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Weston Residents Speak Out on Charter Revisions

WESTON, Conn. – A proposal by the Charter Revision Commission to make the town clerk and tax collector appointed instead of elected drew criticism at a public hearing Wednesday night.

The commission wants the Board of Selectmen to appoint the positions.

Making the positions appointed “takes the voter out of the process and will allow selectmen to choose members of their own party,” Dan Gilbert said.

Other speakers also favored keeping the positions elected, but First Selectman Gayle Weinstein said there other appointed positions in town that are held by members of parties that differ from the selectmen's parties.

About 50 residents turned out for the hearing, and many commended the seven-member commission on its efforts.

Don Gary, who said he served 21 years on the Board of Police Commissioners, urged the commission to recommend eight-year term limits on town positions. “I think placing term limits would open the commissions to a wider variety of people and encourage young people to enter government.”

A proposal requiring that at least 2 percent of qualified voters be present at the Annual Town Budget Meeting to reduce any item on the budget also sparked comment.

Public comments included eliminating the budget meeting because such a small number of voters attend, making it the exclusive means of approving budget changes and eliminating the machine ballot, which is held about two weeks after the meeting.

Kenneth Edgar, co-chairman of the Charter Revision Committee, introduced the meeting by informing citizens it was the last public meeting before the committee submits the revisions to the selectmen for consideration. The selectmen can accept the revisions without comment or hold their own public hearing before the charter is put before the voters Nov. 6.

When asked whether the committee would make any changes to the charter based on the public comments heard Wednesday, committee member Arne J. de Keijzer said, “We’re going to consider these and other comments we’ve received before submitting the charter to the selectmen, and we appreciate the public input.”

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