A committee of the city council met Tuesday to present its thoughts on changes to the city charter.
In the end, only three of the council's nine members submitted any recommendations - Matt Ritter, Jim Boucher, and Larry Deutsch. They're attached below.
Briefly, but notably, Deutsch wants to change the way that the city handles special elections. Boucher wants the council to be able to update the mayor's revenue estimates during its budget deliberations. And Ritter suggests that the council have the authority to appoint the city's corporation counsel, and not the mayor.
"The Corporation Counsel is the City of Hartford's attorney general and must remain free from political pressures," he writes. "Since the Mayor has the ability to fire the Corporation Counsel, it is possible that legal opinions and rulings of the office could be skewed to favor the position that the Mayor wishes."
Next, the city's charter revision commission will take up the council's recommendations and, as Ritter said, "the debate can rage for hours."
Thank you for your participation on the Charter Revision Commission. Your time and dedication to this effort are greatly appreciated.
This letter contains proposed amendments to the current charter which I would like to see addressed by the Charter Revision Commission (the “Commission”) for inclusion in the final report. I would be glad to discuss any of these proposed amendments and other issue with any member of the Commission. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (860) 757-9566.
1. Modification to Tax Revenue Projections
Given the experience by the Council that proposed Mayor Budget revenue projections often are found to be siginificantly changed as a result of state, federal and/or other budget decisions occurring after the Mayor’s submitted proposed budget, it would enable a more realistic budget adoption if the Council was provided the availability of updating the revenue line items as indicated through the possible additional amendment:
Therefore, I am recommending that Chapter 10 entitled Budget be amended as follows:
Chapter X, Section 5 Budget Deliberations of Council
(a)….The Council shall have the availability to consider changing the amount of revenues received by source, pending certification by the Finance Director or Treasurer, with the exception of any modification to the tax collection rate (as governed by other sections of the Charter). not increase the Mayor’s estimates of receipts. It may, however, decrease the amount of the tax levy for the ensuing fiscal year as proposed by the Mayor in proportion to such decrease in the total of expenditures proposed by the Mayor as it may have determined. If it shall increase the total proposed expenditures such increase shall be reflected in full in the tax rate.
2. Internal Audit Annual Third Quarter Pre-Budget Recommendations
The Internal Audit Commission performs ongoing regular internal audits of various departments based on an agreed upon work plan, which provides clear objectives, strategies and timelines for department updates. At the same time it would be very important to the Court of Common Council to get a comprehensive set of recommendations from the Commission relative to special audit findings and reviews that might be important to budgetary considerations of revenue and expenditures for the preparation of the City budget. A set of recommendations made by the Internal Audit Commission to be submitted to the Court of Common Council would then be important for submission by the third quarter of each year.
Taking this into account I would suggest the following language be added Chapter VII, Section 2 (a) of the Charter entitled “Internal Audit Commission” as subsection (4).
Chapter VII, Section II, (a)
(4) that the Internal Audit Commission shall make a set of recommendations to the Mayor and Court of Common Council by the third quarter of the year, regarding comprehensive recommendations from the Commission relative to special audit findings and review that might be pertinent to budgetary considerations of revenue and expenditures for the proposed City budget.
3. Board and Commission Expired Terms
The additional section on filling vacancies on board and commissions is very helpful. However, it is unclear to me how it addresses expired terms. The Commission is proposing elimination of the transition provision which allows a member to serve until a successor is duly appointed. Does this mean that a commissioner’s term is over and a vacancy exists as soon as the term expires? If so, I would recommend that wording be included to reflect this. It is however a little troubling to remove members that are still interested in serving, particularly when we already have commissions with vacancies. Additionally there are also benefits to continuity. I would appreciate your feedback on the Commission’s intentions. However, it seems prudent to recommend the following language to the Chapter V Sec. 2 (e) entitled “The Mayor.”
The Mayor’s power of appointment pertaining to all members of the boards and commissions, including vacancies and expired terms is absolute, except as otherwise designated by the General Statutes and in this Charter. However, if the Mayor fails to announce the appointment of a replacement member in the event of a vacancy or expired term on the board or commission: (i) during the first (six) months of the term of office: within ninety (90) days following the effective date of that vacancy or expired term or (ii) during the remainder of the term of office: within sixty (60) days following the effective date of that vacancy or expired term, then the Common Council shall fill the vacancy within sixty (60) days thereafter by a majority vote of those present.
4. Planning and Zoning Commission
I feel that the City Engineer (or its designee) should be an ex-officio member of the Planning and Zoning Commission. The member would be non-voting, but it connects Planning and the Department of Public Works on projects that may affect both departments. Currently the Planning and Zoning Commission might be reviewing a project that has infrastructure implications for which the city does not have money to make the necessary improvements. If the Department of Public Works were involved, they could try to secure money from the applicant for the improvements. This would also provide a seamless review of potential infrastructure impacts on proposed developments prior to city approval. This is actually common practice in other municipalities
I am recommending the following language be added to Chapter VII, Section 2. (d) of the Charter entitled “Boards and Commissions.”
Sec. 2. Appointive Board and Commissions Required by Charter.
(d) Planning and Zoning Commission. Said Planning and Zoning
Commission shall be comprised of individuals with skills and knowledge
In related fields such as planning (including current involvement in the
field), architecture, landscape architecture, real estate or law. Additionally, the City Engineer or its designee shall be an ex-officio member of this commission.
