An Ordinance Establishing a Procedure for the Designation of Zoning Alternates to be Seated When Town Council Members are Unavailable
WHEREAS West Hartford Charter, Ch. XII, §2 provides that in the event a member of the Town Council is disqualified to sit on a particular zoning matter “the remaining members shall choose an elector of the town to act as a member of the council in the hearing and determination of the particular matter or matters in which the disqualification arose”; and
WHEREAS West Hartford’s Charter contains no provision which addresses a mechanism for filling a vacancy caused by reasons other than disqualification, but General Statutes §8-1b specifically authorizes the establishment of a panel of zoning alternates for precisely that purpose; and
WHEREAS the West Hartford Code of Ordinances has long provided for a panel of zoning alternates to serve when members of the Town Council are unavailable to participate in zoning matters; and
WHEREAS the Town’s ordinances do not clearly specify the procedure to be used in selecting a particular member of said panel when a vacancy occurs; and
WHEREAS it is the desire of the Town Council to establish a clear process to be used when filling vacancies caused by disqualification or any other reason.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT ORDAINED BY THE TOWN COUNCIL OF WEST HARTFORD THAT §25-6 of the West Hartford Code of Ordinances is hereby repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:
A. There is hereby established a panel of alternates to the Town Council as provided in C.G.S. § 8-1b, as amended, when the Council is acting in its capacity as the zoning authority of the Town, consisting of nine electors of the Town, who shall be appointed by the Town Council. At the time of original appointment, one member shall be appointed to serve until December 31, 1966, one member until December 31, 1967, and one member until December 31, 1968, and each successor shall be appointed for a term of three years commencing on the first day of January.
B. Any member of the panel of alternates shall have, when designated to act for any member of the Town Council in a zoning matter as provided in C.G.S. § 8-1b, as amended, or when an elector of the Town designated as provided in Chapter XII, Section 2, of the Charter of the Town because of the disqualification of such member of the Town Council as therein specified, all of the powers and duties of a member of the Town Council when such Council is acting in its capacity as the zoning authority for the Town.
C. Each member of the Town Council shall notify the Town Clerk promptly in the event that said member will be unable to serve in connection with a zoning matter due to disqualification or any other reason. Upon receipt of such notification, the Town Clerk will undertake to obtain a member of the panel of alternates to be seated on said matter utilizing the following methodology:
(1) The Town Clerk shall establish two lists identifying the members of the panel of alternates by party affiliation. Unaffiliated members, if any, shall be placed on the list of the party which nominated them for appointment to the panel. Within each such list, the members will be ranked by seniority according to the date of their first appointment to the panel. Members of equal seniority shall be ranked alphabetically by surname.
(2) Thereafter, when an alternate is required, the Town Clerk will contact the members of the panel of alternates from the list of those who are of the same political party affiliation as the Town Council member who is unable to serve, starting with the most senior member of the panel on said list and proceeding down the list until the first available member of the panel is obtained. Thereafter, vacancies shall be filled by using this same procedure, but commencing with the next most senior member of the list following the individual who was last seated.
(3) If no member of the panel of alternates is available from the list of those whose political party affiliation is the same as that of the Town Council member who is unable to serve, the Town Clerk shall then proceed to the list of alternates from the other political party and shall utilize the same procedure set forth in subsection (c)(2) above.
(4) Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event that the methodology described in the preceding subsections fails to produce any available member of the panel of alternates, the provisions of West Hartford Charter, Ch. XII, §2, if applicable, shall not be abridged and the remaining members of the Town Council in such a case shall choose an elector to be seated.
COUNCIL ZONING ALTERNATES (Apptd by Town Council, 6 members, 3-year term, Code of Ordinance, Section 25-6) (6 Max.)
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