Proposed Cheshire charter changes include school superintendent residency requirement

Proposed Cheshire charter changes include school superintendent residency requirement


CHESHIRE — Proposed charter changes discussed this week include a stricter residency requirement for the school superintendent and appointment of a Town Clerk.

The town’s charter was reviewed and changes proposed by a panel of Republican, Democratic and unaffiliated residents.

Board of Education leaders spoke against the residency requirement for the school superintendent, saying it’ll reduce the pool of future candidates for the position and could drive out current Superintendent of Schools Jeff Solan, who lives in Wallingford.

“In this day and age with the internet and cars and the way things go, I don’t see it as a requirement for the superintendent of schools,” said Marlena Soble, board vice chairwoman

Board chairwoman Cathy Hellreich said the board’s practice has been to waive the residency requirement for superintendents. Proposed changes would only allow the board to waive it for one year.

Hellreich asked that the council leave the board the ability to indefinitely waive the residency requirement and grandfather Solan’s residency out-of-town. Otherwise the school district may be looking for a new superintendent if Solan decides not to move.

“That’s what we might be looking at if this were to go through,” she said.

David Schrumm, a former town councilor, said he wanted the residency requirement strengthened.

“It should not only stay in, it should be enforced,” he said.

Speakers differed over expanding minority representation from two seats to three on the Town Council. This would ensure that at least three members of the minority party are seated in an election rather than the current two.

Barbara McWhirter, charter revision commission chairwoman, said the expanded minority representation rules, would give more voice to the residents who didn’t vote for the party holding a majority of the council.

The change would provide “a little bit less underrepresentation” for those voters, she said.

Kenneth Neumann, a town resident, said voters should be able to choose representatives and have those choices honored.

“We have seen several times in the history of this town that I’m aware of where voters have decided that a particular candidate should be elected to office and was denied that office because of minority representation,” Neumann said. “That is a disenfranchisement of the voters.”

Neumann also wanted voters to continue to choose a Town Clerk, a position which would be appointed by the Town Manager under the proposed charter.

Voters must approve charter changes to make them go into effect.
Twitter: @JBuchananRJ

Help Support Quality Local Journalism


Latest Videos