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Stonington considering charter revision

Stonington — The new Board of Selectmen is considering whether to form a Charter Revision Commission to look at changes such as extending the term of selectmen from two to four years and adopting term limits.

First Selectwoman Danielle Chesebrough raised the issue of charter revision Wednesday with selectwomen June Strunk and Deborah Downey at their first meeting since being elected last month.

They agreed to briefly hold off on voting to create the commission until they can review minutes of the past Charter Revision Commission meetings to see what other changes have been considered.

The other potential change Chesebrough raised was making the tax collector and town clerk positions hired instead of elected.

She pointed out that the while the Board of Selectmen can ask the commission to study and consider recommending certain changes, the commission also could recommend its own changes, such as creating a town manager form of government or increasing the size of the Board of Selectmen. Residents would have to approve any changes at a referendum.

Chesebrough said that if the town wants to put changes on the ballot for the November 2020 election, it needs to start work now.

In 2015, the town’s last charter revision, residents approved a package of changes to ensure Board of Finance elections are contested, expanded its membership from six to seven members to eliminate the possible need for a tie-breaking vote by the town clerk and reduced board terms from six to four years. Also approved were term limits for school board and finance board members and increasing the term of the town clerk and tax collector from two to four years, making the Department of Assessment separate from the Department of Finance and changing the wording of the charter so it is gender-neutral.


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