Sunday, October 05, 2014

What Really Happened at Charter Review, Views from Committee Member Milardo

Below is a letter to the Editor from Attorney Joseph Milardo an appointed member of Middletown's Charter Revision Committee. Milardo gives a break down of thoughts on the process. Earlier we published a Letter to the Editor outlining the questions on the November 2014 ballot. http://www.middletowninsider.com/2014/10/middletown-charter-revision-ballot.html


Tony Petras, Mike Gaudino and I suggested a four year term for the Mayor, only if, 1) there was a 2 term limit, and 2) there would be no participation/vesting in the City pension fund.  First, the question of term limits was referred to the City Attorney and he confirmed what Tony, Mike and I already knew, that there is no prohibition on terms limits in CT, in fact, Stamford has provided limits for some offices.

Then all of the Dems and the other two republicans on the charter panel decided 4 years terms should be provided for all office holders and there should be no term limits. 
At that point, Tony, Mike and I pulled our support for the 4 year terms.  Although we would have  supported 4 years for the Registrars since any contests for that office are usually resolved in the nomination process and the two party nominees don't compete for that office in the general election. 

For any other contested elective office, a four year term makes no sense, delays voter correction opportunities for too long, and, would not really save election costs since the staggered terms we have now require two year voting for P&Z and Bd/Ed offices. 
The charter changes advanced by the dems and the other two republicans were so flawed they didn't even discuss whether election for 4 year terms would be staggered as Bd/Ed and P&Z elections are.

As for the bonding increase we only supported this if it provided for a super majority vote requirement for passage.

The rest of the Charter changes are nothing substantive and do not require passage at this time.

I will be urging anyone I speak with to vote NO on all questions.  Also, a reminder that we should vote NO on the State constitutional amendments.  I believe these to be dangerous to our political process since voting will be easier to influence/rig, and, they are designed to accomdate lazy, uninformed voters.  No ballot box should be open to votes weeks before election day.  The amendments scream "banana republic" with every word!

In summary, these charter reviision panel members were not up to the task of meaningful review at all.  I frankly don't know how or why the panel was formed.  There was no agenda, no clear purpose, and aside from Mike, Tony and I filing a memorandum of suggested changes which we reviewed with the TC Executive committee and the Council republicans, no one else raised any revisions which would make Middltown's government operations more accessible to the voters.

Joe Milardo

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