‘What a Monumental Waste’: Selectman Bemoans Town Spending in FOI Matter

One of New Canaan’s highest elected officials this week bemoaned what the town is spending in legal fees related to a Freedom of Information request. The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday approved payment of an $11,527.91 bill from a Hartford-based law firm that’s advising a panel of residents who met throughout the past year to make recommendations to the town’s major governing document. “What a monumental waste,” Selectman Nick Williams said of the payment during the group’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. New Canaan constituents on Election Day voted in favor of four of the five recommendations from the Charter Revision Commission, including what became a rather divisive question regarding the first selectman’s role on the Board of Finance. The volunteer group interviewed New Canaan leaders—both employees of the town and those who serve on municipal boards and commissions—in working toward its conclusions.

Letter: Charter Revision Chairman Thanks Voters for Time, Participation

Editor, New Canaanite:

On behalf of the Charter Revision Commission, I would like to thank the voters for their careful review and decisions on the improvements to our town Charter. Over 8,400 citizens voted on the questions, only a few hundred less than voted for the president. It is gratifying that that so many citizens felt well informed enough to vote. A special “thank you” to the League of Women Voters for sending a town-wide flyer explaining the five questions. Thanks to our Town Council, which, though divided in their views on the various issues, had the wisdom and courage to submit these questions to the voters.

Election 2016: How New Canaan Voted on Charter Questions, Contested Races

Local electors on Tuesday voted in favor of four recommended changes to New Canaan’s major governing document, including one widely discussed and hotly disputed change involving the role of the town’s highest elected official. By a 5,120-to-3,326 margin, locals voted in favor of updating the Town Charter so that New Canaan’s first selectman no longer serves as the chairman of the Board of Finance. Instead, voters decided on an Election Day that saw unusually high turnout, the first selectman will remain an ex officio member of the finance board who casts tie-breaking votes but the group’s chairman will be elected from its ranks. Here’s a chart that details the Charter revision results:


David Hunt, chairman of the Charter Revision Commission, which studied the Charter and interviewed municipal leaders in town to form its recommendations, said the group “would have liked five ‘yeses’ on one level, but we are very pleased with the result.”

“The Charter Revision Commission worked very hard to put together recommendations that we thought would improve the governance of the town of New Canaan,” Hunt said. “And the people of New Canaan largely agreed with the recommendations.

New Canaan Election Hub 2016 [UPDATE]

Bookmark this article for Tuesday, when NewCanaanite.com will post regular updates on voter turnout and results as numbers come in on Election Day. [ELECTION RESULTS CAN BE FOUND HERE.]


Update 7:34 p.m. Tuesday

Moments ago, New Canaan surpassed its 2012 total for votes cast by local electors. Stay tuned for a standalone article with final results from New Canaan, and beyond. Update 3:37 p.m. Tuesday

As of 3 p.m., a total of 8,491 New Canaan electors had cast ballots—about 78 percent of the total number of voters who exercised their rights during the 2012 national election. Update 1:05 p.m. Tuesday

As of 1 p.m., more than half of New Canaan’s registered voters had cast ballots (see table below).

League of Women Voters, Charter Revision Commission Hold Info Session at Town Hall

The most widely discussed suggested change to New Canaan’s major governing document that voters will face on Election Day came as a result of careful study of several neighbors and deliberate consideration of the town’s municipal structure, officials said Tuesday night. In recommending that New Canaan remove the first selectman from the role of chairing the Board of Finance, the volunteer panel charged with studying the Town Charter looked around and found that the funding body was elected, rather than appointed, in nearby towns, members of the Charter Revision Commission said during a League of Women Voters of New Canaan information session. “And so what we tried to do was find the best check and balance for the system that we have,” commissioner Kate Hurlock said during the session, held at Town Hall. “Because for all of the interviews that we did, it was overwhelmingly clear that the people that we spoke to wanted to keep the Board of Finance appointed and for reasons of the complexity of our budget and the size of our town and the talent in our town, it made sense to preserve that. So preserving that, how could we ensure a check and balance in that environment?