CRC Votes for Us. Finally.

19May08

Charter panel gives council veto on attorney
RICHARD WEIZEL
Article Last Updated: 05/19/2008 12:44:08 AM EDT

STRATFORD — A week after the Charter Revision Commission narrowly rejected a proposal to give the Town Council veto power over top mayoral appointments, the panel has approved empowering the council to veto the mayor’s choice for town attorney. The mayor now has sole authority to appoint the town attorney.

The commission voted 5-4 two weeks ago to deny a motion that would have allowed the council — by a super-majority vote — to reject mayoral appointments for more than a half-dozen town director jobs. But it voted unanimously last week to recommend a provision that would give the council a say over the mayor’s selection for town attorney.

“The major difference is that the council works far more closely and directly with the town attorney than with town directors,” said Commissioner Ben Proto, who voted against the motion involving town directors.

Charter Revision Commission Vice-Chairman Richard Fredette, who also voted against the first motion, said he supports the council’s right to negate a town attorney appointment because the body has a vested interest in who assumes the position.

“What I also like is that this forces the Town Council to take action when it believes the appointee is not the right person for town attorney,” Fredette said. Commissioner John Fahan, who made the motion regarding town directors, also supported giving the council veto power on the town attorney appointment.

“I still believe the council should have a say in who the mayor appoints as directors, but at least commission members all agreed the council should have this authority with the town attorney,” Fahan said.

Town Attorney Richard Buturla, of Bercham, Moses and Devlin in Milford, advised the commission against changing from an appointed town attorney to a regular salaried position.

“With the breadth and complexity of cases we handle, and the hourly rate of $150 that we charge, I don’t believe the town would benefit in any way from changing to a general counsel who would not have the team of 30 lawyers we have at our firm,” he said. Err, Rich? $150 an hour for Kent Miller? I am not sure what the legal term is here (maybe Freedom could help us out) but, STFU. I think you just got Berchem Moses & Devlin’s pink slip handed to you.

Buturla, however, declined to offer an opinion on whether the council should have veto power over the mayor’s appointment of a town attorney.

Under the approved motion, the mayor, within two business days of appointing a town attorney, would notify the town clerk and council chairman. The council would then have 30 days “by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the entire membership to vote to reject the appointment,” according to the provision approved by the Charter Revision Commission.

If the council fails to act to reject the appointment, with a seven-vote super-majority within 30 days, the attorney’s appointment becomes official.

Charter Revision Commission Chairman John Florek recused himself from the discussion or vote, citing the fact he still handles legal cases for the town as a special town attorney. Good for you, John. It was the right thing to do and I am proud of you. Florek for Mayor?

The last of three public hearings on potential charter changes will be held by the commission at 6 p.m. Thursday in Town Hall. The panel must submit a final report to the Town Council by June 2 in order for any recommended changes to be posted on the November election ballot.

Now, let’s make it a salaried position and remove the politics from the subsequent “opinions”.

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5 Responses to “CRC Votes for Us. Finally.”

  1. 1 1george1

    CRC votes for us. FINALLY.

    Appropriate Headline. Especially FINALLY!
    The Revised Charter was bad.
    The C. R. C. put in the time, is capable, but are structuring issues
    that I disagree with and do not include crucial issues.

    NO ONE is COMMENTING on the BURTURLA OPINION on RECALL
    GRANDFATHERED RIGHTS.

    If part of the TOWN CHARTER is ILLEGAL, isn’t the entire CHARTER
    ILLEGAL?

    Isn’t that what is done with LAWS, and are BASIS for CASES being
    thrown out of court?

    In an much early blog, FREEDOM bought out the term “MALPRACTICE.”
    My opinion the appropriate term is R. I. C. O. ACT.

  2. 2 jonbest

    George I thought I should comment because this has come up several times. I have attended the meetings of the CRC and this is my observation. The CRC took a position on Mr. Buturla’s opinion regarding recall, referendum and initiative.

