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Local Government in Connecticut, Third Edition

Frank B. Connolly

Publication Year: 2013

Originally published in 1992 and revised in 2001, Frank B. Connolly's Local Government in Connecticut is one of the most useful and well-established resources on the state's local government. Written expressly for public officials and students, the book explains Connecticut's basic forms of local government and its many variants, as well as examining their inner workings, including governance, management, administration, municipal services, education, and land use. This new edition has been entirely revised, expanded, and updated, with new chapters on charter revision, municipal employees and unionization, education, homeland security and local government, pensions, and economic development. It includes references to key sections of the Connecticut General Statutes. This unique and indispensable resource for the state is published in cooperation with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.

Published by: Wesleyan University Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Local Government in Connecticut

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pp. 2-3

Title

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p. 4-4

Copyright

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p. 5-5

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Foreword

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pp. vii-viii

This third edition of Local Government in Connecticut is published by Wesleyan University Press in cooperation with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM). The original edition was published in 1992 by the Institute of Local Government of the University of Connecticut. ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

This third edition of Local Government in Connecticut has been written in collaboration with two of my professional colleagues, Phil Schenck and Roger Kemp. Both have extensive experience as town managers in Connecticut and other states. All three of us are on the faculty of the University of New Haven in its Public Administration Department. ...

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Introduction

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pp. xi-xiv

Local government totally surrounds us, yet its services are often hardly noticed. As chapter 1 of Local Government in Connecticut makes clear, these services reflect the broad levels of human need, and, in some cases, wants of today’s society. ...

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1. What Is Local Government in Connecticut?

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pp. 3-6

It is nearly impossible for anyone to leave home and travel for a few miles without coming across some aspect of local government at work. Indeed, local-government services have become such a part of our daily lives we hardly recognize that they are there! ...

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2. Forms of Local Government

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pp. 7-23

The United States Constitution sets forth the laws covering only the federal and the state governments. Towns and cities are never even mentioned! Towns and cities, commonly referred to as municipalities, exist because the state says they can exist. They receive their powers from the state, and therefore, they frequently are called children of the state. ...

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3. Who Runs These Governments?

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pp. 24-29

The score was 9–8 at the bottom of the ninth inning. Fully engaged parents on both sides screamed encouragement to cheer their child’s team to victory. For some, it was a reliving of their youth, with vivid memories of the ecstasy of victory or the agony of defeat. No matter, the game was real, here and now. ...

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4. Key Local Government Officials and Their Roles

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pp. 30-36

Local government has become quite complex over the years. The original role of municipal officials of taking care of roads and watching out for the general welfare has expanded significantly. This need for specialization is a result of population increase, federal and state mandates, technical-knowledge requirements, and a general demand for a particular public service. ...

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5. State Government vs. Local Government

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pp. 37-41

Many times at local public meetings the frustrations of local officials and citizens regarding the state are vocalized. “How can the state do that, we have ‘home rule.’” The tenor of such comments is such that one wonders if the state is a foreign agent and not part of where residents live. ...

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6. Charter Revision Process

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pp. 42-44

Municipalities operate under the concept of home rule, or their ability to govern themselves with certain limitations. Home rule is in the state statutes and was reinforced by an amendment to the state constitution in 1965. However, several towns have chosen not to adopt a charter, and therefore operate under the general statutes. ...

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7. Municipal Employees and Unionization

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pp. 45-52

The history of collective bargaining and the unionization of public workers is essentially a twentieth-century development. The transition of the nation’s economy from agriculture to industry in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries produced an environment conducive to the rise of workers’ rights and collective bargaining in the private sector. ...

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8. Federal Government’s Role in Local Government

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pp. 53-56

The relationship between the federal government, the states, and local governments (towns, cities, and counties) is an interesting mix. The Constitution distributes authority and powers between the central government and the states — giving to both substantial responsibilities and powers, including the power to establish and collect taxes, ...

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9. Some Nuts and Bolts of the Local Government Process (or How Business Is Transacted at the Local-Government Level in Connecticut)

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pp. 57-61

Unlike many other states, elected politics at the local level in Connecticut are partisan. In these other states, there are no political parties on the ballot. Most individuals running for office at the local level are nominated by and belong to one of the two major political parties, Democrats or Republicans, ...

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10. Where Does the Money Come From?

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pp. 62-71

The early settlers of New England had a reputation for frugality. Luxuries were avoided, necessities were made to last, and bargains were boasted. Much of this old attitude has carried over into the operations of today’s local governments, especially in the smaller towns. ...

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11 Where Does the Money Go?

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pp. 72-75

The phone rang in the mayor’s office late in the afternoon, one of a long stream of phone calls that afternoon. The mayor’s secretary answered in a professional tone, “Mayor’s office, may I help you?” “Certainly can” came the reply. “I am a taxpayer in this town and I want to talk with the mayor. ...

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12. Public Safety: Police, Fire, Emergency Medical Services

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pp. 76-83

Public safety is a basic service provided by municipalities and requires staffing twenty-four hours per day, 365 days per year. All municipalities in Connecticut provide the three basic public safety services: police, fire, and emergency medical services. ...

