Based on comments received in its recent public hearing, the Charter Revision Commission (CRC) voted to revise its first draft of proposed charter amendments to include a new recommendation that all town committees make their best effort to electronically record their meetings either by audio or video.
The Commission had initially declined the suggestion to record all meetings for pragmatic reasons. With over 30 town committees to accommodate, scheduling access to the town’s high-quality video recording and streaming equipment could hamper committees’ ability to meet, and adding more equipment and space would be expensive for taxpayers.
At the hearing, several residents noted that recordings give the public access to meeting discourse, which is not always captured in minutes, and may be important to those who cannot attend meetings in person. Commissioners were then able to affirm that audio recordings, which are much simpler to provide, would suffice in meeting that need.
After refining its first draft, the CRC voted to forward it to the Town Clerk who will then submit to the Board of Selectmen (BOS). As part of its evaluation of the proposed Charter revisions, the BOS will hold its own public hearing before giving its comments to the CRC. The CRC will consider the BOS comments and suggestions, and then create a final report. If the BOS votes to accept the CRC recommendations, the proposed changes will go to voters in November. Then it will be up to residents to decide whether to accept or reject proposed changes to how the town is governed.
The quadrennial Charter revision process offers residents the important opportunity to share their ideas for refinements in how our town government works. Commission members are deeply grateful to all residents who shared their ideas at public hearings, meetings, or through correspondence; to board and committee members as well as town officials who reviewed the pertinent sections of the Charter and offered their thoughts for updates on processes and clarifications of wording; and to committee chairs and town officials who attended meetings to answer Commission questions and provide relevant background.
The first draft report is available on CRC page of the town website (ridgefieldct.org). The Commission will next meet in late July. To receive notification of future meetings, sign up for ‘general government notifications’ on Ridgefield Alerts.