Local/Regional Elections and Appointments
Several town charters or other local laws require regional board of education members and other board or commission members to be nominated and elected or appointed at town meeting or referendum in May for terms that expire on June 30. To address concerns with holding such meetings and elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 7OO , which:

Suspends the deadline for holding any district or town meeting required by law for the purposes of nominating but not electing or appointing candidates and, instead, requires the nominating meeting to be held on June 9, 2020. The EO also provides that no other business may be conducted at this meeting. Note: This provision is intended to address a particular situation involving the nomination of regional BOE members in Woodbury and Bethlehem, which meeting is held separately from the election.

Suspends the deadline for holding any district or town meeting for the purposes of electing or appointing members or officials to any municipal or regional governmental entity or quasi-municipal corporation, including nomination of candidates, if applicable, and, instead, requires such district or town meeting to be held between June 27 and June 30, 2020. The EO also provides that no other business can be conducted at such election or district or town meeting.

Requires the officials responsible for administering any such district or town meetings, elections and nominations to use their best efforts to conduct such proceedings using remote means in accordance with the open meeting provisions of Executive Order No. 7B, while also implementing measures to safeguard the integrity of the process. 

Provides that if it is determined that any such district or town meeting or election cannot be conducted safely and accurately by remote means, officials shall take all reasonable measures to protect the public health, including consulting with local or state public health officials and conducting such meeting or election in a way that significantly reduces the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
Town Halls Consider Reopening

Towns halls were not required to shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic because municipal operations are considered essential government services under EO 7H.

However, given the close personal contact that municipal employees may have with the public and the limited availability of masks and other personal protective equipment, the vast majority of town halls closed or limited public access, relying on remote meetings, drop boxes, and teleworking and web-based processes.

Many towns are now wondering when they will be able to safely reopen town halls. Although the state is not expected to issue workplace rules specific to town hall operations, towns can adhere to the state's workplace rules issued for offices.

In addition, the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR) is finalizing best practices guidance for performing various functions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As soon as this guidance is available, COST will provide a link to assist municipalities in reopening town halls.
COST Associate Member Spotlight
COST relies on its Associate Members to support our advocacy efforts on behalf of the state’s small towns at the state Capitol and before state agencies. Our Associate Members  - firms and professionals that provide a wide range of products and services to meet the needs of Connecticut’s municipalities – have highlighted some of the resources that they can provide to you and your community during this difficult time. We encourage our members to “shop first” with COST’s Associate Members whenever possible.

If your firm would like to be included in COST's COVID-19 Municipal Resources listing, please contact James.berardino@gmlobbying.com. We will be highlighting the firms in our electronic bulletins.
Halloran Sage has a Municipal Response Team assembled to address any legal issue a town or city is facing related to the COVID – 19 pandemic. As the situation evolves, we are frequently providing timely analysis and advice to municipalities across the State. Our Coronavirus Resource Center offers a library of vital information including Executive, Judicial and Federal Orders, links to informative websites and access to all our client alerts. Immediate assistance may be requested by contacting our team leaders Kenneth Slater, Richard Roberts and Duncan Forsyth. For more information, please visit www.halloransage.com or contact 860-297-4641.