June 17, 2011
The League of Women Voters of Stamford hosted a panel discussion Thursday night at the featuring Randell M. Skigen and John Mallozzi of the and lawyer Charles Grinnell about the city charter and the changes that might be proposed and possibly made during its next revision, which is scheduled for 2012.
When asked what changes to the charter they would make if they had the chance, both Mallozzi and Skigen gave the same answer.
“I would allow the between the Board and the mayor about the [volunteer and paid] fire departments to take place outside of the city charter,” Mallozzi said. “This topic has been distracting for the administration and a lot of other people. Let’s put it to rest.”
Skigen explained that is already in violation of the charter for having engines at makeshift facilities on Vine and Long Ridge Roads, which are located in districts that should be served by volunteer departments.
“The reason purported was that the volunteer departments were unable to handle the volume of calls in their district so, potentially, it was a public safety emergency,” he said. “We have a public safety problem and the charter is preventing us from addressing it in the most efficient way possible.”
Grinnel told attendees that he would like to revise the charter so that it would be mandatory for the city to have an internal audit staff.
“We haven’t had one for a long time,” he said. “If the lax standards and regulations applicable to municipalities applied to public companies, they’d be constantly in court. I do find it amazing to read articles in the newspapers about money just disappearing.”
Skigen told attendees that he would announce which Board members will serve on the 2010 Charter Commission and which residents will serve on the Revision Committee within the next month or so. Skigen himself served on the 1994-95 Committee along with Mallozzi and Grinnell.
“We haven’t yet decided on the number of voters that will serve on the Committee, but it will be no less than nine and no more than 15,” he said. “We traditionally have had a slightly more of the majority party serving, but we’ve also had unaffiliated voters serve.”
Skigen added that the Board hopes to have questions related to charter revisions appear on the November 2012 election ballot. “If the majority votes in favor, then the charter changes,” he said.
The charter states that revisions are to be made every 10 years.