Charter Revision Commission
May 13, 2010
Commission Members Present: Commissioners Dave Balthazar, Melissa Engel. John Tuttle, and Chairperson Terry Concannon and Vice Chairperson Julie Ciucias
Also Present: Town Manager Jeffery O’Keefe and Town Clerk Sandi Wieleba
Meeting Called to Order
The special meeting of the Charter Revision Commission was called to order at 12:00 p.m.
Approval of the Minutes of April 15, 2010
Motion: Commissioner Balthazar made a motion to approve the minutes of April 15, 2010, as amended, seconded by Vice Chairperson Ciucias.
All members voted in the affirmative, except Commissioners Balthazar and Tuttle abstained. Motion passed 3 -0-2.
Approval of the Minutes of April 21, 2010
Motion: Commissioner Tuttle made a motion to approve the minutes of April 21, 2010, as amended, seconded by Commissioner Engel.
All members voted in the affirmative, except Commissioner Engel and Chairperson Concannon abstained. Motioned passed 3-0-2.
Review Comments from May 11th Town Council Meeting and Public Hearing
Vice Chairperson Ciucias reviewed the comments from the public hearing and Town Council Meeting of May 11th. Vice Chairperson Ciucias and Commissioner Tuttle agreed that future PowerPoint presentations be formatted with less text and more explanation in order to make it easier to understand. Vice Chairperson Ciucias mentioned:
- The public hearing was not well attended by the public.
- A comment was made by Mr. Kyle Dostaler inferring that the configuration of the number of elected officials serving on the Charter Commission did not comply with State Statute. This statement was not correct and the configuration of the Charter Revision Commission did comply with State Statute.
- Another comment was that the process was rushed and that State Statute allowed 18 months to review a Charter. Vice Chairperson Ciucias felt that there was enough time allowed to review each of their charges. She also stated that the Commission made every effort to make the process transparent by holding meetings during the day and in the evening and encouraged public participation.
- Commissioner Tuttle mentioned that the entire Charter for the Town of East Hampton was not large, and it did not require the full timeframe as allowed by State Statute in order to review each section.
- Commissioner Engel also stated that the Commissioners did not feel overwhelmed or rushed as they reviewed their charge and other sections of the Charter.
- Commissioner Engel mentioned that at the Town Council meeting, following the public hearing, each section of the Charter was discussed which allowed the members of the Town Council to ask questions and provide comments as well as their support or opposition to the recommendations made by the Charter Revision Commission
- Vice Chairperson Ciucias mentioned there was more dialog from the members on the Town Council on the following recommendations:
- the four-year staggered terms
the removal of the residency requirement for the Town Manager
- A comment from Mrs. Mary Ann Dostaler requesting an ordinance be drafted which would allow non U.S. citizens to vote on budget issues. However, State Statute does not allow non U.S. citizens to vote.
- Commissioner Tuttle mentioned that members on the Town Council wished to change the date for conducting a performance evaluation of the Town Manager from December 31st to June 30th under Section 3.1 of the Charter. In light of the November election, a new council would have to conduct this review after taking office.
The Commission can make changes to the Final Report based upon recommendations made by the Town Council.
Commissioner Engel moved “To amend section 3.1 to change the date of the Town Manager required evaluation from December 31st to June 30th annually”, seconded by Vice Chairperson Ciucias.
All members voted in the affirmative. Motion passed 5-0-0.
Commissioner Engel mentioned that Town Councilor Weintraub did not support staggered terms. She also stated that Town Councilor Moore did not oppose it, but wanted to have more information as to how it would work.
Vice Chairperson Ciucias mentioned that some of the Town Councilors expressed concern with presenting one question on the ballot as opposed to several questions. She also mentioned that she too was concerned with supporting the concept of one question which could be voted up or down based upon opposition to one or more of the recommendations made to the Charter.
Commissioner Tuttle was concerned with too many questions on a ballot and individuals being overwhelmed. This could result in the voter either not voting on any of the questions or voting ‘no’ on all of the questions.
Commissioner Engel felt that the recommended staggered terms for the Town Council, removal of the residency requirement for the Town Manager and the method for filling vacancies to be the major changes to the Charter and the other recommendations were more “housekeeping” changes.
It was mentioned that the number of questions was for the Town Council to determine and not the responsibility of the Charter Revision Commission.
Commissioner Engel requested the Town Clerk to draft four questions for the next Town Council meeting so that it could be presented for their review.
Members of the Charter Revision Commission were disappointed that the turn out for the public hearing was not well attended.
Vice Chairperson Ciucias also mentioned being questioned by a reporter after the public remarks section of the Town Council meeting. She was asked if she was exhausted after the completion of the process. She indicated that she was not. The reporter mentioned that there appeared to be a familiarity among the members of the Charter Revision Commission. She indicated that all the members worked well together. The last question was if she would be interested in serving on another Charter Revision Commission. She indicated that she would.
Chairperson Concannon asked how the Town Council reacted to the recommendations from the Charter Revision Commission. Commissioner Engel felt that the Council meeting went very smoothly. She felt that there were not a lot of questions because the Council had their questions answered.
Chairperson Concannon indicated that now that the Charter Revision Commission had completed it charge and according to State Statute, the commission terminates upon the appointing authority’s acceptance or rejection of its final report.
There was a discussion that the Town Council could appoint a task force in order to present and educate the public on the recommendations of the Charter Revision Commission.
Vice Chairperson Ciucias asked if it made sense to have a few members from the Charter Revision Commission to be on this task force.
At the next Town Council meeting, the following would be on the agenda:
- The Town Council will either accept or reject the Final Report of the Charter Revision Commission
- The Town Council will approve either one or more questions to be on the November ballot
- The Town Council will submit the ballot question(s) to the Town Clerk’s Office and approve the question(s) appearing on the November ballot.
The meeting adjournment: Motion by Commissioner Tuttle and seconded by Commissioner Engel to adjourn at 12:50 p.m.
Sandra M. Wieleba, Town Clerk