2015 Charter has a preamble (l); it is on the Town of
Weston website (Town Seal dates from later - a Blake Hampton
Revision not to be on the ballot since
Sept. 5, 2013 was the deadline for
finalizing ballot question - very tough
break for hard working Commission.
However, Town approves it overwhelmingly
at it appeared on Nov. 2014 election day
APPOINTED ON JUNE 10, 2013: Membership:
Chair. (D), Woody Bliss (R), Arne DeKeijzer (D), Nina Daniel (R),
John Stripp (R), Michael O' Brien (D) and Denny Brooks (D).
First Public Hearing
held before everyone left town on vacation...
SECOND PUBLIC HEARING
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 28, 2013...video is on the website.
THIS PAGE: Our Observer's notes below.
- MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16,
2013 - PRESENTATION OF FINAL REPORT TO SELECTMEN
- Friday meeting
September 6, 2013 votes 5-2 for quorum at ATBM to be a number
- 130. After voting initially 5-2 for a quorum of
100. Quorum reworded to make sure both registered voters
and Grand List voters counted for the quorum.
- OVER - SECOND PUBLIC
HEARING WEDNESDAY AUGUST 28, 2013 AT
7:30PM IN TOWN HALL...This will be on the ballot
November 5, 2013 as well as contests for 4 boards
plus Probate Judge. The DRAFT of afinal
report online now: Go to Town of Weston
website for supporting documents.
- SECOND PUBLIC HEARING
August 28, 2013 - this announced at August 8, 2013
meeting. At that meeting, the Observer notes all were
present (one by telephone) and a "sense of the meeting"
determined that the quorum be left at 2% but that the "2%"
only be of registered voters - thus making it both easier to
determine and slightly lower than actual 2% number. The
co-chair. who drafted the new Charter last time will now make
changes for review and the next meeting (August 14).
- Public meeting Thursday
not on Town TV,(although it was moved to the Meeting Room due
to long early evening meeting in the Commission Room going
beyond its time limit). Interesting and long (90 minutes) full
discussion of all items brought up at the previous public
hearing Wednedsday. Another working meeting set for
Tuesday July 2, 7:3opm in the Town Hall Meeting Room was
canceled. Co-Chairs open to compromise on resolution to
ATBM 2013 quorum count issue? SECOND PUBLIC HEARING in
September to avoid religious holidays.
- Public Hearings:
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 7:30pm in the
Town Hall Meeting Room and at the end of
the process, in September.TESTIMONY AT
There were five (5)
speakers and one written comment at the
Public Hearing 6-26-13. The next
meeting is 6-27-13 at 7:3p0pm in the
Commission Room. Board of Educations
requested excepting them from the
"election in January" for their board,
WFFR defended keeping the Referendum, the
quorom was questioned vigorously by three
others. ATBM incident
discussed. Former member of the
Charter Revision Commission sent in a
letter saying he thought the "quorum"
provision was being manipulated and should
- Working meetings only
in August - the 7th, 14th, 21st and
28th. To be finished in time
(September-October) to be on the November
5, 2013 ballot (allows time for
Selectmen's Public Hearing and review
process including referral back to the
Charter Revision Commission).
- Follow Charter Revision...
THE CHARTER REVISION PASSED BY A 3-1 MARGIN IN NOVEMBER
BUDGET PROCESS FY2013-2014 WILL BE ACCORDING TO THE NEW
THE BUDGET PROCESS
REVIEW SCHEDULE FY2013-2014
After Public Hearing, Board of Finance cuts school budget by
$190,000, which is an actual cut to last year's total...no quorum
Application for absentee ballot; Or you might
prefer to go to Town Hall,
and you can vote absentee on the spot (if you know you are
going to be out of town May 2nd).
No quorum at ATBM on 8pm count.
machines at WHS Library afterward, above;
April 25th, absentee ballots available at Town Hall during working hours
2, 2013, in-person voting at Weston Middle School Gym from 12
noon to 8pm.
you checked out the new rules of voting at ATBM and after,
in the Referndum process yet?
@ 10-1 ratio "yes" to "no."
