Press Pool Story
New Britain voters rejected two out of three changes to the City Charter that were proposed by Republican Mayor Erin Stewart and the Republican-Dominated City Council.
The two charter proposals that were defeated would have extended the term of office of city’s mayor and tax collector from two to four years. City Democrats opposed these changes, saying that, “A four-year term with no provision for term limits or recall will upend the checks and balances that currently exist between Mayor and Council that are codified in the City Charter.”
Stewart and City Council Republicans have taken heavy criticism for the third question, the one approved by voters. Democrats point out that that innocuous sounding wording of Question 3 – “Shall the City Charter be amended to make changes to conform to state statutes and make technical, administrative and other changes and clarifications?” – masks very serious changes that were hidden from view of the voters on the ballot.
The City Council’s Democratic Leader, Ald. Carlo Carlozzi (D-5), explained Question 3 to voters on Facebook as:
New Britain Voters!!!!! PLEASE VOTE NO on Nov 8th to the Charter questions. More misinformation is being spread as late as tonight with regards to question 3. The compensation committee of the council does NOT review compensation for non-union officials such as Police Chief, Fire Chief and Finance. The compensation committee reviews pay raises for 1) Mayor; 2) Town Clerk; 3) Tax Collector; 4) Corporation Counsel; 5) Common Council members; 6) Registrar of Voters; 7) Clerk of Committees; 8) City Treasurer. In addition, there would be a change to the interest rate on late payments for water bills from 0.5% to 1.5%. There is also a change to extend pensions to those who are appointed to elected offices to fill a vacancy. The voters of New Britain deserve to have these questions on the ballot. 5 questions would NOT be “too confusing” Voters in Berlin have 5 questions. This is NOT a partisan issue, this is an issue of keeping elected officials accountable and voters demanding more transparency. VOTE NO to the charter questions.
Council Democrats hailed the defeat of questions 1 and 2.
Democrats are now raising concerns about possible legal problems with the City Charter changes approved in Question 3, which contained provisions that appear to depend on the proposed Charter changes that were defeated by the voters in questions 1 and 2.