CITY CHARTER REVISION ADDENDA 06/28/09: L. DEUTSCH ADDS IN CAPS; [bracket deletions]
Sec. 3. Special elections.
Special elections when required OR PERMITTED under the provisions of this Charter or by the General
Statutes shall be called and warned as required by the Council.General Statutes OR BY PETITION OF TEN PERCENT (10%) OF THE ELIGIBLE ELECTORATE OF THE CITY. Such a special
election may be held coincidentally with the general state election OR FOLLOWING BY NO MORE THAN THREE (3) MONTHS SUBMISSION OF SUCH PETITIONS, AND IF SUCH TIME OF SPECIAL ELECTION WOULD PRECEDE ANY NEXT SCHEDULED ELECTION OR PRIMARY BY FOUR (4) MONTHS OR MORE.
Sec. 4. Terms of Office of Elective Offices.
(a) Term of Office. Commencing on January 1, 2004 and BIENIALLY thereafter, All
elected officials shall hold their respective offices for a term of TWO (2) years,
(2) Transition Provision Pertaining to Members of the Council Elected At-Large
on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November 2013. Commencing on January 1, 2014
and BIENIALLY thereafter, the members of the Council elected at-large on the Tuesday
after the first Monday in November shall hold office for a term of TWO years.
(c) Vacancies in Various Elective Offices.
(2) Filling Council Vacancies. A vacancy in the Council, from whatever cause
arising, shall be filled by majority vote of the Council within sixty (60) days following the
vacancy, provided any vacancy shall be filled by appointment of a person (i) of the same
political party as the appointee’s predecessor; and, (ii) in the case of a member of the Council
representing a District, residing in said District. An appointment made after the expiration of
sixty (60) days shall [nonetheless] NOT be valid. The length of the appointment shall be determined
in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (3), below.
(3) Filling Vacancies in Any Elected Office. Subject to the provisions of
applicable provisions of the General Statutes (C.G.S. §9-221) governing the filling of
vacancies in municipal office, in the event a vacancy shall occur in any elective office (with
the [exception] INCLUSION of Mayor, which is addressed in §4(b)(3) of Chapter IV of this Charter and the
Board of Education as set forth in §5(c) of Chapter IX of this Charter) the Council shall fill
any such vacancy by appointment FOR UP TO FOUR (4) MONTHS until the next regularly scheduled [municipal] general election; OR FOLLOWING BY NO MORE THAN THREE (3) MONTHS OF SUCH VACANCY IF SUCH TIME OF SPECIAL ELECTION WOULD PRECEDE ANY NEXT SCHEDULED ELECTION OR PRIMARY BY FOUR (4) MONTHS OR MORE, of if such election is not permitted by the General Statutes, for the remainder of the
term of office. The vacancy filled by election shall be for the remainder of the term of of
OMIT SECTIONS 5 AND 6 BELOW
Sec. 5. Composition of the Court of Common Council.
The Council shall consist of ninethirteen members, consisting of one member elected from
the City each of five Districts and eight elected at large. The Council shall designate such council
districts by number. The maximum number of at-large
Sec. 6 Establishment of Districts for Court of Common Council.
CHAPTER IV. THE COURT OF COMMON COUNCIL.
Sec. 1. The Legislative Power of the Council.
(a) Compensation of Elected Officials.
(2) The Mayor. The Mayor shall receive such compensation AT NINETY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($95,000) OR AT THE MEAN AVERAGE LEVEL OF THE FIVE (5) LARGEST CITIES IN CONNECTICUT, WHICHEVER IS LESS [as set forth in §1(b) of Chapter V of this Charter] at such times as may be permitted by Article XIX of the
Constitution of the State of Connecticut....]
(b) Restrictions on Holding Office. No member of the Council OR OF THE OFFICE OF THE MAYOR OR ANY MUNICIPAL AGENCIES shall hold any office of profit under the government of the United States, the State of Connecticut, or any subdivision thereof, except that of notary public, nor shall any member of Council, during the term of office for which the
Sec. 2. Powers of the Council.
(c) To adopt the capital and operating budget of the City, AND TO REGULATE TRANSACTIONS IN EXCESS OF ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS ($100,000) PER YEAR FOR THE UNALLOCATED FUND BALANCE (“RAINY DAY FUND”) [as provided in this Charter;]
(d) To approve, by majority vote of its membership, all appointments made pursuant to
§2(n) of Chapter IV, §§2(d) and (e) of Chapter V and other provisions of this Charter, with the
exception of appointments to the Ethics Commission, AND TO NOMINATE AND APPROVE, BY MAJORITY VOTE OF ITS MEMBERSHIP, THE CORPORATION COUNSEL. Pending action by the Council, which shall be
completed within sixty (60) days of the submission of the nomination, a proposed appointee to a
position may perform the duties and exercise the powers of the position; although this provision
shall not be applicable to appointees to boards or commissions. A rejected nominee may continue in
office in an acting capacity pending resubmission of the candidate’s name for approval at the
Council’s next regular meeting; however, a person’s name may not submitted more than two times.
