Shelton Charter group debates BOE, P&Z term lengths, advocates no changes

Shelton City Hall.

Shelton City Hall.

Contributed photo

SHELTON — Terms for Board of Education members would remain at two years while other boards and commissions would stay at four years if charter revision commission proposals are ultimately approved.

The Charter Revision Commission at its May 11 remote meeting reached consensus on making all appointed boards four-year terms. The library board was dropped from six years to four while the Planning and Zoning Commission would remain at four-year terms.

Commissioners decided to keep the Board of Education at two-year terms, rejecting the suggestion of making members serve four-year, staggered terms.

Commissioner Don Sheehy said he did not feel two years would be long enough for an appropriate learning curve on what is an intensive board facing many complicated issues.

The commission has stated all along that it seeks unanimous consensus before moving ahead with accepting or rejecting a revision, but Sheehy said he simply wanted to voice his opinion. He said he was willing to accept the will of the majority on Board of Education term lengths.

Accepted revisions include increasing the size of the Library Board to seven members, same as the Planning and Zoning Commission. Both moves were made to avoid deadlock votes.

One issue remaining for discussion is Planning and Zoning alternates. Proposals have run the gambit from eliminating them altogether to maintaining the current two alternates, one from each political party. Under this plan, the alternate could only fill in for a member of his or her political party.

There is also debate over whether the alternates — if maintained — would serve two- or four-year terms.

The commission, by consensus, also agreed to establish language in the city charter to create of a technology committee.

With the ever-changing technology needs and costs associated with tech updates and purchases, Board of Aldermen President John Anglace Jr. recommended creation of a nine-member committee.

Anglace, in testimony before the commission last month, said the nine-member board would have three members from the business and industry sector appointed by the Board of Aldermen, three members from the school community appointed by the Board of Education and one member appointed by the mayor as well as the IT directors from the city and Board of Education. The mayor and school superintendent would serve as ex-officio members.

Anglace also suggested members serve two-year terms and be responsible for examining ways to provide the public with service enhancements using IT platforms, to develop a five-year IT plan and maintain IT security.

The committee would have the authority to examine any aspect of city government for possible IT improvement, said Anglace, and “do more for less.”

Anglace also recommended that if an IT committee were to be ultimately approved by voters, a referendum should be held to approve $2.5 million for the committee, which would have the “authority as a building committee by the BOA to make expenditures.”

The Charter Revision Commission is near the end of its idea debate stage, and a draft city charter, with revisions, will be put together over the next few weeks.