Letter: Background on Charter Revision Question #3

As part of the team which researched this issue for the Charter Revision Commission (CRC), I thought some background might be helpful. The chairmanship of the Board of Finance (BOF) has been discussed for decades and was highlighted by many during the CRC’s 90-plus interviews. Those supporting election, expressed this achieved a more equitable balance of power and responsiveness to the community. In canvassing similar Connecticut towns, including Avon, Darien, Fairfield, Madison, Ridgefield, Simsbury, Westport and Wilton, all maintain an elected BOF, with the Chair elected from the respective membership. In fact, a majority of towns in Connecticut have an elected BOF.

Letter: Best Practice for New Canaan

There are five Charter Revision questions on the ballot this Nov. 8. The one that has received the most attention is whether the first selectman of New Canaan should be the chairman of the Board of Finance or not. Currently, thefirst selectman, with the Board of Selectmen, appoints the Board of Finance members, chairs the meetings and casts a tie-breaking vote. Speaking from over 20 years’ experience in operations and compliance in the financial services industry, this is not optimal from an operational standpoint.

Letter: Vote ‘No’ on Question Three

To Editor, New Canaanite:

As a member of the Charter Revision Commission, I voted against recommending removal of the first selectman from continuation as the chairman of the Board of Finance and the elimination of the requirement that Board of Finance members be New Canaan “taxpayers”. I recommend a ‘No’ vote on question #3:

Shall the current Charter be changed so that the First Selectman, although remaining an ex-officio member of the Board of Finance, will no longer serve as Chairman of the Board of Finance, and the Board of Finance will choose its Chairman from its regular members? If the proposed change is approved, the appointed Board of Finance will be totally unaccountable to the voters of New Canaan. The present requirement that the first selectman serve as chairman of the Board of Finance without vote except in the case of a tie, originated in the 1935 Charter of the town of New Canaan. The argument that after 80 years of fiscally responsible government there is now a need for an additional check to balance the power of the Board of Selectmen evidences a misunderstanding of the responsibilities of the town’s governing bodies.

Letter: Accountability through Checks and Balances

The Second Continental Congress purposely rejected a model of single, unchallenged leadership and formed a government based on checks and balances. The constitution they created was hotly debated—as it should have been. As charged by the Town Council, the Charter Revision Commission took a look at our own Town Charter, and after extensive research and discussion, recommended 5 Charter–related questions to be put to town vote. Unfortunately, recent press coverage on a FOI challenge has been a distraction to healthy debate. The most controversial Charter question seems to be whether the first selectman should also chair the Board of Finance.

Letter: Vote ‘Yes’ for Better and Effective Governance


As a member of the Charter Revision Commission, Town Council and, formerly, Board of Finance, I greatly appreciate the input and opinions of over 100 current and past elected and appointed officials, employees and the general public. Your voice matters—and on Nov. 8, your vote matters too. There are five ballot questions for your consideration. Question #3 asks if the Chair of the Board of Finance should be independent and elected from among the Board’s regular members—and not be the First Selectman, who would nonetheless remain as an ex-officio member.