Letter: A&T chair responds to meeting criticism

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

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The following letter was in response to the recent Board of Apportionment and Taxation budget meeting.

To the Editor:

The Board of Apportionment and Taxation (A&T) has a membership of three Republican and three Democrat members with the mayor breaking a tie vote if he is present. He was not present at this meeting, so the chances were slim that we were going to agree on a budget recommendation to forward to the Board of Aldermen (BOA).

At the beginning of the meeting, Republican A&T members attempted to put a motion on the floor to recommend and forward the mayor’s proposed budget. Whether or not that motion ever came to the floor is still in question. However, this attempted motion was quickly met with a substitute motion from the Democrat members who amended the motion with a substitute motion and, when that failed, they offered another substitute motion. Both motions were acted upon and failed along party lines.

There was no parliamentarian present to provide guidance and the meeting quickly evolved into a display of one-upsmanship … a good chance for our legal member to show her parliamentary skills.

COVID-19 does not help. It makes everything awkward when we are not all face-to-face. The communications become difficult and disjointed with voice feed delayed and feedback interference. It is difficult to maintain meeting order when people not present burst out making political statements and refuse to come to order.

The Republican motion as originally offered was never voted upon. However, the Republican A&T members wanted to recommend and forward the mayor’s proposed budget to the BOA without change. We believe the mayor recognized the need for additional education funding in addition to the $135,000 he recommended. He stated in his budget remarks that the almost $2 million ESSR-19 money available to the BOE needed spending definition before the final budget be adopted by the BOA.

As a recommendatory body in the budget process, the Republican A&T members believe there was not sufficient ESSR-19 spending definition information available for us to make a recommendation and the city is best served by allowing the fiscal authority — the BOA — to do its job working collaboratively with the BOE.

We would also observe that the Democrat A&T members had no reservations about curtailing the A&T charter responsibilities on the budget last year when they walked out of the final A&T meeting thereby ending the process without debate. The city survived last year, and the city will survive this year despite the lack of a recommendation by the Board of A&T.

Jay Francino Quinn

Chairman, Board of A&T