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CCM publishes fourth and final report in its “Election Campaign 2018” series: Regionalism: Working Together For Tomorrow

CCM publishes fourth and final report in its “Election Campaign 2018” series: Regionalism: Working Together For Tomorrow

 

For Immediate Release

For further Information

Kevin Maloney (203) 710-3486

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) today (Friday, November 2) released the fourth and final report of CCM’s “Election Campaign 2018” series — Regionalism: Working Together For Tomorrow  — which concludes, among other key findings, that despite the efforts already made in Connecticut around regionalism, opportunities for increased cooperation across the state are hindered by both policies and practices at the state and local governments level. Communities must be given greater flexibility by the State to use alternative revenue sources to meet pressing financial needs and/or grant property tax relief; and they need state policy changes that would result in greater revenue flexibility at the local level. 

CCM’s “Election Campaign 2018” series is designed to educate and influence the candidates for Governor and the General Assembly on the key state-local issues affecting Connecticut local governments. 

Joe DeLong, CCM Executive Director, emphasized that, “the state should focus its efforts on removing the impediments to sharing services and amending municipal labor laws positioning local governments for the future; realizing our shared goal of strengthening municipalities to strengthen our state.  The proposals presented in this report may not be the panacea, nor will they be policies that will work for every community, but they are tools that local governments can use to find the appropriate revenue balance for their towns and cities, or at least begin the conversations around these options.”

Here are some critical facts regarding regionalism in Connecticut. Today, there are numerous examples of efforts by the state and municipalities to share services across local governments in Connecticut. Several statutory efforts are documented at the end of this report. For the most part, these efforts fall into one of three categories:

  • Inter-local efforts sponsored and supported by one or more Councils of Governments (COGs) 
  •  Inter-local agreements between two or more local governments
  •  Informal sharing arrangements initiated through professional contacts and relationships

     

COGs back to top

Perhaps the most notable of the three examples in Connecticut is the inter-local efforts sponsored and supported by the Regional Council of Governments (COGs). COGs help to focus municipal efforts within the different regional entities to foster and promote collaboration in the state.  There are reasonable solutions that the State can and should enact to advance regionalism in Connecticut. CCM encourages the state to take the following steps towards supporting municipal services sharing and regional efficiencies: 

  • Some challenges frequently encountered when towns seek to pursue shared services are the limitations imposed by existing collective bargaining agreements. The following proposals provide municipalities greater opportunities to share services: 
  •  Collective bargaining issues pertaining to regionalization of services shall not be mandatory subjects of collective bargaining.
  • CCM suggests the following amendment to CGS Section 7-478a(c), which addresses inter-local agreements: “The decision to reassign or subcontract bargaining unit work as a consequence of inter-local sharing of such services shall not be subject to collective bargaining.” 
  •  In all future collective bargaining agreements, municipalities cannot bargaining away, or be required through arbitration to give up their right to assign employees to carry out their normal responsibilities in a new location or to provide services to a different municipality.
  • Provide for when service sharing arrangements affect two or more collective bargaining units, the interests of all employees affected by the new arrangement will be represented by either a coalition of bargaining units or a new bargaining unit be created to represent all employees. 
  •  Inter-local agreements or service sharing contracts override any relevant limitations in a participating municipality’s charter or ordinance.