Why is the Observer so picky? Why does the newspaper continually nitpick Southington’s Town Council? Why does it bother us so much that they passed a resolution for the way the town will handle the Bradley emergency room, even when the resolution isn’t binding?
To be clear, we have no opinion on the future of Bradley. We do not support the Hospital of Central Connecticut, nor do we oppose the Community Committee to Save Bradley. We only oppose resolutions—even well-meaning ones—that exceed the limited authority that the council is granted under the town’s charter.
Like the Constitution of the United States, the charter is a contract between the government and its people. Like the Constitution, the powers granted to the branches of government are strictly enumerated…or they simply don’t exist. In contrast, the charter was not intended to limit any individual’s rights. (This is granted by the ninth amendment in the Bill of Rights and Section 104 of the charter, “Powers of the Town.”) The charter can’t be used as a hammer by the government to do whatever they want.
Our problem with the recent resolution is that the Town Council, a legislative body (with limited judicial powers under the ethics code) is given no executive privileges at all in the charter, and that includes negotiating as individuals with a local hospital about how they handle their business. The charter strictly outlines the powers of the council, and making resolutions isn’t one of them. We’re not attorneys, but neither are most of them. We feel they should have addressed this before wandering around in the dark. It’s a slippery slope. It’s another reason the motion should have been tabled when GOP members tried.
The charter does give the Town Manager, the chief executive of the town, the power to “promulgate written policies and procedures for his enumerated duties.” The charter gives the manager a full right to participate in the council discussion, except that he has no right to vote. It seems that, if anyone should be writing a resolution, it should be the Town Manager. Then, he should be reporting his written policy to the Town Council for approval, not the other way around.
We feel that this resolution is an abuse of the council’s power and authority. The ends never justify the means.
A fitting tribute to 9/11
The Observer wishes to give a big shout out to Southington’s first responders and the way that they carry themselves with grace and dignity in the town.
It’s sometimes hard to believe that 17 years have passed since the September 11 terrorist attacks, but residents still join annually with members of the Southington Fire Department, Southington Police Department, the Knights of Columbus, local veteran groups, town officials, and community leaders for a memorial ceremony at the 9/11 memorial in Plantsville.
So, it was a poignant moment when firemen leapt into action when a problem arose with the rope on the brand new flag pole before Tuesday’s Sept. 11 memorial. We thought it was a fitting tribute that our ladder truck arrived in time to fix the flag atop the memorial…just in time for the ceremony. It reminded us of those first responders on Sept. 11, 2001.
We also tip our caps to the local police who showed up in force and reminded us how quickly things change when an emergency call forced many to leave early.
Thank you all for your service.
To comment on this story or to contact Southington Observer editor John Goralski, email him at JGoralski@SouthingtonObserver.com.