In addition to of the United States this November, North Branford and Northford residents will also have a chance to vote on the revisions made to the town’s charter by the (CRC).
Though the questions for the ballot will not be set until the next Town Council meeting, , the North Branford Town Council discussed splitting the revisions into two questions on the ballot, with all seeming to agree that the should be broken into its own question with “general housekeeping” changes being incorporated into a second question.
Council member Rose Angeloni suggested adding the topic of as a third question, concerning requirement of hitting 15 percent turnout in order for the results to be binding. Ken Imperado, a member of the CRC, agreed that the budget referendum was an important issue, but “we took all input into account and nothing seemed to contradict what we ultimately went with so I’d just suggest the Town Council rethink having a third question as the public wasn’t looking to keep it at 15 percent.”
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During the , two town residents spoke, as well as Pat Young, another member of the CRC.
Ron Makowski suggested the Town Council consider doing away with an appointed chief executive officer in the town manager position and moving to an elected chief executive officer position.
“An appointed chief executive officer is not necessarily responsive to the individual taxpayers in this town,” said Makowski. “There’s a feeling at Town Hall among certain employees that seem to forget they’re public servants. If we have an elected chief executive officer, that person could change that philosophy and make Town Hall much more receptive to all the members of our community.”
Cliff Potter voiced concerns over still needing six votes (of the nine council members) in order to make decisions regarding the town manager’s employment status.
“That sixth vote has been elusive,” said Potter. “During the last year you’ve lost so much time that could’ve been spent on town business dealing with the town manager.”
Young responded to comments by both Potter and Makowski. On the subject of implementing a chief executive officer, he said that the town manager system has “worked well over the last 40 years” and has been “open, honest and had a lot of citizen participation,” noting that it is the majority form of government in municipalities this size throughout the country.
In response to Potter’s concern of the sixth vote, Young compared it to the impeachment of a president, which would require a 2/3 vote.
“We don’t think a town manager should be changed lightly so we think there should have to be a sixth vote in order to remove him,” said Young.
The amended draft report (available on the town website and in the ). The final ballot questions will be prepared at an upcoming Town Council meeting for the Nov. 6. Ballot.