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Bethel watchdog group opposed to possible Charter changes

The Bethel Charter Revision Commission has met to discuss a number of items.  At their meeting last night, the Commission talked about the possibility of increasing the term for the Board of Selectmen from two years to four years and increasing the number of people on that Board from three to five. 


Bethel Action Committee founder Billy Michael says extending the term is concentrating more power in the hands of a few.  He says if the term is increased, he would like to a recall option after two years, in the event that the "wrong" person is elected.


Michael says his organization, a taxpayer watchdog group, is opposed to adding more paid positions to town government.


Michael is also opposed to doubling the amount of signatures needed for residents to insert themselves into the debate.  He calls it a complete shift from the town meeting form of government.  BAC help with two successful petition drives recently.  One was for town residents, not the town's attorney, to decide on the demolition of Old Town Hall.  The other was for the "all or none" ordinance.  That required notification of town meetings be made to all residents or no notification, which became a model for the state. 


Michael says both those petitions went against the grain of local officials and says the proposed doubling of needed signatures looks like retribution through the Charter Revision Commission.

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