Only 289 bothers to vote. 80 voted after ATBM, 22
did absentee and 187 came to the WMS Gym. ACTUAL
RESULTS: Town 256-33, School 251-38, Capital
SELECT COMMITTEE ON CHARTER REVISION - "YES" 3039,
"NO" 996 - NEW CHARTER HERE
Appointed June 2, 2011
Ken Edgar, Dennis Tracey, Woody
Bliss, Arne DeKeijzer, Nina Daniel, Dick Bochinski,
ON THE WESTON BALLOT ON NOVEMBER 6- "YES-NO"
ON NEW CHARTER - "YES" wins, 3039-996
SELECTMEN'S PUBLIC HEARING JUNE 14
PHOTO BELOW: Action taken on June 21 to request change to
separate Town from Capital budgets in Referendum. Charter
Revision Commission has last meeting July 10, 2012 at 8pm in
The Charter Revision Commission met Tuesday at Town
Hall for the last time. Their terms of office run until August
present voted 6-0 to change Referendum to cover all three
major parts of budget (Town, School and Capital). (Not able to get
the seventh vote because access to telephone hook-up not available
as room originally posted for meeting was taken by C.E.R.T.
to accomodate request by Selectmen (now in writing) from the June 21 Selectmen's meeting (after their
Public Hearing, see below).
NOTE: This is actually the way the Charter
Revision Commission had stated Referendum process in the first
place, if memory serves! It was reported at this last
meeting that some towns do not have referenda on the Capital
Budget - but they assume that ATBM makes that decision. No
longer would work here since the Charter Revision Commission
established a quorum for action at the ATBM - possible that no
action could be taken (this year, for example, no quorum would
have been present).
Selectmen close 90 minute hearing and will decide June 21st.
whether to ask for changes or not.
VERSION OF CHARTER POST-APRIL 25 AND NEW REPORT ISSUED:
Here are links: Prepare for Selectmen's Public Hearing
June 14 by reading these documents...
Charter itself as
proposed for Selectmen's Public Hearing June 14, 2012
CHARTER REVISION COMMISSION PUBLIC
HEARING APRIL 25, 2012, CLOSED
The LWV did not make
a statement, but it was one that Leaguers were present on both
sides of the table!
READ THE NEW CHARTER HERE
DRAFT READY FOR PUBLIC HEARING APRIL
ATTENTION: At the Charter Revision Commission meeting
Saturday morning at 11am, March 31, 2012, the Weston Charter
Revision Commission voted unanimously 6-0 (one member on speaker
phone, one already having indicated assent to a Co-Chair., but
not present) the Final Draft was approved for release to the public.
Moved, Susan Moch, seconded Dick Bochinski.
A Public Heating will take place on the draft new Charter on
Wednesday, April 25, 2012, we assume at 7:30pm in the Town Hall
Meeting Room - please look for Public Notice in the newspaper.
As the League Observer heard it, the last few edits will be made
and the document know as a DRAFT will be uploaded to the Town of
Weston website as soon as possible, and this fact may be
announced at Annual Town Budget Meeting on Wednesday April 4 at
The general process for how the Charter Revision Commission
proceeds from here is:
to listen to comment (and offer explication of text), review
and changes if needed and then...
Board of Selectmen (Selectman Tracey to recuse himself), who
will have a specified time for review themselves
they hold another Public Hearing.
would like to have the Charter Revision Commission make
changes to the Draft (and only the Charter Revision
Commission can make changes), it all goes back to the
Commission - who can make them or not,
the document to the Selectmen for an "up or down"
an appeals process for the public, who may, in the event of
a "down" vote by the Selectmen, have the Charter Revision
placed on the November ballot.
UNANIMOUS, BI-PARTISAN POSITION
BY BOARD OF FINANCE: SIX (6) YEAR TERM
FAVORED. THAT LATER REJECTED BY CHARTER REVISION
COMMISSION MARCH 17, 2012, AT LAST DRAFTING SESSION.
Will anyone care? We
As soon as League got the final draft document explaining
changes from old Charter in .doc format we uploaded it here.
OBSERVER CORP REPORT FOR MARCH: HIGHLIGHT ON CHARTER
There will be
open public meetings by the Charter Revision Commission after they
get a 13 page plain-English summary of what's being proposed for
change in a new Charter completed. After submitting the
summary to the FORUM on Monday March 22, these extra public
input meetings are scheduled for:
INSTEAD OF A SEPARATE EXTRA PUBLIC HEARING:
March 25 Sun 11:30am
March 28, Wednesday, 7:30pm,
March 31, Saturday at 11am.
Then, required PUBLIC
HEARING will be April 25, Wednesday, we assume at 7:30pm;
after public weighs in, May 2 & 10 for adjustments if
necessary and to the Selectmen, who have up to 45 days to consider
the Charter Revision Commission's proposed changes...
Charter proposal is supposed to be on the ballot in Novermber, so
there are other deadlines to be met once the Board
of Selectmen, with one member recused, decides on what to
recommend to the town.
