Letter: The Board of Selectmen’s charter revision hypocrisy

To the Editor:

The Press articles on recent Board of Selectmen (BOS) deliberations include three charter revision proposals. These are splitting Planning & Zoning (P&Z) and Inland Wetlands Board (IWB) responsibilities, making the town treasurer and tax collector appointed not elected positions and last put limits on the taxpayer’s ability to reducing budgets and capital items at the Annual Town Meeting. It is interesting watching the Board of Selectmen contort themselves and create logic to vote for or against something.

In the P&Z/IWB split proposal, our first selectman and another BOS member advocate “let the people decide.” While no one questioned the track record, accountability or results of the existing elected commission or board, the logic is since the citizens never had a chance to vote on this, they should get that chance.

In making the town treasurer and tax collector “appointed” instead of elected, the voters of Ridgefield did decide. In a 2014 charter revision vote, 5,500 citizens (60%) voted against making these positions appointed. In 2014, the message was we want our officials “directly” accountable. The BOS does not like the 2014 answer.   

The last charter revision proposal limits the ability of the citizens at the Annual Town Meeting to reduce the town budget and capital items. In 2010, a similar charter revision was defeated by an approximate 60% majority. In the 2010 referendum, the BOS wanted to totally eliminate it. Now the BOS is using a minimum attendance requirement to eliminate it. Why does the BOS want to limit the voter’s ability to vote?

The town charter is the bedrock of our government.

We should not be asking for re-votes. If something is broken, needs fixing or modernizing, then work on a charter change. Ridgefield elected officials should be held accountable for their decisions and results.

Joe Savino

St. Johns Road, Aug. 13