Norwalk voters soundly approved the City’s first charter revision in a century Tuesday, Democrats and Republicans say.
Official results were not available overnight. But the City’s political leaders based their perceptions on ballot tapes collected from all the polling places.
Democrats showed an early preliminary result of it passing with at least 80% of the vote. Republican Town Committee Secretary Diana Paladino said early Wednesday that it definitely passed.
Late Tuesday in the Hilton Garden Inn, Mayor Harry Rilling said he was thankful.
“We wanted so much for that charter revision to pass,” he said. “All it did was increased the Police and Fire Commissions from three to five, or two to four, depending on you read it, and just organize the charter. When I first ran for Mayor, and I was looking at the charter. I had to go to this chapter, that chapter in that chapter to find out the authority that the Mayor has. And it was very convoluted, very difficult to navigate. We’ve made it so much cleaner.”
Efficiency study consultants said last year that the charter needed to be completely overhauled. The Common Council subsequently hired Attorney Steven Mednick to guide the work, a step forward from the 2016 effort when volunteers presented a less comprehensive charter revision to the public, only to see most of its work fail at the polls.
“I am delighted that the Proposed Charter Revision has passed,” Charter Revision Commission Chairwoman Patsy Brescia said in an email. “It certainly was time for our wonderful city to bring the charter into ‘today.’ When you focus on the date of the writing of our charter, 1913, and place that date in perspective, 1913 was prior to the start of World War 1 and before women had the right to vote. Our new charter is easy to use, describes the current functions of our government and provides for more citizen involvement, I believe it is a win, win for Norwalk. Thank you Norwalk for voting for the Proposed Charter.”
“I think we’ve done a great job,” Rilling said. “I’m so pleased that it passed.”