After Charter change, finance board has new chairman
NEW CANAAN — The Board of Finance had to make an unprecedented decision Tuesday night: Who should be chairman?
It’s a question that needed answering after electors in town voted Nov. 8 in favor of a change to the Town Charter that would no longer allow the first selectman to serve as the Board of Finance chairman. The board had also to decide on a secretary and decided to add the position of vice chairman, though the charter change did not necessitate it, each of whom will serve a one-year term.
“There’s no bylaws, there’s no job descriptions, there’s no vice chairman. None of those things exist, so we have to sort of decide how we’re going to do this together,” Board of Finance member Neil Budnick said, serving as chairman pro tempore only for the election of officers.
Because the finance board has never previously appointed officers, the rules and regulations need to be developed by newly appointed chairman over the coming months, according to Budnick. There are nine permanent members on the board and three alternates.
There was little debate among the members as to who should fill the role. For each of the roles, only one member was nominated. John Sheffield will step in as chairman for Mallozzi, whose last meeting at the helm of the board was Tuesday, Nov. 15. He’ll be accompanied by Vice Chairman Robert Spangler and Secretary Judy Neville.
The amendment, proposed by the Town Council-appointed Charter Revision Commission, was the subject of much debate in the lead up to Election Day. All acting members of the finance board and Rob Mallozzi spoke out in favor of maintaining the old system on the basis that it worked and that no one knew more about the inner workings of the town than Mallozzi. Detractors, however, including the Republican Town Committee, said the change allowed for greater separations of power and better checks and balances.
“This is new territory for all of us. I think the town as a whole needs to heal. There’s been a lot of division and dysfunction as a result of this charter amendment. And I think it’s also incumbent upon the chairman and the vice chairman to reach out to all of the town bodies and certainly including the Republican Town Committee. This has got to change and we have got to heal,” Neville said.