Other than to membership on a Board or Commission, the Mayor may designate INDIVIDUALS (IF CONSTITUTING AT LEAST ONE LESS THAN A MAJORITY, AND THE COUNCIL UP TO AT LEAST HALF OR A MAJORITY OF) TO HOLD POSITIONS in an acting capacity pending the selection of a nominee, but no person may hold
such a position for more than six (6) months without being submitted for confirmation by the
Council. If a nomination to a position or to a board or commission has not been affirmed or rejected
by vote of the Council within sixty (60) days of the submission of the nomination by the Mayor OR COUNCIL (ACCORDING TO RESTRICTIONS ABOVE), INCLUDING THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ADVISORY BOARD [or, Council, in the case of the freedom of information advisory board], it shall be deemed to have been
(h) To approve labor agreements and employment contracts,[ but excepting] INCLUDING employment
arrangements for the non-classified appointees of the Mayor;
(n) To adopt the model ordinance concerning a municipal freedom of information
advisory board as set forth in the General Statutes [and to appoint, upon recommendation of the
Council President, all the members of the board by a majority vote of its membership] BUT TO APPOINT, UPON VOTE OF THE MAJORITY PARTY, OF NOT MORE THAN TWO-THIRDS OF ITS BOARD MEMBERS, AND UPON VOTE OF THE MINORITY OF AT LEAST ONE-THIRD OF MEMBERS.
(ADD) ( ) ASSIGN EMPLOYEES OR OTHER STAFF TO CARRY OUT THE ADMINISTRATIVE DUTIES OF THE VARIOUS BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS OF THE CITY.
Sec. 3. Additional Powers of the Council.
(a) Removal of Elective Officers and Other Officers and Employees subject to
Confirmation by the Council. In addition to the powers of the Mayor as set forth in §2(b) of Chapter
VIII of this Charter, any elective officer or, officer or employee confirmed by the Council, may be
removed, by the Council, from office for cause by a vote of [seven (7nine (9)] SIX (6) MEMBERS...
of the Council. No such officers or employees may be removed except upon charges, which shall be
preferred proferred by vote of a majority of the membership of the Council, and after a hearing
thereon before the full Council. Written notice by the Council of the charges and time and place of
hearing shall be given to the officer or employee at least two weeks before such hearing. Such
charges shall be for neglect or dereliction of official duty, or incompetence, or dishonesty or
incapacity to perform official duties or some delinquency materially affecting the officer or
employee’s general character or fitness for office. Such officer or employee shall have the right to
be represented by counsel at the hearing, to present testimony personally and through witnesses, to
cross-examine witnesses presented in favor of removal, and to compel the attendance of witnesses
by subpoena issued in the name of the Council. In a hearing concerning removal of the Mayor, the
Council shall designate an attorney who is an elector of the City and has been a member in good
standing of the bar of the State of Connecticut for at least ten (10) years as the temporary presiding
officer in place of the Council President.
(b) Power of Investigation. The Council, or any committee thereof when so authorized
by the Council, shall have power to investigate the official conduct of any department or OFFICE OF THE MAYOR OR agency of the City government or of any officer or employee thereof.
For the purpose of conducting any such investigation and hearings relating to the removal of appointive or elective officers or employees, pursuant to §3(a) of this Chapter, above, any member of the Council shall have power to administer oaths and the Council or authorized committees thereof may compel the attendance of witnesses and
require the production of books and papers. Any person who refuses to obey the subpoena of the
Council or an authorized committee thereof shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars
($100.00) or imprisoned not more than thirty (30) days or both. The Council may appropriate from
available funds amounts necessary to cover expenses incurred pursuant to this section.
(3) Succession to the Office of Mayor. Subject to the applicable provisions of the
General Statutes governing the filling of vacancies in municipal office, in the event that the
position of Mayor becomes vacant, the Council President shall serve as Mayor [until the next
regularly scheduled municipal general election], FOR UP TO FOUR (4) MONTHS until the next regularly scheduled [municipal] general election; OR FOLLOWING BY NO MORE THAN THREE (3) MONTHS OF SUCH VACANCY IF SUCH TIME OF SPECIAL ELECTION WOULD PRECEDE ANY NEXT SCHEDULED ELECTION OR PRIMARY BY FOUR (4) MONTHS OR MORE, of if such election is not permitted by the General Statutes, for the remainder of the term of office or, if not permitted by the General Statutes, for the remainder of the Mayor’s term. Upon succession to the Office of Mayor, the Council
Sec. 5. Meetings.
(d) Open Meetings and Public Comment. All meetings shall be open to the public and
the Council shall make provision, in its rules, for a public comment period during, at least, one
meeting per month. AGENDA ITEMS INCLUDING TITLE AND SUMMARY CONTENT OF EACH SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE PRESENT AND MEDIA-VIEWING PUBLIC THROUGH AVAILABLE VERBAL, WRITTEN, AND TECHNICAL MEANS, INCLUDING IF NECESSARY TRANSLATION AND SIGN LANGUAGE WHEN REQUESTED, AS WELL AS FULL COPIES AVAILABLE AT PUBLIC LIBRARIES AND ON-LINE.
CHAPTER V. THE MAYOR.
Sec. 1. The Executive Power and Authority of the Mayor.
(a) There shall be a Mayor who shall be the chief executive officer of the City. The
executive and administrative powers of the City are vested in the Mayor, except as otherwise
provided in this Charter, or provided by law.
(b) Compensation of the Mayor. The Mayor shall be paid an annual salary [in an amount
equal to the base salary of a Judge of the Superior Court of the State of Connecticut, commencing at
12:01 A.M. on January 1, 2003] compensation AT NINETY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($95,000) OR AT THE MEAN AVERAGE LEVEL OF THE FIVE (5) LARGEST CITIES IN CONNECTICUT, WHICHEVER IS LESS [as set forth in §1(b) of Chapter V of this Charter] at such times as may be permitted by Article XIX of the
Constitution of the State of Connecticut....]. The salary of the Mayor may be adjusted annually to reflect any
changes, as provided in §§1(a) and )(2(k) of Chapter IV of this Charter.
