EL Reviews Town Charter

EL’s Town Charter, the document that outlines the government structure, ordinances, and procedures of EL, is under review for the next nine months with changes expected by August 2023


First Selectman Kevin Seery


EL’s Town Charter Revision Committee, created by First Selectman Kevin Seery and the Board of Selectmen, consists of 11 appointed EL residents with prior experience in town politics. The committee is responsible for revising EL’s core document, which in a very rudimentary way is EL’s “constitution.”

While state statutes have supremacy over local ordinances, the Town Charter applies in areas such as elections, town boards, and town meetings.

The Town Charter Revision Committee will finish the new draft before Aug. 1, 2023. The draft, containing changes to the budget approval process and town offices, will be reviewed by the Board of Selectmen, sent back to the committee for revisions, and finally voted on in a public referendum.

“We get a grant every year from the state for nuclear safety and so forth. It’s not tax dollars, but in order for the money to be appropriated, the Board of Selectman needs to appropriate it, the Board of Finance needs to approve the change, then a town meeting must approve it. This simply takes too long, and it’s something the Town Charter Revision Committee is considering,” Mr. Seery said.

The Board of Selectman prompted the revision in part due to inefficiencies in the process of approving the annual town budget.

“Last May, we had four and a half percent of the electorate come out to vote on the budget referendum. That’s not good. We’re looking to possibly go back to the procedure where the budget is approved or disapproved at the annual town meeting. But there would still be a mechanism for the electorate to vote on the budget if they wanted, given a petition,” Mr. Seery said.

Mr. Seery emphasized that the proposed changes are simply considerations, and might not pass into law.

Another one of the proposed changes would make the Town Clerk and Tax Collector administrative positions , chosen by committees rather than elected offices, in an effort to ensure high quality workers.

“In the future, you want to make sure the role of Town Clerk and Tax Collector is not a popularity contest, rather a merit-based position,” Mr. Seery said. Neighboring towns have not made this change.

Mr. Seery acknowledged that the revision of the Town Charter will have no effect on the school system.

“The Board of Education is pretty separate from the rest of the town government, honestly. I’d say almost all of the Board of Education regulations are by state statute, which overrule local law. The Board of Finance has the ultimate say in how much money they give to the Board of Education, and can cut certain line items, but the Board of Education makes most of the funding adjustments. I’m certain this process won’t change,” Mr. Seery said.