Letter: Charter revisions reduce public participation, consolidate Lauretti’s power
To the Editor:
In the last few years, Shelton’s surplus evaporated, and a city employee stole more than $1 million from City Hall, yet the Charter Revision Commission is determined to reduce the amount of checks and balances on financial operations.
The commission is proposing removing an important financial oversight board — the Board of Apportionment and Taxation. I served on this board, and know it plays a critical role in the setting and monitoring of the city budget. In fact, it is the only public body solely charged to meet with departments to understand their financial dealings.
The Charter Revision Commission alters meaningful representation of several other boards and commissions for the end goal of less public involvement, and more majority-party representation on nearly every elected board. The proposal consolidates authority and power in the hands of a select few. Government should be looking for ways to bring more people into the process, not restricting access and participation.
Don’t take my word for it. Review the proposed changes for yourself and you will see long-standing oversight procedures now crossed-out throughout the proposed charter. This proposed Charter puts all decisions into the hands of the mayor’s office and reduces proper checks and balances which are what make for good government.
Despite the Charter Revision Commission’s efforts to reduce public participation and consolidate power — the public must vote on this proposed charter on Tuesday, Nov 3. The public will have the final say — a cornerstone of our democracy and what a charter should represent.