Sec. 2. Powers and Duties of the Mayor.
(c) be responsible for the performance of their duties by all the appointive officers and
departments and employees of the City and exercise ultimate operational control over the
departments and agencies of the City; in this respect the Mayor shall have the discretion to delegate
powers and responsibilities to any employee of the City. The Mayor shall conduct or cause the
Chief Operating Officer to conduct an annual evaluation of
(d) appoint, subject to §2(d) of Chapter IV of this Charter, the Chief Operating Officer, NB: REMOVE AS FOLLOWS [Corporation Counsel] and the heads of all departments, except as otherwise provided in this Charter
or collective bargaining agreement, and such other officers and employees of the City as this Charter
or an Ordinancethe Ordinances of the Council consistent therewith may provide. Following October
1 of the year in which there is a Mayoral election a Mayor shall be entitled to make appointments
only for a temporary period ending no later than sixty (60) days following the commencement of the
term of office of the new Mayor. If the Mayor is re-elected this limitation shall not apply after the
election. The Mayor shall have power to remove any appointee, except a member of the classified
service. The Mayor may suspend from duty for not more than thirty (30) days any such appointee
(e) appoint, subject to §2(d) of Chapter IV of this Charter, LESS THAN A MAJORITY OF members of all boards, commissions, agencies, authorities and other bodies of the City created by the General Statutes or by
Ordinance.the Ordinances, with the exception of the appointment of members of the Ethics
Commission appointed by the Council and the City Treasurer. Following October 1 of the year in
which there is a Mayoral election a Mayor shall be entitled
(1) The Mayor’s power of appointment pertaining to LESS THAN A MAJORITY OF members of boards and
commissions, including vacancies, is absolute, except as otherwise designated by the
General Statutes and in this Charter. However, if the Mayor fails to announce the
appointment of a replacement member in the event of a vacancy on said board or
commission: (i) during the first six (6) months of the term of office: within ninety (90) days
(f) act EQUALLY WITH THE CHAIR OF THE LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE OF THE COURT OF COMMON COUNCIL as the principal representativeS of the City in relations and affairs with the federal government, the state government, other municipalities, regional agencies, and any subdivisions, departments or agencies thereof;
(g) act EQUALLY WITH THE CHAIR OF THE PLANNING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE OF THE COURT OF COMMON COUNCIL as the principal strategistS and spokespersonS of the City in the creation and implementation of plans for economic development;
(j) prepare and submit to the Council not later than its first meeting in [September of each
Year] EACH QUARTER a concise and comprehensive report of the financial transactions and administrative activities of the City government during the [fiscal year] QUARTER ending on the preceding thirtieth day of June;
(n) have the right AND RESPONSIBILITY UPON REQUEST, HERSELF/HIMSELF OR THROUGH A DESIGNEE, to appear and speak before any board, committee, agency or commission of the City, except where the decision of the board, committee, agency or commission is appealable on the record to the superior court;
(p) declare a public emergency that exists or threatens to arise involving or threatening the lives or HEALTH OR property of inhabitants of the City or property of the City
(r) DELETE HERE: INSERT INTO CH IV [POWERS OF COUNCIL] AND REVISE (s…) BELOW assign employees or other staff to carry out the administrative duties of the various Boards and Commissions of the City.
Sec. 3. Organization of the Office of the Mayor.
(a) Appropriations. The Mayor may appoint a Chief of Staff, legislative assistant,
research assistant, personal secretary and receptionist, or equivalent positions for which the Council
shall appropriate sufficient funds. In addition, the Mayor may employ such other staff necessary for
the administration of official duties ONLY as the Council may provide. All such Assistants and staff shall
be appointed by the Mayor and shall serve at the pleasure of the
(c) Residency of Department Heads AND DEPUTIES and Chief Operating Officer. The Council may, by
Ordinanceordinance, establish standards for the residency of department heads AND DEPUTIES and Chief Operating
Officer, subject to the requirements of the General Statutes. NON-COMPLIANCE WITHIN ONE YEAR SHALL BE ENFORCED AND RESULT IN TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT.
Sec.4. Temporary Absence or Disability.
In the event that the Mayor is temporarily absent or disabled and is, because of such absence
or disability, unable to the perform the duties of the Mayor’s office, the Council President, or in the
President’s absence or disability, such member as the Council shall designate, shall exercise the
power of the Mayor, except that until such absence or disability of the Mayor has continued for
thirty (30) days, the Acting Mayor shall not have power to appoint or remove officers or employees.
- DO NOT REMOVE FOLLOWING SENTENCE - The compensation for the Acting Mayor shall be determined by the Council but shall in no event exceed in proportion the salary of the Mayor.
CHAPTER VII. BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS.
Sec. 1. General Requirements Concerning Membership on Appointive Boards and
(b) Appointment. Except as otherwise provided by the General Statutes or this Charter,
all members or alternate members of Boards or Commissions, including the appointed members of
the Board of Education, shall be appointed by the Mayor (LESS THAN MAJORITY) AND BY COURT OF COMMON COUNCIL (HALF OR MAJORITY) as set forth in this Charter. All Board or
Commission members shall serve until their successors have been appointed and qualified.
