Outrage Prompts Board to Reverse Decision to Change Form of Government in Somers

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An abrupt about face after a town tried to change its form of government without public input last month.

Somers taxpayers gave town leaders an earful about no longer having the first selectman run daily operations, turning that over to an unelected administrator instead.

The change was voted on in a lightly attended meeting on May 20, one that had little public input.

Since then, people posted signs and sent out flyers urging taxpayers to attend a meeting Thursday, June 3 to voice their displeasure.

A number of taxpayers showed up and did not mince words with the board of selectmen.

“An open and transparent government is the cornerstone of our democracy.  If we start changing our form of government in 10 minutes, in secrecy, is not good government," said Bill Meier of Somers.

In the end, the plan to make that change was shelved.

First Selectman Bud Knorr, one of two selectmen who voted to change Somers’ form of government, said “I think our intention was to do the right thing for the town.  Obviously, the procedure was somewhat flawed.  I personally admit that.”

NBC Connecticut Investigates broke the story about how people in Somers had filed a freedom of information complaint against the Board of Selectmen, accusing them of failing to give proper notice of the meeting where the changes were voted in.

Residents in Somers are raising concerns about new actions taking place by town hall.

That’s in addition to what we reported last year - that Knorr gave himself a raise and bonus without any board vote. He later gave them back.

All this apparently angered some Somers taxpayers at the meeting.

“This is the third or fourth major screw-up in the last couple of years on your part.  And I’m thankful there’s only less than six months until you’re outta here”, said George Schober.

Town leaders are now discussing a more formal revision process to the town charter before making a government change.

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