Letter to the Editor: Town Charter is Killingworth’s Law

The following letter was published October 28, 2021 in Haddam-Killingworth News

Whether a Killingworth selectman may legally hold another office is currently in dispute. The Killingworth Town Charter clearly says, “No member of the Board of Selectmen shall, during his/her term in office, hold or be appointed to any other office, board, commission, or position of employment in the government of Killingworth. . . .” The Town Attorney has given his legal opinion that membership on the RSD17 Board of Education is, in fact, holding an office in the government of Killingworth.

Lately, some are arguing that we should “let the voters decide.” The fact is, we have a Town Charter that was adopted by the voters. It is Killingworth’s “constitution.” A vote in a particular election does not allow you to violate that constitution.

Indeed, the passage I just quoted was not only in the current charter; it was in the preceding charters since the first one, adopted in 1981. I know; I was on the commission that drafted Killingworth’s first charter. Killingworth voters have adopted this language three times. The voters have decided already.

There is a procedure in place, under state law, to change that decision. It is called Charter Revision, and ironically, it was this procedure that brought the disputed provision of our current charter to light. Unless and until a revised charter is approved by town vote, the current charter is the law.

Joan Gay

Killingworth

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