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Many Westonites Confused About Town Charter

WESTON, Conn. – A tiny 34-page book sits in almost every municipal office in town, a commission meets twice a month to discuss it and its contents are so powerful, it dictates how the entire town of Weston is run. Do you know what this book is? Don’t be alarmed if you don’t, nearly half of the Weston residents we spoke with Tuesday didn't know about the Weston Town Charter, either.

“I never heard of it,” Larry S. said while heading into the Weston Public Library. Many of those interviewed did not want to reveal their full names. “I don’t really know what it is, should I?”

According to many town officials, yes, everyone should know about the charter. “The Town Charter is the most important document we have in Weston,” said First Selectman Gayle Weinstein. The charter is a series of citizen-approved regulations on appointed officials' general powers, term limits, election processes and the duties of various boards and commission.

Walter E., also at the Weston Library, said although he has never read the town charter he would like to see it revamped. “The thing is too old, we are living in different times now, they should change it, update it,” he said. The charter was first published in 1967 and was revised in 1976, 1979 and 2003.

Since spring, the Charter Revision Commission has been revisiting the contents of the charter and coming to a consensus on sections that should be changed, updated or made more readable. Two public hearings have been held on the commission's work, allowing residents to voice their opinions.

Dennis Tracey, co-chair of the commission, said he would like to see much more public involvement when it comes to his committee’s work. “Our goal from the very beginning was to make this an open process as possible, and we really would love to hear from everyone.”

“It is critical that we get the town's input,” Tracey said. “The involvement of the public is very important as we go through the charter. Our goal is to complete our report by the spring of 2012 and ultimately have it voted on by the residents of Weston in November 2012.”

Co-chair Ken Edgar agreed that it's important for the community to get involved in the commission’s work. “Ultimately, the public will vote on it, and hopefully we will have an informed public.”

The next scheduled meeting of the Charter Revision Commission is Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Meeting Room at Town Hall.

The current Town Charter can be found here .

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