LISTEN: Former Democratic Mayor David Martin and former Republican Lieutenant Governor Michael Fedele share why they are unified in voting No on the Stamford Charter Ballot Question.
Breaking News: League of Women Voters urges Stamford voters to Vote No on the Charter Revision Ballot Question.
Mayor Simmons Discusses Why She is Urging Residents to Vote No on the Proposed Charter Revision Changes
Click here to watch the full segment.
It is the second video on the page and the segment starts at the 1:20 mark.
Stamford For Fair Government is a bipartisan group of concerned citizens whose goal is to educate the people of Stamford about the full extent of the proposed charter revisions and their impact on the city, if approved by voters on Tuesday, November 7.
Why is this so important?
Because this ballot question itself has been crafted to mislead voters and cover up the full extent of the charter changes, which include a radical power shift in how our city government functions.
Below are a few examples of the consequences for the city if the charter revisions are passed.
Why Vote No?
If passed, the new city charter will result in higher taxes, higher housing costs, and increased bureaucracy.
Misleading Ballot Question
This single paragraph question does not convey the impact to the city of the charter revisions proposed within this 195-page legal document that includes hundreds of changes and 587 footnotes. (See for yourself.)
The ballot question is highly misleading given that sections in the ballot question do not line up with the revision being referenced. It is impossible for voters to understand the consequences of each proposed revision.
The proposed charter changes would burden the mayor with reporting to the Board of Representatives (BOR) every piece of business occurring at city hall, slowing down decision-making, and adding layers of bureaucracy. These proposed new requirements would also add unnecessary and redundant reporting to the budget process.
The proposed charter changes would add five boards and commissions to city's government, adding more bureaucracy and requiring more administrative support. Under the current Charter, the Board of Representatives already has the authority to create new commissions by passing an ordinance.
Higher Housing Costs
The new bureaucracy will stop efforts to make housing more affordable and drive-up housing costs for Stamford residents.
Increased Legal Expenses
The charter would allow the Board of Representatives (BOR) to hire outside lawyers for almost any reason with an unlimited budget. Unlike all other city legal costs, which must be approved by the Mayor and the Board of Finance, the BOR could approve its own bills. These legal expenses could run into the millions.
An Upended Balance of Power
The revisions would overturn our existing system of checks and balances in which the Mayor nominates people for seats on city boards and commissions, and the Board of Representatives (BOR) confirms nominations.
The charter revision would take the power to nominate away from the Mayor and give it to the BOR. The BOR would then have the power to both nominate and confirm.
Limited Candidate Pool for Key City Positions
The charter would require the city’s director of public safety, director of operations, corporation counsel, human resources director, police chief, assistant police chiefs, fire chief, and assistant fire chiefs to live in Stamford.
In today’s competitive job market, city jobs are already hard to fill. The proposed change would limit the talent pool for critical city jobs —problematic in a city with high housing costs. This restriction would limit the city’s ability to hire the best candidates and drive up the salaries the city needs to pay.
Q: What is the City Charter?
A: The Stamford City Charter is essentially the city's constitution. Among the many items it covers, the charter outlines how the city is governed, how officials are appointed, and the roles and responsibilities of members of the city's government, from the mayor to the members of commissions and more. It runs more than 150 pages
Q: Why does the Charter get revised?
A: State law requires that it be reviewed every ten years for potential revisions. It doesn’t have to be revised.
Q: What is the process for revising the charter?
A: Charter review is conducted by a Charter Revision Commission appointed by the Board of Representatives. The Charter Revision Commission makes recommendations for changes to the City’s Charter that affect Stamford’s government. After approval by the Board of Representatives, the proposed charter changes are voted on.