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13. Homeland Security and Emergency Management

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pp. 84-93

Eleven days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the first director of the Office of Homeland Security was appointed by the president to head this new department, which was located in the White House. This office oversaw and coordinated a comprehensive national strategy to safeguard the country against terrorism and respond to any future attacks. ...

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14. Public Works

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pp. 94-102

In the early days of Connecticut, selectmen were often elected on the basis of their knowledge of roads, bridges, and drainage. In the late nineteenth century and into the twentieth, public works directors were often engineers, focused on physical public infrastructure. ...

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15. Land Use: Planning and Zoning, Wetlands and Watercourses

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pp. 103-107

Land use is a critical element in each of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities. Cities and towns have grown as a result of natural resources, location, and land-use public policies. The development of coastal communities, for example, is in stark contrast to the development of inland communities. ...

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16. Risk Management in Local Government

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pp. 108-111

In the last several years one of the fields that has grown in importance for municipal government is the area of risk management. At one time, municipalities just purchased insurance and used this insurance when a claim came in. This was especially true with workers compensation. ...

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17. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Local Government

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pp. 112-115

Technology has affected all aspects of local government. In addition to the heavy users of technology in financial operations, land use has also been affected. One of the major tools that has become commonplace is the use of the geographic information system, or simply GIS. ...

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18. Health and Human Services

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pp. 116-121

In colonial Connecticut the selectmen had two basic functions — maintaining the roads and overseeing the community’s welfare. Today the role of the selectmen is far more complex and diversified. Numerous responsibilities formerly handled by the selectmen are now handled by public employees educated and trained in specific fields. ...

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19. Municipal Clerk

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pp. 122-124

The office of municipal clerk in Connecticut is based on the historic English town clerk (pronounced “clark” in England). One of the first offices established in Plymouth Colony was that of recorder. The position of municipal clerk is considered a senior-level position in Connecticut municipalities. ...

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20. Education: Function, Role, Relationship to Town

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pp. 125-136

Education is such an important function that all levels of government — federal, state, and local — have their fingers in it. Although public education is a state responsibility, delegated to local boards of education, the main responsibility for providing education from prekindergarten through grade 12 lies with local government. ...

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21. Technology in Local Government and Education

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pp. 137-142

In local government there are positions that are not as highly visible as the mayor or the first selectman, but are nonetheless important. Positions such as the municipal attorney, harbormaster, and canine control officer, each in his or her own way, affect the well-being of the community. In this chapter, the role of these three positions will be addressed. ...

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22. Other Local-Governmental Officials

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pp. 143-147

In local government there are positions that are not as highly visible as the mayor or the first selectman, but are nonetheless important. Positions such as the municipal attorney, harbormaster, and canine control officer, each in his or her own way, affect the well-being of the community. In this chapter, the role of these three positions will be addressed. ...

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23. Two-Year Political and Financial Calendar

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pp. 148-156

Most people are aware of the political calendar in which local elections are held in the odd years and state and federal elections in the even years. Most people also recognize that there is a budgetary calendar, with the local budget being adopted sometime in the spring of each year. ...

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24. Public and Private Utilities

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pp. 157-162

Every time one enters a building or a home, there are some basic services that are so common one doesn’t even think about them — unless they don’t work. These are the utilities. In a good portion of the world, they do not even exist! ...

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25. Economic Development at the Local Level

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pp. 163-168

Public officials in local government, especially during difficult economic times, are actively involved in development activities to help raise revenues to finance public services and thereby help to avoid raising property taxes. By stimulating economic development, city and town officials can increase revenues from a number of different sources. ...

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26. Regionalization

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pp. 169-173

As noted previously, Connecticut is one of only two states that does not have any formal regional or county government. The eight counties in the state are thus geographical designations only; and the residents of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities pay taxes to their municipality and to the state, and not to any county government. ...

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27. Freedom of Information Laws and Ethics

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pp. 174-178

Wages, health insurance, and pensions are the “big three” in employee costs. Wages and health insurance costs are more immediate, with changes affecting the local budget almost right away. Pensions, on the other hand, are long-term liabilities, with benefits being paid out over many years after an employee has left the work force. ...

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28. Basics of Municipal and Educational Pensions

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pp. 179-185

Wages, health insurance, and pensions are the “big three” in employee costs. Wages and health insurance costs are more immediate, with changes affecting the local budget almost right away. Pensions, on the other hand, are long-term liabilities, with benefits being paid out over many years after an employee has left the work force. ...

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29. Public Policy in Local Government

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pp. 186-191

This book covers the numerous roles and responsibilities of local government employees and volunteers. It also gives some idea of the numerous career opportunities that exist in local government; these careers affect peoples’ lives, help others, and have a direct impact on society. Local government is where the action is — it is immediate, direct, and deals with real-life situations. ...

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30. Careers in Local Government

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pp. 192-194

This book covers the numerous roles and responsibilities of local government employees and volunteers. It also gives some idea of the numerous career opportunities that exist in local government; these careers affect peoples’ lives, help others, and have a direct impact on society. Local government is where the action is ...

Appendices

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pp. 195-216

Bibliography

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pp. 217-218

Index

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pp. 219-222


E-ISBN-13: 9780819574022
Print-ISBN-13: 9780819574015

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 3rd edition