangible or intangible copies in Subsec. (g), effective July 1, 2007.

      See Sec. 1-1c(b) for meaning of "special election warned and held or called for that purpose".

      See chapter 152 (Sec. 9-369 et seq.) re holding of referenda.

      Cited. 140 C. 517. Legislature intended procedure outlined in home rule act to be a complete, self-contained method of amending charter of a city irrespective of any existing charter provision. Home rule act controls previously enacted special laws which are inconsistent with it. Home rule so far as it relates to charter changes may be exercised only in accordance with provisions of general statutes. 150 C. 24. Amendment of charter of consolidated city of Norwich to change tax and other provisions concerning its districts pursuant to sections 7-188 through 7-194, held valid when challenged by action for declaratory judgment by resident taxpayer. 155 C. 573. Cited. 184 C. 30. Cited. 188 C. 276. Interpretation of statute not unconstitutional. Id. Cited. 193 C. 1. Cited. 196 C. 623. Cited. 234 C. 513.

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      Sec. 7-191a. Adoption of home rule ordinance. Any home rule ordinance in effect on October 1, 1982, shall be part of the organic law of the municipality and the special act superseded thereby and any other special act relating to the government of such municipality inconsistent therewith are repealed.

      (1959, P.A. 678, S. 6; P.A. 81-451, S. 6, 10.)

      History: P.A. 81-451 made ordinances in effect on October 1, 1982, a part of municipality's organic law, replacing provision which had made any home rule ordinance a part of organic law upon its adoption, effective October 1, 1982.

      Cited. 178 C. 81. Cited. 188 C. 276. Cited. 193 C. 1. Cited. 196 C. 623.

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      Sec. 7-192. Existing provisions not affected. Amendments to charters. Amendment or revision of home rule ordinance. Supersedence of certain special acts by municipal ordinance. Termination of certain parking authorities and boards of health. (a) Every charter, special act and home rule ordinance in effect on October 1, 1982, shall continue in effect until repealed or superseded by the adoption of a charter, charter amendments or home rule ordinance amendments in accordance with this chapter, the provisions in any charter in existence on said date governing revision or amendment to the contrary notwithstanding. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the adoption of a revised home rule ordinance or home rule ordinance amendments by any method established in such home rule ordinance if the provisions concerning such method were in effect on July 15, 1959. Any municipality administering its local affairs under the provisions of the general statutes or special acts adopted prior to said date may continue to so administer its local affairs until the electors of such municipality avail themselves of the provisions of this chapter. Any municipality having as its organic law a home rule ordinance or a revised or amended home rule ordinance shall after any revision or amendment of such ordinance publish, in a single document, any such home rule ordinance and shall make such ordinance available at a nominal cost to any member of the public.

      (b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the provisions of any special act relative to the number of holders of an office, or members of a board, commission, department or agency of a municipality (1) which does not administer its affairs under a charter, and (2) for which the legislative body, as defined in section 1-1, is a town meeting may be superseded by adoption of a municipal ordinance that is not otherwise inconsistent with the Constitution of the state or the general statutes.

      (c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, any consolidated town and city which (1) was consolidated in 1902, (2) has a mayor and board of aldermen form of government, and (3) has a population of more than one hundred thousand may terminate a parking authority established by special act in such consolidated town and city upon majority vote of the board of aldermen. The clerk of any such consolidated town and city shall notify the Secretary of the State of such termination not more than ten days after such vote.

      (d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, any municipality which (1) was incorporated in 1784, (2) administers its affairs under a charter and for which the legislative body is a town meeting, and (3) has a population of less than twelve thousand may terminate a board of health established in the municipality by special act by adoption of an ordinance that is not otherwise inconsistent with the Constitution of the state or the general statutes.

      (1957, P.A. 465, S. 6; P.A. 81-451, S. 7, 10; P.A. 85-253, S. 6, 10; P.A. 92-172, S. 1; P.A. 03-256, S. 2.)

      History: P.A. 81-451 transferred former provision concerning imposition of taxes to Sec. 7-192a and added provisions concerning revision of home rule ordinance by methods in effect prior to July 15, 1959, and to publication of home rule ordinances, effective October 1, 1982; P.A. 85-253 amended section to refer to amendment of charters and home rule ordinances rather than to their revision; P.A. 92-172 amended section by designating Subsec. (a) and adding Subsec. (b) re supersedence of special acts by municipal ordinance not inconsistent with the state constitution or general statutes; P.A. 03-256 made a technical change in Subsec. (b), added Subsec. (c) re termination of a parking authority in a consolidated town or city and added Subsec. (d) re termination of a board of health in a municipality, effective June 26, 2003.

      Legislature intended procedure outlined in home rule act to be a complete, self-contained method, not involving action by general assembly, of amending charter of a city, irrespective of any existing charter provision. Act confers no power on mayor to exercise a veto. A construction which would import into these amendatory proceedings the power of veto conferred on mayor by charter would be inconsistent with procedure provided for in section 7-191. 150 C. 24. Cited. 155 C. 579. Cited. 171 C. 74. Retention of surplus was not an unauthorized exercise of taxing power in violation of statute. 178 C. 81. Charter provisions regarding consolidation prevail over parallel provisions in home rule act. 179 C. 589. Cited. 188 C. 276. Cited. 193 C. 1. Cited. 196 C. 623.




Members of the public present on June 26 noted that if not for President Failla's letter, correctly stating the start time of this meeting, they would have come too early and left (FORUM put on page one that the meeting began at 7:30pm!)...
"LWV focusing on town charter" (cut line in "Letters to the Editor" June 26, 2003 FORUM)

To the Editor:

The League of Women Voters of Weston is a non-partisan political organization whose mission it is to encourage the informed and active participation of citizens in their government and to influence public policy through education and advocacy.  The league's men and women believe that informed citizens are key to effective government in a democracy.

