The Board of Selectmen spent a few minutes April 1 reviewing where the town stands on plans for establishing permanent 12/14 memorials. First Selectman Pat Llodra reviewed several points with Selectman James Gaston; Selectman Will Rodgers was absent.
During the brief discussion, Mrs Llodra said the first thing the board needs to do is settle on a charge for the planned commission that will consider many ideas presented since the tragic school shooting. She said once the commission is formed, they will be asked to consider all offers and ideas received, which have already been archived by Newtown’s Cultural Arts Commission.
The commission will be expected to engage families of victims, survivors, school staff, and parents, as well as community members. That public input will be received during planned hearings by the panel.
Consideration will be given to what Mrs Llodra called “living memorials,” like parks and trails, and will direct the panel to work with town land use officials to determine appropriate public locations for these projects.
Mrs Llodra said the commission will consist of seven residents who will help lead the community through the logistics and decisionmaking process toward establishing any permanent memorials. Once all the direct input has been received, the panel will report back to the Board of Selectmen.
Turning their attention to appointing commission members, Mrs Llodra said her board will recommend individuals from the most affected groups: family members of victims, survivors, school members, and others from the community. But the recommendation of those individuals will be determined by a selection committee, according to the first selectman.
“This process ensures the persons recommended for the commission go through a committee process where there is some screening and opportunity for persons [representing] the most affected constituents weigh in on whether those persons represent the best interests of that subgroup,” Mrs Llodra said.
Mr Gaston suggested the town consider also adding a first responder to the panel, which Mrs Llodra said was a good suggestion.
He also asked whether the commission would be the group to make requests for funding. Mrs Llodra said the commission will work with a loaned General Electric executive to bring any funding requests to the board of selectmen. The consultant will also work on facilitating the process as well as a communication plan.