The West Haven Charter Revision Commission has scheduled its second public hearing for Monday July, 1 at 7 p.m. at Harriet North Room in City Hall. The panel, which had its recommendation vetted by city attorneys, now goes through the hearings process.
Chairman Edward Granfield said this week those attending the program can expect a certain format. The first 75 minutes will consist of a power point presentation that will highlight all of the proposed changes recommended by the commission. At the conclusion of the presentation a public input session will be held.
The deadline for submission of the draft report to the City Council is Saturday July 6. It then goes into review by the council before the recommendations are brought to the public for a vote in November’s election.
Granfield acknowledges that the hearing date is less than ideal due to the tightness of the schedule.
“We expected the legal review to take 30 to 40 days, it took over 100,” he said. “By the time we received the legal report back the deadline was coming and our options were limited.”
Despite the delay, he said the commission was pleased with the overall efforts of the legal team.
“Better to get it right the first time,” said Granfield.
The commission has undertaken a meticulous review of all facets of the charter, including departments, leadership and elected and unelected officers. He said the review was delayed because the recommendations depend on one another.
“This is a complex proposal, so much of it is integrated together with the other sections of the charter, it will be difficult to cherry pick ideas,” he said.
He said the primary message the commissioners have heard around town above and beyond all other topics is the desire for real change. They took the message into their first meetings in 2017 and have continued in the vein since. The results have been unique.
“In our opinion this comprehensive proposal goes well beyond any effort brought forth in the past,” he said.
In addition Granfield is inviting local social media outlets to participate by broadcasting the hearing live so the people at home can watch at their leisure. He hopes by further exposure, the ideas recommended by the panel will get more discussion.
He said people have to understand this is part of a process that is not legislative, but one of consultation and recommendation.
“An important reminder, the Charter Revision Commission is not a legislative body we are the research and development team. After the public hearing, the commission will discuss the proposal one more time, then submit the draft report and supportive documentation to the city council who will conduct its own review,” Granfield said.
Granfield said the public hearing will be the last offered by the Charter Revision Commission prior to its send the report to the City Council, but it will not be the last time the public will have a chance to comment on the recommendations.
“Citizens who wish to participate but cannot attend Monday night’s public hearing will get a second chance through the City Council when they schedule its own public hearing on the matter later this summer,” he said.
These are some of the highlights of the 140 plus suggestions that have been legally vetted for the public hearing Monday.
~~ Professional city management;
~~ Professional credential requirements for all department heads put in through attrition;
~~ Four-year teams for all elected officials;
~~ Re-structuring the City Council, Board of Education, and the voting districts to better serve and represent the three (3) distinct areas of the city equally: The East Side, the West Side, and the North End;
~~ Change the City Clerk, Tax Collector, and City Treasurer to appointed positions with professional credential requirements;
~~ Legally empower a permanent Independent Commission of City Ethics and Charter Compliance;
~~ Add E.R.S. to the City Charter.
“The underlying goal of these suggested changes is to “Raise the Bar” in West Haven,”Granfield said. “This city has been stuck in the political and economic mud for decades while we all wait and hope for a savior to arrive and fix all that is broken. The Commission feels that it is not the people who are broken it is the system itself in which we all live.”