A committee is currently reviewing our Town Charter and governance practices. The Charter Review process happens every five years by state statute.
The committee desires public input, but currently hasn’t received much public comment at their meetings. The committee has taken a very thoughtful initial approach in interviewing stakeholders, employees, past selectman and board members to understand how our current governance is working, what could be done better, how certain roles/ boards work together, etc. The next phase will be reviewing this data and formulating the committee’s recommended changes that will be presented to the Board of Selectman (BOS) and ultimately to the residents.
This charter review is an important task. It is imperative residents are informed and provide their comments. The following is a brief summary, certainly not exhaustive, of the current topics the committee is looking to explore more:
First Selectman’s Term Length – 2 years vs. 4 years
Town Manager – should we hire a professional administrator to work with the Board of Selectman to run daily operations and to work with the Board of Finance on fiscal matters?
Department Oversight – delineate a clear reporting structure to the First Selectman.
Water Pollution Control Authority – review relationship with the Town.
Elected positions vs. appointed positions – should Town Clerk, Tax Collector, Treasurer, which are elected positions, be appointed?
Making the Charter language less “attorney speak” and more “plain language.”
Is there another topic that is important to you that you believe should be addressed? What are your opinions about the topics on the table? Speak up and let the committee know. Visit the Charter Revision tab on www.suffieldct.gov for more detailed information about the commission, objective, timeline, minutes, contact information, etc.
The committee will present its Charter recommendations to the BOS (tentatively set for August 3, 2021) who will then vote. Ultimately, Suffield residents will have the opportunity to vote in a referendum on November 2, 2021, the same date as our municipal elections.