Session #2 Feb. 8, 2012, 7:30-9:45pm, Town Hall Commission
Room...and March 10-11; some not observed by League.
the Commission Room for the February 8th meeting, the Charter
Revision Commission decided to have the weekend meetings for
drafting in the Commission Room - 1pm on Saturday (did not take
place after all) and 11:30 on Sunday (Feb. 11 & 12) - CANCELED. Observer
Corps notes that there are still issues that have not been
resolved by consensus.
Co-Chair will be at Speak Up
Drafting Session #1 Feb. 1, 2012,
7:30-9:30pm, Town Hall Meeting Room.
These sessions are not being televised. It was
suggested that the Commission was within its rights to
do"drafting" in executive session. But this Commission would
not do that - but no paper copy would be circulated to any member
of the public, as this document is still not considered FOI
However, those in the League who attended all sessions of the 2003 Charter Revision Commission (minor
revisions), which met in open session, and have been using the
1979 Charter for dozens of years, find that with the guidance from
the Commission (for example - "Article 1 is old article 2" or vice
versa) - it is easy to follow.
Schedule for futute drafting sessions:
at 7:30pm, Commission Room
Feb. 11 Saturday at 1pm, Town Hall Meeting Room
Feb. 12 Sunday at 11am, Town Hall Meeting Room
Feb. 15 Wednesday at 7:30pm, Town Hall Meeting Room
Feb. 29 Wednesday at 7:30pm, Town Hall Meeting Room
Tentative Public Hearing March 21, a Wednesday (televised)
ANOTHER MEETING, THIS TIME A SPECIAL
(TUESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2012) COVERS ARTICAL EIGHT AGAIN:
Link to draft agenda here.
JANUARY 4, 2012 meeting goes over Article 8, the budget
process. League members in observance. Agreement on
movingend date to first week in May - this for ATBM.
Referendum and exactly how it might work discussed. What is
a quorum for ATBM? Should there be one?
7:30pm, Town Hall Meeting Room
AGENDA FOR THE DECEMBER 21 MEETING OF THE WESTON CHARTER REVISION
1 – Approval of the Minutes of the December 7 Meeting/done
Item 2 – David Coprio, Chair, Building Board of Appeals, appeared
before the Commission; Charter as it relates to the Building
Board of Appeals - informed Commission of the job of the B.B.A..
Item 3 – Conceptual discussion of the annual budget process. The
Commission discussed the following questions regarding the
budget. AND YOU CAN WATCH THIS MEETING ONLINE AT THE TOWN OF WESTON WEBSITE!
meeting this will continue.
‐ When should the Annual Town Budget Meeting
(“ATBM”) be held?
Item 4 – Any
other business of the Commission.
the ATBM be allowed to increase or decrease the proposed budget?
‐ Should a
quorum be required in order for the ATBM to act?
any vote on increasing or decreasing the budget at the ATBM be
conducted by secret ballot?
the budget then go to a referendum for approval?
the referendum be mandatory or by petition only?
happens if the budget is not approved?
Charter Revision Commission, Dec. 7, 2011,
7:30pm, Town Hall Meeting Room
After discussion, Commission
decides not to vote on any specific recommendations so
far, and not to be tied to any early "decisions" until
more public input is obtained.
The history of Weston Charters and their revisions was
then presented in a power point and will be up on the town
website in pdf form. Did you know that there was a
mandatory referendum for a few years in between charter
revisions...until the big revision in 1979 that gave power
to the people to take the budget to an adjourned town
meeting and machine vote either before or after
ATBM? Along the lines of 25 signatures to call a
special town meeting to override the Board of Selectmen
action (change to several hundred, if we recall
accurately, in 2003).
The subject of "Home Rule"
comes up in meetings in October and November. How
does this issue relate to Charter Revision, if at
all? Click here.
WHAT IS "HOME RULE" AND IS
THIS IMPORTANT TO COMMUNITIES WITH CHARTERS?
other documents prepared and online at Town of Weston
website (on the Charter Revision Commission subpage
); some of these documents show what was changed or
added; plus CT Office of Legislative Research report of what
Charter Revision Commissions are supposed to do.
Woody Bliss explains how First Selectman's powers really work.
THE WORK BEGINS AT OCTOBER 5 MEETING! All
meetings televised on Channel 79!
Early testimony came from Town Attorney Pat Sullivan.
