Letter: A&T not meeting demonstrates city's selective adherence to charter

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

Contributed photo

To the Editor:

Seventy percent of us agreed not to support the charter revision that called for the elimination of the financial oversight of the city - the Board of Apportionment & Taxation. The city website shows only one meeting agenda since May 2019 and there are currently no meetings scheduled.

Meetings are required for this board as the charter tasks them with approving budget transfers within the city. The charter also requires this board hold public meetings with city departments to answer questions about their proposed budgets. This did not occur in 2020 with the excuse of the pandemic. Yet we have seen other boards function in a virtual setting during this pandemic with no issues. We need to demand public meetings be held in 2021.

City leaders continue selective adherence to the charter when it suits them best. A year ago the Board of Education was told to use the same attorney as the city as per the charter. This was done despite the fact that the city has a pending lawsuit against the Board of Education. At the recent November Board of Ed meeting, city attorneys - without prompting - rendered a legal opinion that the board’s by-law for the annual election of officers did not adhere to city charter. However, when it comes to the Board of A&T adherence to the charter is disregarded.

In July 2019, members of the Board of A&T sent a letter to city attorneys asking if the charter had been violated by the cancellation of meetings and the subsequent handling of all budget transfers by the Board of Aldermen instead of the Board of A&T. The city charter states these transfers must be approved by the Board of A&T, not the Board of Aldermen. The members of the Board of A&T never received an answer from the city attorneys. Where is their legal opinion on these violations? Why do charter violations with this board continue to be ignored and other boards held accountable when it favors the city?

Shelton are you tired? The city's selective use of our town charter must end. The Board of A&T must meet to conduct its basic duties of questioning/approving city budget transfers. Our town charter must be revised to strengthen, not eliminate, the powers of the Board of A&T. These are all issues of basic good governance that are continually being ignored by our current elected officials.

Demand better from your local government. Email Mayor Lauretti at shelton01@cityofshelton.org and Board of A&T chair John Francino Quinn at cavalytrooper3@gmail.com and request that they hold a Board of A&T meeting as soon as possible.

Finally, follow us on Facebook at Envision Shelton as we continue to advocate for bipartisan government that puts community first. You can also reach out to us at envisionshelton@gmail.com to get more involved. We must come together for the betterment of our city.

Envision Shelton

Lorraine Rossner, chair