(c) Vacancy. In the event of a vacancy on any Board or Commission, a successor may be appointed by the Mayor OR COUNCIL, PER COMPOSITION REQUIREMENT, pursuant to §2(e) of Chapter V (subject to §2(d) of Chapter IV) of this Charter, for the remainder of the term of office.
(i) Removal. The Mayor OR COUNCIL, BY TWO-THIRDS VOTE, may initiate proceedings to remove a member of any appointive Board, Commission, or “panel of alternates”
Sec. 2. Appointive Boards and Commissions Required by the Charter.
(c) Board of Assessment Appeals.
(1) Membership. Each member of the board of assessment appeals at the
effective date of this Charter shall continue in office until the expiration of the member’s
term and until a successor is duly appointed and qualified. The board of assessment appeals
shall consist of [three (3) persons appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council] ONE PERSON APPOINTED BY THE MAYOR AND TWO PERSONS APPOINTED BY THE COUNCIL , one
(1) member to be appointed each year for a term of three (3) years, each of whom shall
(d) Planning and Zoning Commission.
(1) Duty to plan. It shall be the duty of the commission to prepare and recommend [from time to time, as required by the General Statutes, but no less than every ten (10) years,] EVERY TWO YEARS
CHAPTER VIII. DEPARTMENTS AND DEPARTMENT HEADS.
Sec. 2. Appointment of Department Heads. Requirements.
(b) Appointment. Except as otherwise provided by The General Statutes or this Charter,
all department heads shall be appointed by and subject to the authority of the Mayor, following the
confirmation by the Council in accordance with the provisions §2(d) of Chapter IV of this Charter.
All department heads, who are unclassified employees, shall serve at the pleasure of the Mayor, SUBJECT TO REMOVAL WITH STATED JUST CAUSE, subject also
BOTH FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS – (e) AND (f) – ARE UNCLEAR, NEED WORK
(e) Qualifications of Department Heads. The job qualifications of all department heads,
in addition to those enumerated in this Charter, by General Statutes or Special Act, shall be
established by Ordinance following consideration of recommendation of the Director of Human
Resources or such personnel official as may be designated by Ordinance.ordinance. Said job
qualifications shall be prepared in accordance with nationally accepted professional standards and
shall be reviewed and updated every four years and whenever a vacancy occurs in the position.
(f) Compensation. The salaries and compensation of all officials (with the exception of
elected officials), department heads, agents and employees of the City shall be set by Ordinanceforth
in the Ordinances, except where otherwise fixed by the
Sec. 3. Corporation Counsel.
(b) The Corporation Counsel of the City of Hartford. The Office of the Corporation
Counsel shall be overseen and managed by the Corporation Counsel of the City of Hartford, who
shall be appointed by the [ Mayor, subject to confirmation by the Council, in accordance with §2(d) of
Chapter IV of this Charter,] COURT OF COMMON COUNCIL as of the first Monday of January 2004, provided that the corporation counsel shall serve at the pleasure of and may be removed by the
(bc) Duties. The Office of the Corporation Counsel and the Corporation Counsel shall perform the following duties:
(1) Legal Advisor. The Corporation Counsel shall serve as the legal advisor of
the Mayor, the Council, and all other departments, officers, boards, commissions or agencies
of the City in all matters affecting the interests of the City, and shall upon request furnish
them with a written opinion on any question of law involving their respective powers and
duties. to the City. The Office of the Corporation Counsel shall act in all respects as the
attorneys for the City, its Officers, Departments, Boards, Commissions, Authorities and
Agencies in the discharge of their official duties. To that end, the Office of the Corporation
Counsel shall render written opinions and provide legal advice upon any legal question
arising in connection with the exercise of official powers and duties, which opinions and
advice may be requested by the Mayor, [the Council] MEMBERS OF COUNCIL, the President and/or any duly constituted committee thereof, or any of officer, department head, board, commission or agency of the
(i) All written opinions so rendered by the Office of the Corporation Counsel shall be recorded and indexed in a book kept for that purpose AND AVAILABLE FOR THE PUBLIC IN CITY LIBRARIES AND ON-LINE ELECTRONICALLY, care and custody of which shall be the responsibility of the Corporation Counsel. Said book shall be a matter of public record and the property of the City of Hartford and shall be delivered by the Corporation Counsel to his successor upon resignation, removal, or the expiration of his term;
(ii) Retention of Counsel by the Council. The Council may also provide an appropriation for hiring its own counsel when, in the opinion of the Council, it is necessary for the Council to obtain legal advice in addition to the advice of the
Corporation Counsel. The Council
(2) Representation of the City in Legal Proceedings. The Office of the Corporation Counsel shall :
(i) appear for and protect, prosecute or defend the rights and interests of the City in all actions, suits or proceedings brought by or against it or any of its elected officials, officers, departments, officers, boards, commissions or agencies and shall have power, ;
(ii) with the approval of the Mayor AND THE COUNCIL, have the authority to appeal from orders, decisions or judgments in such cases,; and,
(4) Retention of Legal Counsel.
(ii) Retention of Counsel by the Council. The Council BY MAJORITY VOTE may also provide
(5) Attendance at Meetings of the Council. The Corporation Counsel or a member of the Office designated by the Corporation Counsel shall [, at the request of the President of the Council,] attend in person or assign an assistant to attend all meetings of the Council. The Corporation Counsel or a member of the Office designated by the Corporation
Counsel shall, at the request of the Chair of any committee of the Council, attend in person or
assign an assistant to attend all meetings of said committee.
