Our big election is next week, November 5th. This election is a big deal.
First, we will be electing our new mayor after a record breaking period under Mayor DeStefano. Second, we will have an opportunity to vote on 2 questions relating to New Haven's Charter. Here is a good summary of those 2 questions and what they mean:
Question 1. “Shall the charter be revised to establish a seven member board of
Education comprised of the Mayor, four members appointed by the Mayor
and two members elected by two districts, supplemented by two non voting
The first question is simple. Should the we continue to have a School
Board comprised of members appointed solely by and including the Mayor
or should we change to a School Board with five members appointed by and
including the mayor, two elected and two non-voting
Question 2. “Shall the City approve and adopt all other charter changes as
recommended by the Charter Revision Commission and approved by the Board
The second question includes a multitude of changes. You cannot vote for some of the changes. It is for all or against all. The question includes the following changes:
1. The Mayor would be required to get approval from the Board of
Alderman for the following top mayoral appointed staffers: Police Chief,
Fire Chief, Chief Administrative Officer, Head of Economic Development,
Head of Community Services and the Budget Director.
Currently the Mayor does not need approval for his appointee to these positions.
2. The Board of Zoning Appeals would have two members appointed by the
Board of Alderpeople and three members appointed by the Mayor.
Currently the Mayor appoints all members of the Board of Zoning Appeals.
3. The Civilian Review Board would become a permanent Board with broader ability to review complaints and take action.
4. The Charter would be arranged by functions instead of departments.
5. The name of the Board of Aldermen would be changed to the Board of Alders.
6. The new charter would establish a residency preference giving New
Haven residence an extra 10 points on entry level civil service examinations.
To read about
the changes in depth go to the New Haven Independent's article on
October 11, "Balance of Power At Stake in Referendum". This article
gives you more detailed information and links to the
present charter and the proposed new charter in their entirety.
The changes proposed in the referendum questions are significant. I hope everyone will take time to consider their impact and vote.