Minutes of the Meeting
Charter Review Commission
March 26, 2002
The fifteenth meeting of the Charter Review Committee began at 7:15PM at the Police Station Conference room on Tuesday, march 26th. All members were present.
A motion was made and seconded and so voted, the minutes of the last meeting be accepted as written.
Sav reviewed for Peter, his visit to Philadelphia and his impression of the very few amendments that had been ratified of the US Constitution out of the 10,000+ proposed over the years. He also brought to Peter’s attention that we voted to present the idea that the Charter be reviewed within six years after this review. We felt that this would help us reduce the proposed changes for this review.
We then began to review the single line issues of the Candidates for changes to existing Articles and Sections.
In Section 104 we discussed the Gender and Plurality changes to reflect gender neutrality. Sav has spoken to the council president and the Town Solicitor in regard to changes. We discussed having one formal document that will show every single change, or separate sections for each change. With luck, the solicitor is to have an answer by April 8th regarding the right to change neutrality issues without a second ballot or vote.
We skipped over Section 201 as a non-priority to be visited at a later session.
Section 204. Council President. We discussed the problem of a vacancy occurring in the council make up. It was felt that the majority party should have the right to choose its own president. The phrase "in said office" should be deleted fro the text.
A discussion followed on the type of town government we were considered to be by the department of municipal affairs. We are a council/manager form of government. Our Administrator (manager) is appointed by the Council. For many years we had a very strong administrator who was very proficient in running the town government. A strong council can have a direct impact on how the Administrator conducts day-to-day operations.
Section 209. Conflict of Interest. A general discussion included having a uniform conflict of interest section which could be used throughout the charter. We should be specific when we present this to the council as to what we hope to accomplish. The issue of "personal benefit" needs to be defined.
We could establish an overall Conflict of Interest section, which would supercede all existing sections in the charter at present. This could be in Article I – substituting the present section 104 as a general conflict of interest clause.
Section 210. Interference with administration. We discussed changing the phrase from "Except for the purpose of inquiries and investigations" to " inquiries or investigations." We decided that council members can talk with officers (department heads) but cannot give orders to hire or fire. We felt that the solution would be." The council or any of its members shall not direct or request the appointment of, or removal of, any person in a town position from office by the town administrator or by any of the town administrator’s subordinates" However we decided to hold a decision until Thursday’s meeting to give Sav and Peter a chance to work on better language.
We then went back to Section 202 to discuss possible vacancies and even reasons for removal of office of town council members. We agreed to work on summary language to present the idea to Council.
Under Section 211 we discussed whether it was necessary, or redundant to add a phrase" or its appointed representative" to the process of investigations. Most felt that it wasn’t necessary to add clearer language, that the council already has this ability.
Section 212. Would be solved by the decisions made in Section 202, for reasons for vacancies.
Section 219. We may review this again in regard to the number of days in for receipt of petitions.
Section 221. The start up language needs to be removed, then to read "The Town Council, every five years shall cause to be prepared a revision – etc"
Section 222. Proposed budget issue to be affected by the decision made on the date of the financial meeting to be decided upon in the future.
Section 224. To be discussed later
Section 301. Appointment and qualifications. We decided to take out the phrase " within a reasonable period of time" and insert " within six months after the appointment unless an extension is approved by the council."
Section 304. We need to revisit this to decide on length of time an interim town administrator may serve.
Section 305. Under paragraph four (4) to add "along with a 10 year building and equipment replacement and maintenance schedule."
Section 402. The sentence beginning with "With the consent of the Town Council" should be changed to read "With the consent of the Town Council, which must be reapplied for on an annual basis, the Town Administrator may serve as the head of one or more such departments" – etc.
A motion was made, seconded and so voted to adjourn at 10:00PM.
Dates for our next meetings will be:
Thursday, March 28, 7:00PM - Police Station
Tuesday, April 9, 7:00PM - Police Station
Tuesday, April 16, 7:00PM - Police Station
Tuesday, April 23, 7:00PM - Police Station
Tuesday, April 30, 5:00PM - Police Station
Tuesday, May 7, 5:00PM - Police Station
Nancy L, Mason