(56) Personnel. The Corporation Counsel shall have power, within the limitations
of the appropriation therefore AND APPROVAL BY A MAJORITY OF COUNCIL, to employ professional counsel and to appoint such other employees as prescribed by Ordinanceordinance.
(7) SEMI-ANNUAL [Annual Report.] The Corporation Counsel shall SEMI-annually, on or before the
fifteenth dayS of January AND JULY, make a written report to the Mayor and the Council of the
operations of the Office of
(ii) a summary of any such lawsuit which was conclusively resolved in the [fiscal] HALF year preceding, including the terms of said resolution;
(iii) all transactions and other contracts which were consummated in the [fiscal] HALF year preceding to
Sec. 5. Government Administration.
FOR PURPOSES OF TRANSPARENCY, WITHOUT EXCEPTION ALL REPORTS, DOCUMENTS, STATEMENTS, RULES AND REGULATIONS REFERRED TO BELOW IN SECTIONS (a) THROUGH (d) SHALL BE SIMULTANEOUSLY MADE AVAILABLE TO COUNCIL AND THE PUBLIC IN LIBRARIES (PRINTED COPIES) AND ON-LINE (ELECTRONICALLY).
(a) The Department of Finance.
(1) Director of Finance. The head of the department shall be the Director of
Finance, a person [shall be a person] [[FIX REDUNDANCY] skilled in municipal accounting, budgeting and financial control. Commencing on January 1, 2004, the Director of Finance shall be appointed by the
Mayor, subject to confirmation by the Council, to a term of four (4) years and shall be
subject to removal only for cause during that term. [NB: SAME PHRASE.. “REMOVAL ONLY FOR CAUSE”… FOR OTHER DEPARTMENT DIRECTORS]
(iii) Submit monthly to the Mayor and to the Council a public statement, ALSO AVAILABLE AT LIBRARIES (PRINTED COPIED) AND ON-LINE ELECTRONICALLY, showing the amount of each appropriation with transfers to and from the same,….
….to be collected. The Director of Finance shall furnish to the head of each department, office and agency a copy of the portion of the above statement relating to that official’s department, office or agency.
(iv) Prepare for the Mayor as of the end of each [fiscal] HALF year a complete financial statement and report of the financial transactions of the City for the
Preceding HALF year.
(ix) Inspect and audit the accounts or records of financial transactions as
maintained in each department, office or agency of the City government apart from or
subsidiary to the accounts kept in the finance director’s office.
(b) Tax Collector. There shall be a Tax Collector, who shall be a member of the
classified service and shall be appointed by the Mayor AND APPROVED BY COUNCIL,
(e) Department of Human Resources. There shall be a Department of Human
Resources, which shall be responsible for the administration of the civil service system and all other
matters affecting civil service employment, collective bargaining and the employees of the City. In
order to advance the purposes of this Charter, the Council, upon recommendation of the Mayor OR ITS MAJORITY VOTE, shall enact Ordinancesordinances relating to the operation of the Department and the civil service system.
(2) Human Resources Policy of the City. It shall be the policy of the City to
establish a civil service system that will assure recruitment of the best available persons to
appointment to vacant positions, advance equal employment opportunity and affirmative
action, continue training and evaluation of employees and bargain fairly with the collective
bargaining representatives of employees. The Council, upon recommendation of the Mayor OR ITS MAJORITY VOTE, shall establish
(3) Classified and unclassified service. The civil service of the City shall be
divided into the unclassified and the classified service. The unclassified service shall
(iii) The heads of departments appointed by the Mayor, and deputy heads
of departments who shall be appointed by the respective department heads, with the
concurrence of the Mayor, and shall serve at the pleasure of the respective department
heads AND WITH REMOVAL ONLY WITH STATED CAUSE, and not more than one (1) confidential secretary in each department, except that the City assessor, the director of human resources, and the tax collector shall be members of the classified service; [[WHY IS THIS EXCEPTION MADE??]]
(4) Prohibited practices. No person in the classified OR UNCLASSIFIED service of the City or seeking
admission thereto shall be appointed, promoted, reduced, removed….. ….. fined not more than five [hundred] THOUSAND dollars [ ($500.00) ] $5000
Sec. 6. Community Services.
There shall be established by the Council departments and agencies of the City that deal with
key functions such as health, human services, recreation and other community services. Such
administrative offices shall always have in place up-to-date action plans to address the health, human
service and recreation needs of children, youth, adults and the elderly and shall implement these
plans in close coordination with the appropriate CITY, state, AND FEDERAL offices and with other pertinent private and public agencies.
CHAPTER IX. BOARD OF EDUCATION AND DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.
Sec. 1. Board of Education. Effective December 6, 2005, thereThere shall be a Board of Education consisting of nine (9) members [five (5)] THREE (3) appointed by the Mayor and [four (4)] SIX (6) elected
Sec. 2. Appointment of Board of Education Members.
(1) Appointed Members. After January 1, 2008 the Mayor shall appoint [five (5)] THREE (3) members for
(db) Minority Party Representation. At no time shall more than [three (3)] TWO (2) of the members
appointed by the Mayor be members of the same political party and, with respect to the elected
members, the maximum number of members from the same political party shall be [three (3)] FOUR (4).
Candidates for the Board of Education shall be elected with party designation.
(ge) Powers of the Board of Education. The Board of Education shall perform such duties
and have such powers as are or may be imposed by the General Statutes upon boards of education.
The Department of Education shall perform the administrative functions of said Board.
