Letters to the Editor: Charter could be ignored again
I read Genevieve Reilly’s interesting article, “State Supreme Court ready for special election arguments,” in the Feb. 9 issue of your paper.
An incumbent Fairfield selectman resigned. According to the Fairfield town charter (the governing document of the town), a successor must be appointed within 30 days of the resignation. This requirement was met when Edward Bateson was appointed by the remaining members of the Board of Selectmen, Mike Tetreau, and Chris Tymniak. The selectmen strictly and appropriately followed the town charter when Bateson was appointed.
This specific issue concerns the resignation of a local Fairfield municipal town official, a selectman. What does Connecticut General Statute 9-222, a state statute, passed by the state Legislature have to do with this? This falls under the jurisdiction of the town charter, and local town government. The selectmen and other municipal officials work for the town of Fairfield, not the state of Connecticut. The town charter is to be followed when the issue is strictly local, and occurs within the borders of Fairfield.
The language in the town charter addressed the resignation of a local municipal selectman, and the charter was followed when Mr. Bateson was appointed the next selectman. In this specific case, Connecticut General Statute 9-222 is an intrusion on the town charter, and local municipal government. If the town charter is ignored once, it will more than likely be ignored again, and again. Is the town prepared for that?
To the Editor:
Fearing that the importance of last year’s special election for selectman now flies under the radar, last week’s vote by the Board of Selectmen for seed money for Mill Hill School should serve as a reminder. The board, by a vote of 2-1, approved the $1.5 million for the school’s sorely needed renovations and expansion. It was no surprise to see that it was Mr. Tymniak who voted against the funding, arguing that in light of declining enrollment in our elementary schools, the jury was still out as to whether or not the school should be built out to a 504 capacity. Milone & MacBroom, the school board’s consultants on enrollment projections, have concluded differently. Their position was presented at the meeting, to which Mr. Tymniak responds with “The (enrollment) numbers I have in front of me don’t indicate a 504 is necessary.”
And he did this irrespective of Jessica Gerber’s public comment properly reminding the selectmen that this $1.5 million was needed to address the five aging portables at Mill Hill. She went on to further point out how the BOE fully discussed the plan for Mill Hill and all agreed that the $1.5 million was needed now, regardless of what’s decided about the size of Mill Hill. Tom Cullen, the executive director of operations of the Fairfield school district, earlier pointed out the scope and time needed for building specifications. Before the board voted, it was a breath of fresh air to hear Mr. Kiley, who defeated Mr. Bateson last year in the special election, succinctly summarize his support for the $1.5 million.
He pointed out how this will give us the flexibility needed to look at the issue holistically of where seats are needed in our elementary schools, the need to resolve the overcrowded situation we currently have and lastly, the recognition that Mill Hill needs much work. While Mr. Bateson a few years back when serving on the RTM expressed support for making Holland Hill and Mill Hill 504 schools, one can wonder based on his recent vote on the RTM against the teachers contract where he stands in supporting education.