She answered specific questions and pointed out that the
Charter of 1979 works well. Her services are available
as rewrite progresses. Then the
Revision Commission got to work reviewing Articles 2 and 3
("Town Meeting" and "Board of Selectmen"). It was
determined that Annual Town Budget Meeting should be
separate discussion and Referendum should be
considered. It was also discussed that specificity of
some recommendations by P&Z at an earlier meeting were
not needed in the Charter. It was preliminarily
decided to have a definitions section. More non-League
Administrator Landry shares his thoughts...September
Followed by former First Selectman Woody Bliss, who
advised not tinkering with those many sections of the
Charter which haves worked so well for so long.
"IF IT AIN'T BROKE DON'T FIX IT" and the converse "IF IT
IS BROKE, FIX IT" - Woody Bliss hands out "CHEER FLIP
SIGNS" (not pictured) with the same message.
The Charter Revision Commission interviews continued in a
special Saturday morning-afternoon session...with
Selectman David Muller (l) first up Saturday...after his
presentation, it should be no surprise that George Guidera
was elected six (6) times! Woody Bliss, who was
elected four times to the same post stepped to the mic to
give his take on town government and the Charter.
From the point of view of both Board of Finance on which
he served previously, as well as his business experience
and recent long service as First Selectman.
Town Administrator Tom Landry and former First Selectman
George Guidera (1987-1999) spoke. David Muller had
gone first and submitted written testimony as did Woody
Bliss, going last, who gave us a copy, which we uploaded
here. Meeting lasted three and one-half hours.
Four towns' Charters will be basic reference, altho' any
others may be referenced, too (the four - Brookfield,
Canton, Ridgefield and Wilton). NEXT: Oct. 5 Wednesday,
Weston Town Attorney invited - after her testimony, work
will begin in earnest. Former First Selectman Hal
Shupack provided the minutes of all 1979 Charter Revision
Commission minutes to Ken Edgar and it is noted that that
Commission me every week for a year.
Regular Meeting on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 7:30pm
in the Town Hall Meeting Room to hear from First Selectman
and Board of Education Chair.
Board of Education Chair.Phil Schaefer (above),
speaking for himself, says ATBM and in effect Town Meeting
itself is out of date. Both he and First Selectman
Weinstein think budget process should allow for raising
numbers as well as cutting budgets. First Selectman
should be part time and probably 2 year term, Weinstein
SPECIAL MEETING TO LISTEN TO
PLANNING AND ZONING, MINORITY SELECTMAN AND BOARD OF FINANCE:
September 17, 2011 special meeting runs from 11am to 1:25pm:
Weston FORUM will report on it and may have photographs.
Some discussion as members asked questions (more than the ones
that had been sent to those invited to speak). The questions
asked of invitees not in the posted notice - but since the Town TV
channel 79 recorded the q. & a., there is virtually a public
record of of these in the discussion Additional testimony
from First Selectman and Chair. of the Board of Education
Wednesday, Sept. 21 and Saturday at 11am other participants,
Now called Charter Revision
September the month for more public input
plus invited input from office holder, presernt and past.
Second PUBLIC HEARING Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at
7:30PM, TOWN HALL:.
Six "speakers" (one written
statement), two from League. NOTE: More September
meetings of Charter Revision
Commission are as follows: 17th at 11am, 22nd at 7:30pm
and 24th at 11am - all in Town Hall - to interview
invited members of Boards and Commissions and previous ofice
CHARTER REVISION COMMITTEE MET WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17, 2011
AT 7:30PM IN THE TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM -
posted on the Town website)
Channel 79, and all meetings will be, with the possible
exceptions of Special Meetings, but no vote taken on this.
attend public hearing and provide written comment - for two
dozen or so officials - suggested.
provided by Commission member Moch: http://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/ordinances.htm
Public Hearing Tuesday, July 19,
2011, 7:30pm on Town TV from the Town Hall Meeting Room
First Public Hearing completed (July 19,
from non-League source here. Three members of the
seven member Charter Revision Committee are or were, members of
the LWV of Weston and its Study
Committee on the Charter. Also, speakers and one who
contributed a letter from the League's Committee itself
participated, but noted they were not speaking for the League.
Affairs Update report here.
When it comes
to the budget, the process by which it is created, voted on, and
implemented each year is dictated by the Weston Town Charter.
Voters on Nov.
6 approved a new town charter — already in effect — by a 3-1
margin. Mr. Edgar, who led the Charter Revision Commission that
spent more than a year re-tooling the document, thanked
voters for their support. He then explained some of the changes.
