Chairs Selected For Legislative Council’s Charter Revision Committees
The Legislative Council’s Charter Revision Interview Committee and Charter Revision Charge Committee conducted back-to-back teleconferences on the evening of December 1. Members elected chairpersons for each committee and discussed the responsibilities of both groups.
The Charter Revision Interview Committee consists of Legislative Council members Dan Wiedemann, Chris Smith, Alison Plante, Cathy Reiss, Dan Honan, and Paul Lundquist.
Wiedemann was nominated, unopposed, as chair of the committee and was formally elected at the start of the meeting.
With the election completed, Lundquist said the meetings would now be led by Wiedemann but added that he wanted to provide the group an overview of their duties as they begin the process.
“Our role is to solicit interested residents in Newtown to be a part of this Charter Revision Commission that we’ll be seating and appointing. We will interview everyone, and I will provide any of the relative state statutes that need to be followed when we are interviewing and selecting candidates, [such as] party representation, also some general guidance what the interview can and can’t include,” Lundquist said.
The first step they should take, he said, is advertising the interview process mid-December through January. He also suggested reaching out to individuals who have previously served on Charter Revision Commissions to possibly recruit people.
Currently, the committee anticipates seven people will be chosen for the Charter Revision Commission, but that may change to nine as time goes on.
As for the timeline of the entire process, Lundquist said, “The charter says that within five years after submission of the final report of the most recent Charter Revision Commission, the [Legislative] Council has to appoint a Charter Revision Commission.”
The committee will likely interview potential candidates in January, select members in February, and have the commission begin their work in March with the finalized charge.
“That’s hypothetical,” Lundquist said. “It seems like it’s doable.”
Once the commission is appointed, the group can take as much time as they need.
“If they can work toward an end-of-August completion date, that would give us time to approve it back to Council level and have it on the November  ballot for final approval,” Lundquist mentioned.
A resident has already reached out with interest in being on the Charter Revision Commission, according to Lundquist.
With that in mind, at the next meeting they will seek to formalize how people can submit their interest in being interviewed. They will also work on the creation of the advertisement at the next meeting.
The Charter Revision Charge Committee consists of Legislative Council members Judit DeStefano, Ryan Knapp, Chris Eide, Andy Clure, Jordana Bloom, and Phil Carroll.
DeStefano was nominated, unopposed, as chair of the committee and was formally elected at the start of the meeting.
Lundquist remained on the line from the previous meeting to give the group an overview of what their responsibilities will be.
“The general process is that we are going to solicit input from other boards and commissions in town as they interact with the charter and how they reference the charter and what their processes are. We are going to ask from them input on whether or not there are any suggested revisions to the charter from their perspective,” Lundquist said.
He will send a letter to the boards and commission for their input with the hopes they will get back to the committee by the end of January.
In the meantime, DeStefano will be in charge of collecting charter revision recommendations from Legislative Council members and Lundquist will report any feedback from the groups he reaches out to.
By the end of both meetings, it was not yet determined when the Charter Revision Interview Committee and Charter Revision Charge Committee will meet next. For more information about the Legislative Council, visit newtown-ct.gov/legislative-council.