It’s been 10 years since voters were asked to amend the City Charter lancing a ballot question proposing mayoral appointment of Board of Education members.
That was the 2012 reelection of Barack Obama in a high-turnout presidential cycle. It was easy for opponents to stand in front of polling places rallying electors to preserve their liberty to choose school board members.
This came of the heels of the Bill Finch mayoral administration’s move for a state takeover of schools, eventually ruled illegal by the Connecticut Supreme Court.
City Council President Aidee Nieves is contemplating a Charter Revision Commission to examine a broader reform look at the City Charter. Unclear if it will move forward with a tight timeline to place it on the ballot for this November general election. Or, perhaps, it can be formed for ballot consideration in November 2023.
Some ideas under consideration include the council president replacing the mayor as chair of full council meetings, transitioning from an appointed zoning board to an elected body and installation of one elected council member per district instead of two.
Arguments for one council member per district include eliminating the feeble cripples who rely heavily on a council partner to perform the bulk of the work and forcing a complete understanding of the district, eliminating the mantra: you handle the upper half of the district I’ll take care of the lower. It happens. In addition, for those anathema of $9,000 council stipends, possibly rising in the future, this move saves money. Also, the council leader and mayor have 10 personalities to balance instead of 20.
How about 10 council members with four-year terms?
Voter-approved charter changes over the last 35 years or so include granting budget authority to the City Council, eliminating the old Board of Apportionment and Taxation that had the responsibility and mayoral appointment of police and fire chiefs to five-year contracts serving no more than 10 years.
The city is currently in the midst of a national search for a new top cop whose appointment will be completed the second half of the 2022.