Sec. 5. Transition Provisions. UPDATE AND REVISE THIS ACCORDINGLY TO ABOVE
(a) Appointment and Election of Board of Education Members. In conformity with the
provisions of Special Act No. 97-4, as amended by Special Act No. 01-7 effective on December 3,
2002 until December 5, 2005 the Board of Education shall consist of seven (7) members including
four (4) members elected at the election held on November 5, 2002 and three (3)
CHAPTER X. BUDGET. FOR PURPOSES OF TRANSPARENCY, WITHOUT EXCEPTION ALL REPORTS, DOCUMENTS, STATEMENTS, RULES AND REGULATIONS REFERRED TO BELOW IN SECTIONS 2 THROUGH 4 BELOW SHALL BE SIMULTANEOUSLY MADE AVAILABLE TO COUNCIL AND THE PUBLIC IN LIBRARIES (PRINTED COPIES) AND ON-LINE (ELECTRONICALLY).
Sec. 2. [Annual] SEMI-ANNUAL Departmental Budget Estimates.
(a) Authority to Require Departmental, Agency or Office Estimates. The Mayor shall
have the power to require the head of every department, office or agency, including the Board of
Education, to submit to the Mayor or designee such (a1) estimates of revenue and expenditures for
the ensuing fiscal year; and (b2) any additional information which they possess (including, but not
limited to, records, books, accounts, contracts, reports and other papers and documents as specified
by the Mayor) all of which, in the judgment of the Mayor, are necessary to discharge the duties
imposed upon the Mayor by this Charter.
Sec. 5. Budget Deliberations of the Council.
(a) Modifications. After the conclusion of such public hearing, but not later than a date
specified by Ordinanceordinance, the Council may insert new items of expenditures or may increase,
decrease or strike out items of expenditure, except that no item of appropriation for debt service and
no item of appropriation necessary to fulfill the obligations of the City as determined by the pension
c:\documents and settings\steve\my documents\sgm law\city of hartford\city charter.2008-2009\charter drafts\2009 charter.00.current charter.doc48
commission shall be reduced. The Council shall not increase the Mayor’s estimates of receipts. It
may, however, decrease the amount of the tax levy for the ensuing fiscal year as proposed by the
Mayor in proportion to such decrease in the total of expenditures proposed by the Mayor as it may
have determined. If it shall increase the total proposed expenditures such increase shall be reflected
in full in the tax rate.
(b) Ordinance Establishing the Budget Process. The Council shall specify by
Ordinanceordinance the date by which the budget or the budget as amended shall be submitted to the
Mayor in accordance with the provisions of §7(c)(4) of Chapter IV of this Charter.
(c) Adoption of the Budget. Upon approval, reduction and/or disapproval, of budgetary
provisions by the Mayor, but not later than a date specified by Ordinance ordinance but at least one
(1) calendar month before the end of the current fiscal year, the Council shall adopt the budget, the
appropriation ordinance and tax levy ordinance. If it fails to adopt the budget by that date the budget
as adopted in the preceding fiscal year, as adjusted by the amount necessary to meet the funding
requirement of the Pension Commission and legally and contractually required increases, as certified
by the Finance Director, shall be deemed to be the budget of the City for the ensuing fiscal year and
expenditures shall be made in accordance therewith. The Council shall thereupon adopt the
appropriation ordinance and the ordinance making a tax levy in accordance with the budget adopted.
Sec. 6. Work program and allotments.
After the annual appropriation ordinance has been adopted and before the beginning of the
fiscal year the head of each department, office or agency, except the department of education, shall
submit to the Mayor in such form as the Mayor shall prescribe a work program which shall show the
requested allotments of the appropriations for such department, office or agency for the entire fiscal
year by monthly or quarterly periods as the Mayor may direct. Before the beginning of the fiscal
year the Mayor shall approve, with such amendments as the Mayor shall determine, the allotments
for each such department, office or agency, and shall file the same with the Director of Finance, who
shall not authorize any expenditure to be made from any appropriation except on the basis of
approved allotments. The aggregate of such allotments shall not exceed the total appropriation
available to said department, office or agency for the fiscal year. An approved allotment may be
revised during the fiscal year in the same manner as the original allotment was made. If at any time
during the fiscal year the Mayor shall ascertain that the revenue cash receipts for the year, plus
general fund cash surplus from the preceding year, will be less than the total appropriations, the
Mayor shall reconsider the work programs and allotments of the several departments, offices and
agencies, and revise the allotments so as to forestall the incurring of a deficit.
Sec. 7. Transfer, Additional and Lapse of Appropriations during the Fiscal Year.
(a) Transfers of appropriations. The Mayor may at any time transfer any unencumbered
appropriation balance or portion thereof from one (1) classification of expenditure to another within
the same department, office or agency. At the request of the Mayor, the Council may by resolution
transfer any unencumbered appropriation balance or portion thereof from one (1) department, office
or agency to another, except that no funds may be transferred from the funds appropriated to the
Board of Education.
(b) Additional appropriations. Appropriations in addition to those contained in the
budget, except for the purpose of meeting a public emergency as provided in Chapter IV, §2(n), shall
be made only on the recommendation of the Mayor and only if the Director of Finance certifies that
there is available general fund surplus sufficient to meet such appropriation.
I want to thank you for your hard work and commitment to the charter revision process over the past six months. The City of Hartford owes you a debt of gratitude for your efforts and dedication to such an important issue.