    They stated several times that they disagree with him. the CRC stated that those rights of recall, referendum and initiative still exist and are not being changed in any way by the CRC or in the charter.

    I support the people’s right to recall, referendum and initiative and believe that our representatives in Hartford should support any legislation that is necessary to apply recall to the Mayor. Citizens of Stratford and every other town and city in Connecticut should have that right.

    To suggest that the CRC has not addressed the opinion nor offered their own opinion on the subject or have not sought to protect the rights that we have is not accurate. I believe this issue has been addressed.

    I hope this comment helps.

    Jonathan Best

  3. 3 1george1

    Jon,

    1. Burturla has given an opinion on petition last Council about the Charter
    being reopened.

    2. That Council did nothing.

    3. Burturla’s opinion was uncontested.

    4. This Council created the C. R. C.

    5. Burturla offered an opinion on Recall of Town Councilors being lost and
    do to reasons which NO ONE will give the exact specifics on, our Town
    Charter changed from being under one Act to a different Act? Claims I heard?

    A) We changed forms of Government from Council Manager to Mayor Council.

    B) Because there was a Vote by the Town Residents, the Charter is a WHOLE
    NEW CHARTER rather than a REVISED CHARTER.

    C) THe Town Council or prior C. R. C. did something ?? that did not meet some
    sort of Legal Standards of being a Revised Charter.

    D) Someone turned the Revised Town Charter into the State as a NEW CHARTER
    and NOT as a REVISED CHARTER?

    E) Someone in the State FILED the Town Charter in the State process as a
    REVISED CHARTER and NOT as a NEW CHARTER?

    BOTTOM LINES:
    1. Burturla has an uncontested opinion on the petition. Ergo = precedent!

    2. Burturla has laid foundation, with an opinion, IF there was EVER an attempt
    of RECALL of Town Councilors, which has NEVER happened and MAY never
    happen.
    However, ONLY if there is a RECALL attempt will anyone KNOW for sure IF there
    has been a CHANGE of which SPECIAL ACT / HOME RULE ACT the Town Council is actually under, and IF GRANDFATHERED RIGHTS were LOST or STOLEN?
    > Unless someone gets definitive LEGAL ANSWERS from the STATE.

    3. Unless the C. R. C. 1 & 2 and Town Councils for 1 & 2, write into the newer
    Revised Town Charter that the PURVIEW was there was NO INTENT to change
    for 1 ACT to ANOTHER ACT, could a JUDGE “reasonably be expected to make
    a SUMMARY DECISION favorable to GRANDFATHERED RIGHTS.
    > Even at that, a JUDGE would likely REMAND it to the State Legislature.

    > Otherwise there would have to be a Trial, and IF no one of the people would
    go on record or if a majority did not go on record of INTENT / PURVIEW, then
    the GRANDFATHERED RIGHTS would be lost.

    > Even if the above was done, a JUDGE might simply rule.
    A) This is the LAW.
    B) The Burturla opinion is grounded in law.
    C) Burturla’s opinion prevails.

    Just my opinion.
    I am not a lawyer.

    However, I have watched Burturla, the political parties, and the courts.

  4. 4 jonbest

    I respect your opinion, however I believe this issue was addressed by CRC 2. I am not a lawyer either but I am a voter and have heard what was said in the meetings. The rights you have concern have been addressed.
    I cannot speak to CRC 1 because I did not attend the meetings. I think this issue would only be fully resolved to your satisfaction if it was court tested. I think the intent of the CRC was not to change the rights you have concern about. I think it is clear. I want to believe that everyone is working in the best interest of the Town of Stratford. I stand by my stated position on this.

    I hope this helps.

    Jonathan Best

  5. 5 1george1

    Jon,
    Measure Twice.
    Cut once.

    Which is stronger, verbal or writen agreement?

    Which is stronger, discussions on the Charter and
    opinions of members, including Laywers, or Case
    Law and Statute?

    Predicated on past political history in Stratford,
    who would find my wariness as unfounded?


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