(Norwalk, Conn.) Today, September 19, 2022, the City of Norwalk announced that after more than 100 years since the adoption of its Charter, a comprehensive revision is underway, beginning this week.
In August, the Norwalk Common Council formally established a Charter Revision Commission, and at a Special Meeting on September 6, announced the members of the Commission: Patsy Brescia (the Chair), Richard McQuaid (the Vice-Chair), Carl Dickens, Tyler Fairbairn, Angela Wasunna, Benita Watford and Michael Witherspoon. The Common Council previously selected Attorney Steven G. Mednick to facilitate the revision efforts. Mednick has been involved in charter revisions throughout several cities and towns in Connecticut and is considered an expert in this subject.
The Charter Revision Commission has been tasked with completely revising the City's Charter and will host its first informational meeting on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, at 5:00 PM. The Commission will continue to hold biweekly hybrid meetings on Wednesdays, and their first public hearing meeting will be on October 5, 2022, at 5:00 PM.
"The residents of Norwalk deserve to have a modernized charter that is easy to understand and gives them a better sense of how their government works," Tom Livingston, President and District E Member of the Common Council. "The Common Council carefully selected an impressive group of commission members from across the City, who have diverse backgrounds and a broad range of experiences to strengthen this process. I have every confidence in the members we selected, and I encourage the community to share their input during the entirety of this public process. The Charter revision process is a unique opportunity to make sure Norwalk has a charter that reflects the public's ideas, is easy to navigate and enhances good governance."
"We plan to take an objective review of the Charter to try to make it clearer for everyone to comprehend," Patsy Brescia, Chair of the Charter Revision Commission. "By listening to the public's input, our goal is to reorganize the document to give residents a better sense of how their government works and enhance transparency and accountability."
The Commission has eight months to revise the Charter and present a recommendation to the Common Council for approval. Following final approval by the Common Council, the question of whether or not residents of the City of Norwalk want to adopt the new Charter will appear on the November 2023 ballot as a referendum.
One of the key recommendations of the Norwalk Efficiency Study report presented in March was an overhaul of the City's Charter. Findings by Evergreen Solutions, the consultant hired by the City to perform the study, noted how the City's Charter is outdated and contains provisions that no longer apply to current City operations. The report emphasized how restructuring Norwalk's Charter would help residents better navigate and comprehend the document, enhancing their understanding of how their local government works.
Norwalk officially became a City in 1913, and since then, a comprehensive revision of the Charter has never been conducted.
Residents can learn more about the Charter Revision Commission and the upcoming informational meeting on Wednesday, September 21 at 5:00 PM by visiting https://www.norwalkct.org/1577/Charter-Revision-Commission