This letter contains amendments to the current charter which I would like to see the Charter Revision Commission (the “Commission”) include in its final report. I would be glad to discuss any of these proposed amendments and other issue with any member of the Commission. I can be reached by email at email@example.com or by telephone at (860) 757-9565.
1. Additional Powers of the Council
I believe that the Corporation Counsel should be appointed by a majority vote of the Court of Common Council (the “City Council”). I am a former intern in the Office of Corporation Counsel and have a great deal of respect for every attorney in that office. Currently, the Mayor appoints and the City Council confirms the Corporation Counsel. However, the Mayor has the authority to fire the Corporation Counsel at any time and without cause. I believe this creates a very difficult dynamic for the Corporation Counsel. The Corporation Counsel is the City of Hartford’s attorney general and must remain free from political pressures. Since the Mayor has the ability to fire the Corporation Counsel, it is possible that legal opinions and rulings of the office could be skewed to favor the position that the Mayor wishes. Therefore, I am advocating that the City Council appoint the Corporation Counsel and only have the ability to remove him or her from that position with a super majority vote (7 out of 9; or 10 out of 13). I believe this change will ensure that the Corporation Counsel can be a neutral arbiter of legal issues facing the City without fear of repercussion from the Mayor.
I am recommending the following language be added to Chapter IV, Section 2 of the Charter entitled “Powers of the Council” as subsection “(o).”
(o) To appoint, by majority vote of its membership, the Corporation Counsel. The Council may remove the Corporation Counsel by a vote of seven (7) (or ten (10)) members of the Council. The Corporation Counsel may only be removed by the Council in accordance with the provisions set forth in Chapter IV, Section 3 herein.
The Commission might also consider amending the charter to enable the Mayor to hire a staff attorney to advise the Mayor and his or her office on certain matters. However, the City’s attorney would remain the Corporation Counsel.
2. Appeals from Orders, Decisions or Judgments
The Mayor currently has the sole authority to “appeal from orders, decisions or judgments” involving the City. I would urge the Commission to amend the charter so that the City Council must approve any appeals involving matters related to the Freedom of Information Act. There are, and will continue to be, situations where the City needs to appeal from a decision of the Freedom of Information Commission, but since these cases often involve the disclosure of public documents, it is important that the City Council be allowed to vote on whether an appeal to superior court or to an appellate court is necessary or warranted.
This change to the charter would not prohibit the Corporation Counsel, Mayor, or City Council from contesting a matter before the Freedom of Information Commission. It would simply restrict the Mayor’s authority to unilaterally appeal a final decision of the Freedom of Information Commission. The City has spent over $135,000 on appeals of Freedom of Information cases in the past 16 months. One of these appeals involves a task force created by the Mayor. The City Council had no members on this task force, never voted to empanel said task force, and has no authority under the charter to prevent the Mayor from appealing this matter. The administration has even decided to appeal this case to the Appellate Court, despite rulings by the Freedom of Information Commission and a superior court judge against the City.
I am recommending that Chapter VIII, Section 3 of the Charter entitled “Corporation Counsel” be amended as follows:
(b)(2) The Corporation Counsel shall appear for and protect the rights of the City in all actions, suits or proceedings brought by or against it or any of its departments, officers, boards, commissions or agencies and shall have power, with the approval of the Mayor, to appeal from orders, decisions or judgments in such cases, except for any order, decision or judgment involving a dispute pertaining to the Freedom of Information Act of the General Statutes. In matters related to the Freedom of Information Act, the Corporation Counsel may only appeal from an order, decision or judgment with the approval of the Council by a vote of a majority of its membership,
3. Adoption of the Budget
Currently, if the City Council does not adopt a budget (which is proposed by the Mayor and any amendments made to the budget by the City Council are subject to a mayoral line-item veto) “the budget as adopted in the preceding fiscal year, as adjusted by the amount necessary to meet the funding requirement of the Pension Commission and legally and contractually required increases, as certified by the Finance Director, shall be deemed to be the budget of the City for the ensuing fiscal year and expenditures shall be made in accordance therewith.” This provision became known during the 2009 budget deliberations as the “Armageddon Provision” because it would have required the City to have a tax increase of approximately 9-10 mills if a budget was not adopted. A majority of members of the City Council would have preferred to vote down the Mayor’s budget, but that was not a realistic option because of the charter.
As I stated in my letter to the Commission, dated June 2, 2009, this provision creates an uneven negotiating standpoint for the City Council, and it is a draconian provision for taxpayers in situations in which the City is facing a deficit due to budget shortfalls.
To reiterate, the City had a budget of $547 million for fiscal year 2008-09, and there was a revenue shortfall of approximately $12 million. The City Council, mindful that the City had a revenue problem, reduced the budget to $535 million. However, if the City Council had failed to adopt a budget in order to avoid any tax increase, the charter would have required that the City’s budget for 2009-10 be $547 million which would have meant an even larger tax increase than would have been required if the budget were $535 million.
Accordingly, I am recommending that Chapter X, Section 5(c) of the Charter entitled, “Adoption of the Budget,” be amended as follows:
“If it fails to adopt a budget by that date, the mill rate of the preceding fiscal year shall be the mill rate for the proceeding fiscal year.” The Mayor shall thereupon adopt a budget which accounts for any amounts necessary to meet the funding requirement of the Pension Commission and legally and contractually required increases, as certified by the Finance Director, without raising the mill rate. If the Council fails to adopt a budget, the Mayor shall have the sole authority to determine the budget for each department for the proceeding fiscal year, except for the budget of the Council, which shall remain the same as the preceding fiscal year.”