For the past
three years, the Annual Town Budget Meeting (ATBM) — a Town
Meeting where the budget is decided by voice vote — has been
followed by a machine referendum, because of petitions from voters
or votes by the Board of Selectmen.
the process,” Mr. Edgar said. The budget vote will now go
immediately to a machine vote after the ATBM, which must now have
a quorum of at least 2% of registered voters in order for the
budget to be lowered (it may not be raised at the ATBM). Voters
may cast ballots that same night, or at a polling place a week or
major changes to the charter include the tax collector being
changed to an appointed post; the terms of the finance board
members will be four years instead of six; the elimination of
school board “safe seats” (every election can have a competitive
race); and the Board of Ethics is now an official board.
Weston FORUM covers Saturday, September 17, 2011 meeting of
Charter Revision Commission, along with LWV of Weston Observer Corps.
THE WESTON FORUM REPORTS...
From left, Charter Commission members
Richard Bochinski, Susan Moch, Co-Chairman Dennis Tracey,
Co-Chairman Ken Edgar, Woody Bliss, Arne de Keijzer, and Nina
Daniel at their Aug. 17 meeting. —Margaret Wirtenberg photo
Charter Revision Commission: Working out how to work
Written by Kimberly Donnelly
Wednesday, 24 August 2011 11:22
At its meeting last week, on Wednesday, Aug. 17, the seven people
appointed to review and revise the town charter focused on how,
exactly, they are going to conduct business moving forward.
One of the first things the group did was to change its name from
the Charter Revision Committee to the Charter Revision Commission
in order to conform with state references to such bodies formed by
Even though the Board of Selectmen officially formed a “Charter
Revision Committee,” members did not see a need to get permission
to change the name. They agreed to change any references to a
“committee” in previous meeting minutes. Co-chairman of the
commission Ken Edgar then led the other members through
discussions on both general and specific ways in which the group
should proceed in its review of the charter.
Mr. Edgar said while the commission should look at the entire
charter, “my basic philosophy is ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix
it,’ meaning, if in fact something is working well, it’s not
necessarily a good idea to revisit it and try to make it better.”
The challenge for the commission, Mr. Edgar said, is first to
determine what parts of the charter are “broken,” and then come up
with ways to fix them. He said he will be looking for
[Please read the rest of this article in the archives at the Weston FORUM website]
charter revision: Selectmen choose committee
Written by Kimberly Donnelly
Wednesday, 08 June 2011 11:22
Seven people have been chosen to review Weston’s town charter and
to make recommendations regarding possible amendments to it.
On Thursday, June 2, the Board of Selectmen unanimously voted to
appoint the following people to the Charter Revision Committee:
Woody Bliss (Republican), Dick Bochinski (Democrat), Nina Daniel
(R), Ken Edgar (D), Dennis Tracey III (R), Arne de Keijzer (D),
and Susan Moch (D).
By law, the committee must have minor party representation. The
selectmen said they were hoping they would be able to appoint at
least one unaffiliated member to the committee, but none came
In addition, a maximum of two members may hold elected office.
While several candidates serve on appointed committees, only Mr.
Bochinski, a member of the school board, holds elected office.
The Charter Revision Committee members have terms that expire in
one year, on June 30, 2012. The selectmen have said if possible,
they would like recommendations before the next budget vote in
By law, the Board of Selectmen may not limit the scope of what can
be done or offer the committee any parameters when it comes to
examining the charter — the committee must decide which parts it
wants to examine.
[Please read the rest of this article in the archives at the Weston FORUM website]
Immediate past Charter Revision
Members agreed on a limited review: change the time of ATBM
and require more signatures to enact ordinances and "to give the
board of Selectmen the discretion to reject a petition that is
materially the same as a matter that previously has been voted
upon by referendum.or other acts"
A C T I
O N S :
at a Special Board of Selectmens' Meeting Tuesday, September 16,
2003 at 8am in Town Hall Meeting Room...revisions made by
Secretary of the State's Office for clarity.
C H A R T E
R R E V I S I O N Q U E
S T I O N S :
Charter of the Town of Weston, Section 2.2 Annual and Special
Meetings, be amended to change the Annual Town Budget Meeting
starting time to 8:00pm and the ending time to 11:30pm.
Charter of the Town of Weston, Secion 2.7 Petition for a Special
Town Meeting for Enactment of Ordinances or Other Action, be
amended to change the required personal signatures to not less
than 5% of qualified voters.
Charter of the Town of Weston, Section 2.7 Petition for a Special
Town Meeting for Enactment of Ordinances or Other Action, be
amended to give the board of Selectmen the discretion to reject a
petition that is materially the same as a matter that previously
has been voted upon by referendum.
What people were interested in last
Revision and the C.G.S.