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April 19, 2019  |  

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Must Be Committed

Published Nov. 28, 2018

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Thanks go to the voters of Clinton who were wise enough to vote “Yes” on Question 3 on election day. This charter question provided for a town manager/council form of government. The vote was 4,317 for and 1,540 against out of 6,501 ballots cast, a 66 percent approval rate. An estimated 600 did not vote on the charter at all.

I’m not surprised the town manager won, but I am surprised 1,540 voted against trying to preserve our Colonial-era, ineffective government. We needed to get out of the 18th century and into the 21st. I believe residents will be pleased with the results. Professionally run towns often run circles around towns who have kept the selectmen/town meeting form.

Why did anyone vote “No”? Possibilities follow: don’t like change, aren’t familiar with town manager, don’t want to give up power they may have, never followed the town manager debate, believed without verification the inaccurate statements on Facebook, etc. Unfortunately, only a few attended the three information sessions the Charter Reform Coalition organized.

A few have proposed we dredge up an old first selectman to be our first town manager since apparently we got such good results in the past. I hate to burst their bubble, but that will not and cannot happen since the new charter places stringent qualifications on the town manager. The whole point of this is to get a nonpartisan professional.

What happens now? The current Board of Selectmen does a search with professional help for a town manager, preparing a finalist list. On Nov. 5, 2019 the voters will select a seven-member Town Council. The new Town Council must select a town manager from the finalist list. The council candidates selected by party committees must be committed to make this succeed and not be saboteurs.

Selectman Phil Sengle (R)

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