One of the services we perform is the attendance of town meetings by the Observer Corps.  Past President Lucy Bowden attended Charter Revision Committee meeting last week.  Former First Selectwoman Helen Speck, a league members who was active in Weston until her recent move, sent a letter to the commission, which was included in the record.  At the Charter Revision Committee's public hearing on May 29, Past President Helen De Keijzer presented testimony in behalf of the league.  Before the committee concludes its work, we would like to share a few of the main points and to urge citizens to attend the committee's next meeting, on Thursday, June 26, 8pm.

The committee has been asked to focus on Town Charter section 2.7, which addresses an essential need for citizens to call into question and review important town decisions.  A clear mechanism for such citizen review is a crucial feature of our town charter.  Town legislators, i.e., eligible voters, must continue to have the power to ask that a town meeting be convened.  Too high a signature requirement may discourage voters from exercising their right to petition town government and could make the petition process ineffective.

To promote democracy and good governance, it is essential for the Charter Revision Commission to establish an appropriate balance between the right of citizens to call for a review of town government decisions and the town's need to check potential abuse of such a provision.  Safeguarding an appropriate and effective balance of power is of the utmost importance.

To encourage voter participations at Weston's Annual Town Budget Meetings, we recommended consideration of charter revisions that would foster regular use of a means of private voting as well as more flexibility for voter participation.  Our local league position urges:


The committee will meet next on Thursday, June 26, at 8pm.  We encourage citizens to attend.

KATHLEEN FAILLA
Weston League of Women Voters
President
June 23


Previously...
Statement to the Charter Revision Commission, Thursday, May 29, 2003

I am Helen de Keijzer speaking on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Weston. We thank you all for committing to the task of reviewing and recommending possible revisions of Weston’s Town Charter to the Board of Selectmen and the community.

It is our understanding that your Commission has been asked to focus, at least at the outset, on Town Charter section 2.7. Our League has not had the occasion to conduct an in-depth study of this particular section, its implications, or, of course, the implications of any potential changes in its provisions.

However, in general terms, we can say that section 2.7 (and 2.6 as well) address an essential need for citizens to call into question and review important town decisions. A clear mechanism for such a citizen review is a crucial feature of our Town Charter. Town legislators, i.e., eligible voters, must continue to have the power to ask that a town meeting be convened. To promote good government decision-making, it will be critical for your Commission to find a balance between the essential and appropriate right of citizens to call for a review of town government decisions, as, for example, because of changing circumstances, and the need of the town to check potential abuse of such a provision.

Our local League archives are full of minutes of meetings that discuss drafting of the Town Charter  and, later, Charter revision. One topic repeatedly addressed was the need to carefully and clearly define powers of the legislators and the administrators, and an important recurring theme was the concern for checks and balances. Safeguarding an appropriate and effective balance of power was considered to be of utmost importance.

The Town Charter was last revised twenty-four years ago in l979.  Since Weston’s population has increased significantly during the intervening time, and since new issues arise in any growing, changing community, an extended comprehensive review rather than a short limited one may well be appropriate at this time. Of course, as you review the charter, providing on-going opportunities for public comment will assure the best possible result.

As you begin your work, in addition to your consideration of section 2.7, the League would like you to consider two League positions of potential relevance to a more comprehensive charter revision process if you should decide to undertake or recommend one.

As some of you know, local League positions are established only after a League study and member consensus process is completed. The two positions I bring to your attention are Voter Participation in Weston Town Meetings, adopted in 2001, and Ethics in Government, adopted in 1995. We have made copies of both for your reference.

First, on the basis of our position on Voter Participation in Weston Town Meetings, we recommend consideration of charter revisions that would fostor regular use of a means of private voting as well as a more flexible opportunity for voter participation.

Our position urges:

• Regular use of “secret ballot” by paper ballot, machine, or on the internet (if permitted by the state in the future). The privacy of the ballot form of voting eliminates potential voter concerns about the opinions of others attending a Town Meeting and minimizes potential voter intimidation surrounding contentious issues.

• Providing an additional opportunity to vote, such as on the Saturday following the Town Meeting. This is a procedure used in Wilton in an effort to afford as many ‘legislators’ as possible an opportunity to vote. It accommodates the traveling business person, older citizens more comfortable going out during the day, and others simply unable to attend on the particular Town Meeting day. Such an arrangement can potentially even provide for absentee ballots though only on a limited basis.

Simply put, the League’s Voter Participation Study suggested that in the towns studied, votes taken by referendum attracted a higher percentage of town voters. Weston Town Meetings where “secret ballots” were not used typically averaged well below 10% voter participation.

It is also relevant to mention that during study discussions, we were concerned that the Annual Town Budget Meeting (ATBM) is required by charter to begin at 8:30 p.m. It was felt that an earlier start time would encourage increased voter participation and would also allow for the possibility of more discussion before triggering (at 11:00 p.m.) a second night of deliberations as currently required. Charter review provides an opportunity to reconsider these requirements.

The second position we wish to bring to your attention is Ethics in Government (1995).
As you will see, many of the recommendations made in this position have already been put in place. The Board of Ethics was established by resolution of the Board of Selectmen in December 1996. Perhaps it will be appropriate at this time to add this Board to Article 7: Appointive Officers, Boards and Commissions as the League of Women Voters recommended in 1965 as part of their study of the adoption of a town charter. It may also be an opportunity to state clearly the duties of the board and possibly to broaden it’s charge.

Thank you for the opportunity to share our views. We look forward to further public debate on this important project.
 

Helen de Keijzer and Lucy Bowden
co-presidents, League of Women Voters of Weston